Tuesday, May 10, 2005

I'll see you on the poorly-lit side of the moon.

It's been an interesting night so far at the observatory.

My observers are three postdocs from the University of Tokyo. They have no professor with them, and when I ask who is in charge, who is responsible, who wrote the proposal... they all point at one another. :)

They are using a 4-megapixel visible light CCD camera which actually takes rather nice pictures, and they're running it through our wide-field grism spectrograph. Their first question was "how do we rotate the slit on the spectrograph?" The answer unfortunately involved rotating the entire instrument rack on the cassegrain focus... which means every time they change objects, we have to do that.

Did I mention the instrument rack is rotated manually? With various ropes being unfastened before each change in rotation angle and refastened afterward? And we have to use a hydraulic lift platform to get up to it?  Yeah. Fun. Fortunately they have a short list of objects to observe!

Anyway, at twilight, I noticed a very thin crescent moon, so I went out on the catwalk and took an 8-second exposure of it. This resulted in the "visible" part of the moon being overexposed and very bright, and the "hidden" part of the moon becoming visible. It was kinda fun.

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