KPNO nights 3 and 4adillair | October 22, 2012
Hello, my name is Alexander Dillaire and I am a junior Astrophysics major at Haverford College. Tonight is the last night we will be staying at Kitt Peak; we fly out tomorrow morning. So far this has been a phenomenal experience, with no shortage of excitement. Last night, we had major technical issues that almost forced us to stop collecting data. I might be exaggerating a little on that part, but not too much. Unfortunately, the first instance of serious trouble came when I was the main person collecting data. That was really frustrating. Luckily, we tackled the problem by side-stepping the issue. It took more effort on our part, but it made things much smoother.
We also took pictures of two celestial bodies, M33 and Barnard 33. M33 is a spiral galaxy and Barnard 33 is the Horsehead nebula. All of our images came out well, which was really a highlight of the night. Both are great to look at. My partner and I are planning to make posters with our pretty images for our personal enjoyment. It was a blast taking the pictures, even if the exposure time was long. 9 minutes is a long wait for a cool picture, but they were worth it.
Tonight, we have not had much technical issues. We kept the solution from yesterday and so we are diligently taking notes. The data we are collecting from the CCD camera is turning out well, there’s just a lot of work to be done and it’s very repetitive. It’s all in the name of science, so it’s a burden we are willing to take. Overall, I think that this has been a wonderful experience. I mean, seriously, how often do you go on field trips in college. It’s the greatest. Just shows how awesome being an Astrophysics major at Haverford College is.