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The Sciences

This is What Observing Feels Like

Cosmic VarianceBy Julianne DalcantonMarch 16, 2010 8:26 PM


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Very lovely time lapse video from Mauna Kea, home to many of the world's best optical telescopes:

The White Mountain from charles on Vimeo.

For me, it really captures the best parts of how observing feels. It misses the not-so-good parts, where the instrument breaks, or you're shut down for wind in perfectly clear weather, or you're trying desperately to stay awake on a diet of nothing but reheated bagel dogs. I suppose I'm feeling rather maudlin about it, because its now been years and years since I've set foot at an observatory. During the past decade, almost all of my data has been ordered up from satellites or the observing queue, in contrast to my years at Carnegie, where I was observing for more than a month each year. My scientific life is much more "family friendly" as a result, but I still do miss the cold nights and big skies. (h/t Andrew Sullivan


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