One of the downsides of observational astronomy is the lack of control we have over our experiments. It’s just annoying that we can’t re-create star and planet formation in our laboratories and observe the evolution of planetary systems over billions of years. And then on top of that, we have to deal with the epitomy of the unpredictable and uncontrollable — the weather! I think this accounts for the rather superstitious way that astronomers, not generally given to magical thinking, talk about the weather. I remember hearing that one should always walk around the telescope catwalk clockwise (or was it counterclockwise? Luckily the point is moot here at Magellan where the catwalk doesn’t go all the way around.) to keep away the clouds. We joke about the colleagues who are “weather curses” and seem to always bring the clouds with them.
We can’t even enjoy all the wildflowers up here without seeing them as evidence that El Niño is out to get us. Out for a walk earlier today, in the glorious sunshine of a clear blue sky, I still managed to scowl at the butterflies.
Tonight was the 8th night of Chanukah. Alas, there was no meteorological miracle. The winds only came below our AO-secondary-imposed 20 mph limit for a couple hours before returning to sit at about 20 mph and taunt me:
So, last night’s incongruous song involved sharks, among other things. And sharks reminded me of the TV show “Shark Tank” for entrepreneurial products, and one of their successful products was a Chanukah Christmas tree topper, which brings me to the fact that tonight is the final night of Chanukah. Wait, you didn’t like that link, ok, here’s LL Cool J telling you to do a mitzvah (good deed) this Chanukah and support the “I have a Dream Foundation.” Satisfied by the link to Chanukah? Good. Tonight’s song is: All About that Neis – Hanukkah by the Maccabeats. Neis means miracle, though not of the meteorological type. And it’s a parody, so it gives fond memories of previous years’ song rules.