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Old Dec 2 2008, 01:26 PM   #281
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Default Re: The VISTA Telescope Thread (VTT)

Some more pictures I didn't have time to post while I was in Chile:

My variation on the James Bond poster:


This one picture summarises the journey from Paranal back to sea level. All you have to do is look at it for 2 hours and you'll get an impression of how exciting the journey is. (They usually block the bus windows with curtains so that people can sleep on the journey.)


Here are the Christmas decorations at the Hotel Antofagasta.

To someone who lives in the northern hemisphere, the combination of Christmas tree with hot sunshine, tropical plants and people swimming in the pool seems wrong. I couldn't believe we were starting advent... that was until I arrived back in Scotland and froze in my southern hemisphere clothes. Luckily Lanen brought me a warm coat, gloves and scarf.
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Old Dec 2 2008, 01:37 PM   #282
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Thanks for the update, I was thinking of asking later on if I could get a copy or two of a few images, one for my dad and two as a screensaver for I find them quite sothing to my eyes.
Of course Ginnystar. If you PM me your email address and let me know which pictures you would like I'll send you full sized copies.
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Old Dec 2 2008, 11:05 PM   #283
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Thanks for the link to the Horse Head Nebula Cheryl. Now I hope to get a pic from StevenB to compare!
Glad you're home safe and sound now Steven! (not nearly as glad as Lanen tho!) Rest up!
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Old Dec 3 2008, 12:17 AM   #284
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Welcome home Steven!
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Old Dec 3 2008, 06:21 AM   #285
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Thank you Steven for your explanation and for this thread, I have really rejoyed following your work and the pictures.

I almost wish for my eyes to see in infrared light, as your Vista picture of the Orion Nebula is more beautiful than the ones from the Hubble telescope, in my opinion. This has me thinking very philosophically about eyes and seeing in general. How limited we humans are in some aspects!

Welcome home to advent in the right temperature
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Old Dec 3 2008, 07:58 AM   #286
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Nina: if you're interested in that, try 'Dark Universe' by Dan Goulaye.
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Old May 23 2009, 03:38 PM   #287
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Latest news from VISTA: The Principal Investigator is at this moment observing with the telescope and running through his check box list of verification tests before starting the complex political ping pong which results in the telescope being handed over to ESO. (If you want to know the details: the PI accepts the telescope from the VISTA project office on behalf of the VISTA consortium and then hands it over to the Science and Technology Facilities council, who then hand it over to the UK government, who then present it to ESO... Ok, no more details...). The hand over should be taking place at the end of June 2009. Perhaps then, finally, someone will announce the new telescope to the press.

The telescope has been delayed by an awkward collection of problems since I left Chile last year. A loose screw managed to gouge a chunk out of the infrared camera's filter wheel, which needed to be repaired. One of the six legs holding the secondary mirror developed a problem which caused the mirror to shake like a spinning washing machine. The problem was solved by a servo engineer adjusting some of the servo feedback parameters. Also, a cooler on the camera failed and needed to be repaired by a service engineer from Germany. There were also some problems with the telescope software (not mine) which almost had me sent out to Chile yet again, but luckily the telescope software engineers managed to fix them. These sort of problems happen when you try to put together a new facility at the cutting edge of technology. The very good news is that the primary mirror has been removed and recoated, and fine adjustments have been made to its position in the mirror cell. The optical quality of the telescope is now vastly better than it was last year. When the hand over takes place I expect VISTA will finally start releasing pictures to the public.

In the mean time, another interesting picture showed up in the "VISTA vault" since I last signed off this thread. This one is of the globular cluster NGC6723:

