Wednesday, April 30, 2008

April Skies

The month of April is nearly done. What have astronomers been looking at with the 200-inch this month? Lots of stuff (as always). Here's a sampling of what they have been studying with the Hale Telescope this month:

Active galactic nuclei
Dust-obscured quasars
Quasar triplets
Optical Transients
Radio Transients
Dust-obscured galaxies
Starburst galaxies
Dwarf galaxies
"A" stars
Cataclysmic variable stars
Intergalactic Medium
Near-Earth asteroids (as they were radar mapped at Goldstone)

Depending on the requirements of the astronomer, the telescope was set up so that observations could be performed with visible light and/or near infrared cameras and/or spectrographs. Our spectrographs and adaptive optics instruments are large enough that they ride in the Cassegrain cage at the bottom of the telescope while our other instruments are up in prime focus.

A few nights were cut short by high humidity, but we lost just two nights due to weather, which isn't bad for April. 2 nights were devoted to engineering on particular instruments.

As is normal, most observers work from sunset to sunrise. The astronomer and the telescope operator work from a warm room. Images are viewed there and analyzed in greater detail after the observing run has been completed. Most astronomers spend much more time pouring over their data than they do in collecting it.

1 comment:

santosh said...

Quite informative. Was always keen in knowing what Astronomers do inside the doom !