MagAO 2018 Day N: Still Not Home

We left LCO 48 hours ago.

When we got to La Florida airport in La Serena, it was foggy. And it got foggier. So as we waited for our plane to land so we could board it and travel home, we slowly lost sight of the runway. Then we heard the plane as it buzzed the runway and decided it couldn’t land. That’s a bad feeling.

The official hotel of MagAO, the Casino Enjoy, was full. So we had to downgrade and check into the Costa Real — a.k.a. the GPI hotel.

At the Costa Real Hotel bar, working on getting flights for the next day.
We got complementary empanadas con queso, at least

We ended up with essentially the same itinerary, 24 hours later. So we got some time for a walk around La Serena.

The view of our La Serena street corner

It’s actually been 5 or so years since we bothered to spend time in La Serena. La Recova is the same.

We remembered the La Recova fountain.
La Recova

We are now in Dallas. As we landed at 5 am this morning we were greated to notifications that our flight to Tucson was delayed 20 minutes. The delay has continued to grow.

The text messages received by Joseph in the span of a few hours

Our next major problem was that the first officer’s chair was broken. We were actually buckled in and ready to go, then they kicked us off to repair the chair. Deplaning number 1.

Here we are in an Airport restaraunt, after deplaning.

So. Next. We got on the plane, a little faster having rehearsed once. Everything looked good. Pushed back, taxied for a while, and then stopped. After sitting for a bit, the skipper got back on and started with “Well folks, I guess it’s one of those days . . .” Apparently a fuel gage problem, so we pulled back to a (different) gate.

And then the cops boarded the plane. Yeah.

So we aren’t home yet. We’re back in the terminal in DFW, waiting to board a different plane and try again. We are making lots of friends here in the refugee camp, and AA is giving out free food.

Refugee camp A21. The free pretzels made Laird unreasonably happy.

I don’t know where I’ll be tomorrow. I’ll probably still be wearing the same clothes though.


I’ve been trying to make it home
Got to make it, before too long
Oh I can’t take this, very much longer…

We finally made it:

Your intrepid adventurers in Tucson at last, with luggage in hand.

I’ll admit that I expected my Uber to break down the whole way home.

MagAO 2018A Day 16: Day 365

Today was the 365th day I’ve spent at Las Campanas Observatory. You only have to go back to May 18th, 2012 to find the first. So 16.7% of my life has been on this mountain over the last 6 years.

It was an interesting 1-year day too. Of course, it was Empanada Sunday. According to my records, my average length of stay has ben 21 days, so ~3 Empanada Sunday’s per visit X 17 visits = 51 total Empanada Sundays in my life so far. Here’s what just one looks like:

It takes a lot of empanadas to feed the GTM Proto3 phasing team, and the MagAO crew.

My longest stay here has been 44 days. That was what I call the “Death Run”. Late May and early June, telescope open for 13+ hr a night, horrific winds, 5 weeks straight of observing. When Katie reminisces (not fondly) about it, she says “you could sleep, eat, or shower. Pick 1.” Well, to commemorate that on mine and LCO’s 1 year anniversary, here’s a picture from the wind gauge tonight:

Not the highest tonight. I saw 46 a few times.

We managed to open a couple of times. But when we did it was pretty crappy

This is a crappy weather page. The trifecta: high winds, high seeing, high humidity.
I’m pretty sure this is fake news (probably a spurious measurement while Baade closed), but it captures how bad tonight has been.

MagAO 2018A Day 13: Moonglow

Ahhhhh. It’s nice to finally not have clouds to fight with. We also have been getting some of that patented LCO 0.5″ seeing.

This is what we’ve been dealing with:

A couple nights ago you could barely see the moon.
Patchy deciding what sort of Viscacha stuff he’s doing tonight.

We finally got to see the Southern Sky in all its glory:

A dark sky at last

Hedwig visits every couple of nights:

Hedwig had to hold on during some wind gusts.
Moonrise over Magellan.

Tonight was Clio’s last night of the run.

Clio Girl watching the sun set.

You might hear this song played by the Los Alamos Big Band on special occasions:

Bing Crosby died on my birthday. My Mom blames me.