Today has been rainy. While there are still some clouds, we (me + the other astronomers) are hoping to open up if it clears. (although as I write this, the weather seems to be getting worse) The Oakley Southern Sky Observatory only takes about 5 minutes to open. I was able to open up last night for about 30 minutes, mainly to get some images of the telescope deployed. Just as it was finally getting dark enough to begin to take some images, it clouded over, so I reverted to working on installing the new mirror cover and light boxes.
Since I had some down time, I was invited up to the 4 meter Anglo-Australian Telescope. I captured some images inside the dome (the big dome from my day 2 post is the outside of the observatory). As you can see the dome is quite large compared to the scope. Don’t be mistaken, the telescope is huge (bigger than a school bus).
I also got to see some of the brains of the telescope. The astronomers who currently have time on the scope are looking at the spectrum of given targets. While I don’t know the exact details of their research, spectroscopy can help us understand the composition and age of an object. For example, the 2.3 meter I mentioned in a previous post was using spectroscopy to analyze the energy distribution of small galaxies.