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Old Nov 24 2008, 05:49 PM   #241
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Default Re: The VISTA Telescope Thread (VTT)

Quote:
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Steven, I suggest writing VISTA in very bold, big, white letters on the back of the chairs, with small lettering underneath: "if seen at the wrong console, please return"

exactly what I have done at work, Hans, and it works too!

Steven,
I am so glad that you brought the camera and could give us a view into your work rooms. They are so much more modern and spacious than I thought when viewing your small hot room, and what a lot of screens!

Interesting way of cooling down you have! I would get a cold on top of being hot with that treatment, I hope that you are much more resilient than I am.

I like the view - is the water near and bathable?
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Old Nov 24 2008, 07:10 PM   #242
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Love -

I like Hans' idea! What else is tipp-ex for?

I look forward to the next report From Our Correspondent in the Hotbox.



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Old Nov 25 2008, 02:06 AM   #243
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Steven, I suggest writing VISTA in very bold, big, white letters on the back of the chairs, with small lettering underneath: "if seen at the wrong console, please return"

Steven...Hans has the perfect solution for you and your *Vista* chairs...but better make it paint that can't be washed off...or your chairs might be repainted as someone else department chairs...

OOOoooooOOO thanks for the *Bond* link...I LOVE Daniel Craig...he is a incredible James, to me....
I can't wait for the second one to come out on DVD...we both love the first one.
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Old Nov 25 2008, 03:54 AM   #244
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Tsk tsk, Lanen, a best selling author and still making writing errors.
Of course you wanted to write "hot correspondent in a box" instead of "our correspondent in a hot box"...

Hmm, free sauna, maybe that's why Steven is such a nice tall guy without an ounce of extra weight

Steven, I'm really glad you you took Lanen's camera
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Old Nov 25 2008, 05:52 PM   #245
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Hans, I calls 'em as I sees 'em! 'hot box' that thing is and remains. Pfeh.

I suspect he did the tall and skinny thing without any help from a sauna. Heck, I partly grew up in New Orleans, which is as near to an outdoor 100-days-a-year sauna as a person could want, and I'm short and round! So I'm afraid your theory won't wash.

Love - I am really enjoying the photos you are posting. Great stuff, though the opening shot, as it were, is epic. Amazing view of Paranal from the air.

hang in there, me dear, less than a week to go!
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Old Nov 25 2008, 06:36 PM   #246
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Lanen: you grew up short to keep further away from the hot sun ( ) and round because a sphere has the minimum surface area for its volume. Thus preparing you for a life in chilly Edinburgh where you lose a lot less heat, and stay warmer, than a bean pole like what Steve is.
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Old Nov 25 2008, 11:52 PM   #247
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Tsk tsk, Lanen, a best selling author and still making writing errors.
Of course you wanted to write "hot correspondent in a box" instead of "our correspondent in a hot box"...

Hmm, free sauna, maybe that's why Steven is such a nice tall guy without an ounce of extra weight

Oh Lord Hans...Steven doesn't have any weight to loose in that *Sauna room*hes in...he's already thin enough. So lets just hope he gets into a cooler room soon.
And for me Steven is our Looooong eyed MoMer corespondent...
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Old Nov 26 2008, 01:17 AM   #248
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Ok.........I've seen this thread pop up now and then as folks have posted and thought I needed to check it out, but haven't.......till this evening!!! WOW!!!! I've read from post one to the end, just amazing!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you StevenB for starting and continuing this thread!!! How very wonderful that you thought to chronicle your 'adventure'!!! Oops, that should be 'adventures'...plural since you've gone back.
Your photo of the Milky Way is fabulous! Your sunset photo is too beautiful for words! Your photos of Rukbat are awesome and I'm sure Anne is thrilled with them! Then the info about what you've been working on are very captivating, even to those of us who don't know much of anything about telescopes. (that would be me!)
I'll be watching this thread for more tidbits for sure!

Thanks again, Steven!! Take care!!