This picture was taken before the improvements made during the last couple of months, so I expect the latest pictures are even better (I haven't seen any of those).
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Old May 24 2009, 03:51 AM   #288
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Is NGC6723 contracting or expanding?
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Old May 24 2009, 05:28 AM   #289
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Is NGC6723 contracting or expanding?
Since it's a globular cluster, it should be a tightly bound bunch of stars. That means the stars are orbiting around their mutual centre of gravity and (as long as the cluster has reached a stable configuration - i.e. no recent collisions or close encounters) it should be neither expanding nor contracting.
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Old May 24 2009, 06:45 AM   #290
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To someone who lives in the northern hemisphere, the combination of Christmas tree with hot sunshine, tropical plants and people swimming in the pool seems wrong. I couldn't believe we were starting advent... that was until I arrived back in Scotland and froze in my southern hemisphere clothes. Luckily Lanen brought me a warm coat, gloves and scarf.
Umm hate to point out but that's a general rule of thumb when one lives south of the Equator at Christmas time. Only ever experienced 4 white xmas's and 32 sunny ones so far, the odds are that I'll see a lot more sunshine then snow StevenB's would have the shoe on the other foot

Love that last photo. If one didn't know it as stars, one would think of looking at fireworks. It's quite fascinating really.

At the moment I've been looking at the Hubble's photos which are also quite interesting in their own way. It's been in our local news for the last few weeks. Go to:

http://hubblesite.org/
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Old May 24 2009, 08:39 AM   #291
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I was wondering whether there was a mini blackhole in its centre?
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Old May 24 2009, 04:42 PM   #292
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Cool view Steve B. As for star view I well keep you posted. for we have a few star view folks, my dad, a relation of mine, DJ, and myself.
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Old May 24 2009, 05:18 PM   #293
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Since it's a globular cluster, it should be a tightly bound bunch of stars. That means the stars are orbiting around their mutual centre of gravity and (as long as the cluster has reached a stable configuration - i.e. no recent collisions or close encounters) it should be neither expanding nor contracting.
Hi Steven,

Thank you for sharing the globular cluster!

*wondering whether life would be possible out there*
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Old May 24 2009, 05:22 PM   #294
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Hi Steven,

Thank you for sharing the globular cluster!

*wondering whether life would be possible out there*
So are we

globular cluster image anything like the one talked about in SoP Steve B?
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Old May 25 2009, 09:16 AM   #295
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I was wondering whether there was a mini blackhole in its centre?
Probably not, although the cluster is likely to be embedded in a small lump of dark matter. If there was a mini black hole in that cluster (with a mass similar to the stars) it would orbit the centre just like all the stars.

It's the large galaxies (where there is a larger density of matter and the gravity well is deeper) that tend to have a massive black hole in the centre.
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Old May 25 2009, 09:25 AM   #296
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globular cluster image anything like the one talked about in SoP Steve B?
I don't know. It's ages since I last read SoP. But globular clusters tend to look more or less the same (compact blobs of stars of various sizes and densities) so this one is a good representative.

By the way, the image is courtesy of the VISTA telescope and the team who made this observation. I just sneaked it out of the image vault.
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Old May 25 2009, 03:23 PM   #297
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Well, thanks for sneaking that one out, Steven. To see it and to read about it (and the "adventures" of VISTA) is very interesting
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Old Oct 2 2009, 03:21 PM   #298
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Default Re: The VISTA Telescope Thread (VTT)

For anyone interested, the latest date for the "official" hand-over of the VISTA telescope to ESO is 14th October 2009. The telescope is going through its final science verification tests (which include taking some publicity images). When they finally announce VISTA officially to the press I'll let you know.
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Old Oct 8 2009, 09:59 AM   #299
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Thanks again, StevenB, for posting all the wonderful info and images that you have in this thread! It's been very interesting and fascinating to watch all this happen thru you! Thanks!!!
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Old Oct 9 2009, 02:52 AM   #300
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It has been very interesting. We've got the Horsehead Nebula as a screensaver at the moment but Spacedog's been taking photos lately of our immediate surrounds and some of them are quite good. Goes in search of thematic photography threads.
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Old Dec 8 2009, 12:23 PM   #301
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For anyone interested, the latest date for the "official" hand-over of the VISTA telescope to ESO is 14th October 2009. The telescope is going through its final science verification tests (which include taking some publicity images). When they finally announce VISTA officially to the press I'll let you know.
Well, how wrong that was ... After a long series of discussions and political wranglings we now have a real date for the official VISTA hand-over:
Quote:
VISTA handover to ES0
- 15.00 CET Thu 10 December

VISTA Media teleconference and PR images release
- 11.30 CET Fri 11 October
So at long last VISTA will become a real telescope doing real science.

