Observing @ NTT

This week I traveled to the New Technology Telescope or the NTT located in La Silla a mountain range north of Santiago near the Atacama desert. We are here to continue our investigation into the fascinating field of brown dwarf variability. This is where we study the atmospheres of these Jupiter-sized (much more massive though) objects in the near-infrared wavelengths to look for evolving cloud features to try and get a glimpse into their inner workings. Praying for good weather :).

LBT run – Day 4

Here’s a beautiful image of sky, only it usually wouldn’t be beautiful for an astronomer

A beautiful but cloudy sunset at the LBT

A beautiful but cloudy sunset at the LBT


AO loop closed. Nice round PSF :).

One would usually look at this view and try and figure out what research to do (i.e which movie on Netflix to watch :P). But I have been amazed with how robust the AO system has been, we’ve been regularly closing the loop in >3 arcsec seeing. And tonight we have closed the loop on a very bright star even in these conditions!!!

LBT run

Thought I’d have a bit of a picture blog entry. I was offered the opportunity to assist in observations with LMIRCAM which is a mid-IR camera on the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT). Ends up, I was given the shift from the 25th to the 31st, days when none of the others wanted to be stuck observing. So here I am preparing to go observing only to get a cold the day before. But!!! I decided that neither a nascent cold, nor 3 ft of snow would keep me from fulfilling my observing duties and so without further ado, here are some pictures from Mt. Graham.

I actually regret not stopping to take pictures on the drive up the mountain. There was a fair bit of snow, and at one point the 4WD (monster truck!) got stuck in the snow/ice. I called for help, only to then spend 10 minutes backing to and fro to dislodge said truck. I wasn’t particularly happy about this procedure, since this game was being played at ~9000 ft and there was a bit of a drop on one side (mainly when going forward) and by this point the truck was not parallel but rather perpendicular to the road (wish I had thought of taking a photo). As the pictures show, there was a wonderful Christmas dinner awaiting me when I arrived and the first night went off fairly smoothly.

I am now on day 2 of 7, lets hope the weather stays clear and that we continue to get good data :).