{{{{{{{{{{hugs to Lanen too, just so she knows she's being thought of too while you're gone}}}}}}}}}}
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Old Nov 26 2008, 05:47 PM   #249
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Thanks Becky, and everyone else who has been posting to this thread. Hans, I thought about painting a mirror image of "I stole a VISTA chair" onto the chair seats in wet paint, but that would have prevented me from using the chairs as well.

Apologies for not posting as often as I did on my previous trip. It's more difficult this time. I am building up a collection of photographs, and if I don't get a chance to download them before I leave I'll do it when I get home. I have tried several times to be moved to the residencia, but it's not looking good. I think I'm going to be in the hot box for the rest of my trip.

Here are a couple of James Bond related photographs. This one shows what the inside of the residencia actually looks like. There is a corridor which gradually spirals upwards visiting each floor in turn (which is a welcome relief when you are trying to wheel luggage at this altitude). I think there is one brief shot of this in Quantum of Solace. But in the film the walls look very different. They may have used some kind of cladding, or carefully melded this inside image with shots taken in the studio.

Here is the balcony where the bad guys meet. (They're not staying here any more.)

There are also a couple of fake rocks that were made for the film (James Bond hides behind them). They have been placed on display in the "rainforest". I haven't yet taken a picture of them, but if I do I'll post it.

Back to astronomy related photographs. Here is Cerro Paranal photographed from VISTA, showing the VLT telescopes:

The VLT control room I photographed earlier is on this peak, and here is a view of two of the telescopes from outside the control room:

Finally, Lanen your camera managed to capture a picture of the VISTA telescope. Here is it:

Must leave for another night shift now. I have three left and then I'm going home.
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Old Nov 27 2008, 01:06 AM   #250
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Just fantastic Steven...I love getting to see these lastest photos of the Vista Telescope...and also the surrounding area. Lord Steven I am really sorry that you are going to have to stay in your *Hot Box* room.
Lanen's camera takes some might fine photos...keep em comming P L E A S E!!!
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Old Nov 27 2008, 02:28 AM   #251
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I'm sorry to hear about the residencia!

The photos look amazing.
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Old Nov 27 2008, 03:35 AM   #252
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I'm sorry to hear about the residencia!

The photos look amazing.
Edith I well second you on both of your quotes!

Sorry about the delay in reponding to this thread. Things are zany still. "Snort", I had a hunch keeping this on active, would come up with some great bits.

Dad's is a not a AMC reader but his is a space and star gazing person, lovely images. I found two books he can take and read down in FL for the winter.

One for his Birthday and one as a X-Mas Gift LOL

One or two would make a nice screensaver image. From both your trips there Steve B.

The containers complex was talk about on one of TV programs we've have in the large VCR tape collectionm we got.

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.

I have chat when you get your work done and I get done here Real Life is still zany!

I been reaidng some of the post sent to my e-mail but not up to full speed yet.
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Old Nov 27 2008, 03:48 AM   #253
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Great pictures, Steven! Especially the last one I find very impressive. Closer by such a telescope I'll probably never get So, pretty special.

Sorry to hear the facilities during your stay this time aren't patching the quality of the guy and the photographs... but, to see something positive in everything: it'll make you appreciate the house you share with Lanen all the more

I've been meaning to ask... every time you go there you go via Paris. Are there no direct flights to chile from the UK? Is it one direct flight from Paris or do you also have to take an inland flight after crossing the big pond?
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Old Nov 27 2008, 01:00 PM   #254
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Again......WOW......more great pics and info. Neat to tie in the Bond movie too, thanks very much Steven! Sorry about your 'room' or maybe 'cell' is a better word. I must admit when I saw your shot of the hall and room entrances I thought of Alcatraz prison! And from what you have shown and told us it seems like a prison. Here's hoping for a better room sooner than later!
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Old Nov 27 2008, 06:44 PM   #255
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I'd like a camera like Lannen's. It makes such fabulous pictures, even half a world away from where she actually is!
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Old Nov 28 2008, 02:48 PM   #256
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By way of contrast, here's the latest UK observatory (Keilder).