The announcement will appear on the ESO web pages and in the December 2009 edition of the ESO Messenger (when it appears).
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Old Dec 8 2009, 01:10 PM   #302
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To comment on the various stories...
I reckon the variations in stellar brightness is 'cos they get hiccups.
Yeah if you're a super-giant looking for a stable relationship, you want a partner up to your weight (even if you're operating at the nuclear physics level rather than sentience)
My immediate reaction to the black-hole story is that it sounds like some fairly basic biology.
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Old Dec 11 2009, 05:49 AM   #303
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Tne press release and publicity images are now available at http://www.eso.org/public/outreach/p.../pr-49-09.html

Can you spot the Horse Head nebula within the Flame Nebula image?
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Old Dec 11 2009, 06:57 AM   #304
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No, but I did spot a familiar face in one or two ESO photos.
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Old Dec 11 2009, 09:11 AM   #305
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It's now reached the BBC news: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8407834.stm
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Old Dec 11 2009, 09:15 AM   #306
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MAN!

Is this beautiful or what?

http://www.eso.org/gallery/v/Videos/...FLASH.flv.html

Very very special to know someone who worked on this magnificent project! Well done Steven and all others

Congratulations!
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Old Dec 11 2009, 12:49 PM   #307
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And typical that Jim Emerson (known in some circles as The Evil Manager from The Bad Place) should get all the bloody credit! He has been making Steven's life a misery for months now. Grrrrr!
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Old Dec 11 2009, 12:54 PM   #308
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NOW I've found it. I'd forgotten just how small the horsehead is compared to the flame.
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Old Dec 11 2009, 02:33 PM   #309
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And typical that Jim Emerson (known in some circles as The Evil Manager from The Bad Place) should get all the bloody credit! He has been making Steven's life a misery for months now. Grrrrr!
Ah, but we KNOW Steven and his competent, shy and professional self and absolutely NOTHING about professor Emerson (which would mean son of a bucket in Dutch, so there!).
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Old Dec 11 2009, 05:15 PM   #310
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Well presumably he is the son of Emer (also spelled Eimhir) who was one the wives of Cúchulainn (who wasn't particulary nice) So perhaps he takes after his dad?
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Old Dec 11 2009, 05:29 PM   #311
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He must have been a little terror growing up if he's putting Steven through hell and back again now. If it was me, I'd tell him to stand up and smell the roses before the thorns bite him in the rear end. I tend to get "foot-in-mouth" disease occasionally as you can see but it does make me mad if someone keeps putting someone down all the time, without justifiable cause.
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Old Dec 16 2009, 04:05 PM   #312
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I love the bucket reference. I'll remember that next time he telephones me out of the blue...

We had a reception at the observatory today to celebrate the completion of VISTA. There was a large display screen showing images of the telescope construction and commissioning, finishing with those wonderful publicity images. They even showed a couple of my fish eye pictures.

It's ironic that we had the party on the same day that cuts in UK astronomy funding were announced.
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Old Dec 17 2009, 02:12 AM   #313
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I saw the news article today
The cuts look suspiciously (from the BBC news site) like the ones that people spent a lot of effort stopping two years ago.
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Old Dec 17 2009, 09:21 AM   #314
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If you mean the UK withdrawal from the Gemini project and the closure of the UKIRT and ING telescopes then yes. If you mean the 25% cut in university grants, this latest cut is in addition to the one made 2 years ago. The universities and nuclear physics people seem to have born the brunt of it, but it could have been a lot worse.
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Old Dec 17 2009, 01:07 PM   #315
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Location: Delft
Gender: F
Fan of: Most of them :)
Now Reading: Don't You Have Time To Think- RP Feynman
Default Re: The VISTA Telescope Thread (VTT)

The Gemini cuts. I remember all the stuff last time about it. I guess that the same arguments apply this time.

Yeah, my boyfriend mentioned the nuclear physics cuts. I know that there is a lot of industry sponsorship there. The last lot of cuts was one of the reasons I applied for my current position here, I wasn't sure if I'd get a PhD place back home.
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