After the students left and we had lunch, Juan took me on a tour of the Observatory neighborhood. First stop, the building site of LSST!
|LSST GROUND ZERO. THIS IS WHERE THE SCIENCE WILL HAPPEN.|
Next stop: Gemini South and SOAR. Gemini has an 8.1m telescope, with its Northern twin living on Mauna Kea in Hawai'i. Seeing Gemini was like meeting a celebrity. We got a full tour of the facilities, and got to see everything up close and personal.
SOAR was pretty great also at 4.1m, although maybe seeing it before Gemini would have made it more exciting. We also got a nice tour there before the technical staff left for the weekend.
|SOAR from the outside.|
|Next to one of Magellan's 6.5m scopes|
|This is apparently one of two identical telescopes in the world. The other lives in Haifa, Israel - my birth place! So in a way, this telescope is like my soul-sister scope.|
|Magellan 6.5m. HUGE.|
|La Silla Observatory (ESO)|
ESPECIALLY because last night I had the opportunity to go to Tololo at night and experience the pristine skies that make these observatories so successful. Daniel had a telescope set up for special guest of the observatory, and I alternated between helping set up, looking through the telescope, attempting to take pictures (failure, see below) and basking in the radiance of the southern sky. I saw the Milky Way, with gas and dust included, and also the Large and Small Magellanic clouds! WITH MY OWN EYES. It was incredible. Here are some photos to demonstrate both the beauty of the skies and the inadequacy of my camera:
|Can you see the outline of the telescope?|
|Can you see the Milky Way?|
I go to Antofagasta TOMORROW! I can't believe how quickly time has passed here. I'll miss La Serena/Coquimbo and the people I've met here, but I know it's time to move on. More skies to see! More adventures to have! More children to talk to about the Universe!