I's kitted out with a 20" 'Pulsar' telescope under one 'dome' and a 16" 'Mead' under the other.
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Old Nov 28 2008, 03:58 PM   #257
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I heard on my national news tonight that some Dutch universities and companies are going to cooperate working on a new telescope for ESO with a mirror diameter of 42 meters! Geez... they haven't finished installing their latest one and they are already busy with a new one

Hmm... roaming the internet this seems to be old news as with the 42 m telescope they mean the ELT and Steven already talked about that last year in Denmark.

http://www.eso.org/sci/facilities/eelt/

Does this mean more work for you, Steven?
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Old Nov 28 2008, 11:01 PM   #258
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Hans...well it might mean some new and very intersting work for Steven, and a whole lot closer to home and friends, than where he's been off to lately.
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Old Nov 29 2008, 12:44 AM   #259
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Actually I'm already working on a design study to build a multi-object integral field unit spectrograph for the 42m E-ELT telescope. It's called EAGLE, and it's a joint UK French collaboration. I was pulled off that project to come here and help out with VISTA.

I'm pleased to say my last night here has finished on a high note. All the problems I came out here to work on have been solved (or at least I'm going to be leaving this place thinking they have...). We had some very successful observations tonight, and watched the software chugging away teking data and controlling the telescope without any problems. Thank goodness for that.

I'm looking forward to going home now and getting back to home comforts again.

Lady Maelin, I now have to reveal what I have been sneakily trying to do for the past few nights. I have been trying to capture a picture of the Horse Head Nebula for you and for Anne. But unfortunately it has been a lot more difficult to do that than to snap a picture of Rukbat. To capture the nebula I would have needed a really long exposure, and nobody was going to let me hog the telescope for over an hour (harder than sneakily snapping an image while someone goes to the bathroom ). Here is the best I could do: It's a wide angle picture of Zeta Orionis - the left-most (from the northern hemisphere) star in Orion's belt. The picture shows all 16 of VISTA's detectors, and Zeta Orionis is the bright star on one of the detectors. Zeta Orionis is a bright star near the Horse Head nebula. The nebula might even be in this image but there isn't enough exposure to show it. (The image would also need to be reduced to take away all the junk introduced by variations in the detectors.)

It's not the Horse Head but it's the nearest I could get. I hope you like it.
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Old Nov 29 2008, 12:54 AM   #260
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P.S. Some fun pictures. Here are the ESO fiats parked outside the VLT control building:

This is a flower growing (in a desert garden) outside my room in the Bond Camp. I made friends with it by giving it a little water every now and then.

Have a shown you this picture before? They have renamed the residencia "Perla de las Dunas" and installed a new sign. I think the sign has something to do with the Bond movie, but I'm not sure.

Goodnight folks. I'm catching the bus back to sea level tomorrow; then it's back to the UK early on Sunday morning (arriving late on Monday - it's a very long journey).
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Old Nov 29 2008, 05:26 AM   #261
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Travel safely!
I hope that the journey back is uneventful.
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Old Nov 29 2008, 05:40 AM   #262
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Those picture results of VISTA are very special, Steven
I should have known you would be already involved with the E-ELT

I wish you a good and safe journey home.
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Old Nov 29 2008, 06:45 PM   #263
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Thanks Edith and Hans, and everyone else for their good wishes. I am now safely back at sea level and sending you this message from a HOTEL ROOM. What luxury! Tomorrow morning I travel to the airport and begin my long journey home. It's been a very long trip but successful in the end.

Now for a postscript: I have discovered that there is a "secret" gallery of VISTA images that the project scientists have been gathering so that one day they can release all this to the public. I think there's a political reason why they haven't declared "first light" yet. There will probably be a big fanfare where ESO formally accept the keys to the dome (or something like that). So, leaving the politicians to get on with that, I have sneaked one of those images out of the gallery to show you what VISTA is capable of when someone deliberately sets out to make a pretty picture rather than snapping one when nobody else is looking. (Don't tell the politicians .) This is a reduced VISTA image of M42, the Orion Nebula. I chose this one because it's next door to the Horse Head Nebula.

You can see that all the defects and strange shapes in my picture have been removed by the data reduction. This image combines pictures taken in three different colours, so you can see the image in its true colour (rather than the false brown colour the real-time display in the control room uses). Ok, it's not as good as the Hubble Space Telescope, but VISTA is going to survey the entire sky with images of this quality. Incidentally, I discovered in the records that somebody had already attempted to make a pretty picture out of the Horse Head nebula a few weeks ago and failed. So I don't feel so bad at failing to snap it quickly on the off chance.
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Old Nov 29 2008, 09:07 PM   #264
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That is a truly awesome picture, Steven! Am I the only one who sees faces in it?

I'm glad you're out of the hotbox and on your way home. I hope the sudden change of climate isn't too much of a shock to you. Good thing you have someone to look after you and make sure you stay warm!
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Old Nov 29 2008, 09:20 PM   #265
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Oooooooooh, wonderful picture!!!! And do have a safe trip home, Steven!
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Old Nov 30 2008, 12:01 AM   #266
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Quote:
Lady Maelin, I now have to reveal what I have been
sneakily trying to do for the past few nights. I have been
trying to capture a picture of the Horse Head Nebula for you
and for Anne. But unfortunately it has been a lot more difficult
to do that than to snap a picture of Rukbat. To capture the
nebula I would have needed a really long exposure, and nobody
was going to let me hog the telescope for over an hour (harder
than sneakily snapping an image while someone goes to the
bathroom ). Here is the best I could do: It's a wide angle picture
of Zeta Orionis - the left-most (from the northern hemisphere)
star in Orion's belt. The picture shows all 16 of VISTA's detectors,
and Zeta Orionis is the bright star on one of the detectors. Zeta
Orionis is a bright star near the Horse Head nebula. The nebula
might even be in this image but there isn't enough exposure to
show it. (The image would also need to be reduced to take away
all the junk introduced by variations in the detectors.)

Steven...thank you so very much for including me along
with Anne in your hunt for a photo of the Horsehead Neblua.

The photos you sent me last year are some of my most treasured
photo... especially for my *Helva/Ship*collection.

I have often looked at them and had some very lovely day
dreams with them. The Orion Vista photo that you did find,
is magnificent not to mention the 16 photos that you got
straight off the Vista detectors...those are incedible...almost
like getting to be there myself.

Like Hans said a few post back, about this being the closest
we will ever get to the real telescope....for that I owe you my
most heartfelt thanks
I am so very honored and thrilled to my toes, that
you would even attempt to get a photo of the Horsehead off the
*Vista*, for Anne and me.
I am also incredibly surprised by the beauty of the Orion photo.
I would think it really makes you feel,like all your hard work really
is worth the effort, and the time away from home and Lanen.

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You...Steven
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Old Nov 30 2008, 01:58 AM   #267
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I'll add my thanks again to you Steven! The Orion Nebula pic is fabulous! Have a safe trip home!
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Old Nov 30 2008, 04:44 AM   #268
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Wonderful picture! It's amazing that you can get such wonderful pix even through the atmosphere.

Have a safe and uneventful trip home!
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Old Nov 30 2008, 05:35 AM   #269
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Awesome picture Steven! Glad to hear you're enjoying the luxury of a cooled hotelbox and soon will enjoy to be in the homebox again

Thanks again for taking the time to post in this thread and share such interesting stuff and pictures with all of us here. I feel very priveledged.
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Old Nov 30 2008, 05:46 AM   #270
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StevenB, your little plant is known as "Carpobrotus glaucescens" or otherwise known as an extremely hardy plant called pigface
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Old Nov 30 2008, 11:40 AM   #271
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lol jube. Is this where we say "A rose by any other name....."? It's a beautiful plant, whatever anybody calls it.

Steven, your "befriending" that flower reminds me of when I was assigned to a base in South Korea many many years ago. In those days personnel lived in "Hooches" which were concrete block buildings sort of like dorms. There was a little bird which I think was some sort of finch that lived in our Hooch. His name was "Woofer" (his mate, "Tweeter, had died before I arrived). Traditionally, when his caretaker was leaving, the newest arrival would take responsibility for him. I really enjoyed his companionship and his exuberent singing for the year I had with him. I hope you found a suitably reliable newbee to pass your watering can to.
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Old Nov 30 2008, 11:50 AM   #272
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Whomever had the audacity of calling that very nice plant "pigface".... *shakes head*
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Old Nov 30 2008, 03:02 PM   #273
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Believe it or not, I'm posting this from my departure gate at Santiago airport. I'm boarding for Paris in 30 minutes...

Lady Maelin, thanks a lot. If I see a picture of the Horse Head show up in the "secret" VISTA gallery I'll send you a copy.

Jube, thanks for identifying the plant. It was then only one flowering in the entire garden, so I felt it needed a little extra water to keep up the display. It flowered every day while I was there.

Must go now. Unintelligible announcements being made and I'd better find out what's happening. I'll post again when I get home.
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Old Nov 30 2008, 09:53 PM   #274
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Oh Steven that would be lovely...if you ever find one in the secret Vista, vault.

Jube and Sandi...a rose by any other name...here thay call that plant *Ice Plant* and when it get going it will cover anthing...mostly used here for a lovely ground cover.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carpobrotus_edulis

When its in bloom, it is covered with them...and the flowers are always very bright, and seem to glow. They hold there extra water in their green leaf parts.
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Old Dec 1 2008, 03:49 AM   #275
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Aha, ice plant = ijsbloem, the same name in Dutch!

But ours seem a lot smaller...
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Old Dec 1 2008, 12:11 PM   #276
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Steven, the Orion Nebula is soooo beautiful, and it reminds me of a book cover I have seen but where?? A search for Orion Nebula and book cover gave some surprising results of book covers and released pictures from the Hubble telescope. It surprised as well that the colouring is different. Which is the true colour or is it at all possible to tell the real colour for our eyes from this distance?

Why should only Lady Maelin and Anne have the pleasure of the Horsehead Nebula?? I am jealous If the Horsehead Nebula is as beautiful as the Orion Nebula, it will be fantastic

Have a good trip home and a good long rest to make up for lost sleep.
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Old Dec 1 2008, 12:36 PM   #277
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Hans: his was grown on the Southern continent, of course it's bigger.
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Old Dec 1 2008, 05:07 PM   #278
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Of course, P'ter, that must be it
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Old Dec 2 2008, 02:14 PM   #279
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I'm home and sleeping in my own bed at last! Lanen picked me up from the airport last night. I'm still jet lagged and season lagged (it's really weird to start a journey in Summer and arrive in Winter).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nina View Post
Steven, the Orion Nebula is soooo beautiful, and it reminds me of a book cover I have seen but where?? A search for Orion Nebula and book cover gave some surprising results of book covers and released pictures from the Hubble telescope. It surprised as well that the colouring is different. Which is the true colour or is it at all possible to tell the real colour for our eyes from this distance?
A very good point. I shouldn't have used the words "true colour". I should have said something like "an approximation of true colour". (I meant "true colour" instead of the "false colour", which happens when someone programs a computer to represent different intensity levels with various made up colours.) You'll the see Orion Nebula in its real "true colour" only if someone photographs it using three filters that correspond to the wavelengths that the three pigments in your eye are sensitive to. The nebula will appear appear differently in astronomical photographs because the wavelengths of the filters will vary. The Hubble telescope pictures will show you a closer approximation because it photographed the nebula in visible light. VISTA uses an infrared camera, so you are seeing the nebula how it would look if your eyes were sensitive to infrared light.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nina View Post
Why should only Lady Maelin and Anne have the pleasure of the Horsehead Nebula?? I am jealous If the Horsehead Nebula is as beautiful as the Orion Nebula, it will be fantastic
You win. If I see the Horse Head in the gallery I'll post it here for everyone to enjoy.
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Old Dec 2 2008, 02:20 PM   #280
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I'm glad you made it home safe and sound, and had a successful trip! Thanks for sharing all the new pictures and stories!


The Astronomy Pic of the Day recently did the Horsehead Nebula. Lovely stunning picture!
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