2017A Day 18: Scary Spider

When you’re on an observing run, the word “spider” comes up fairly often–usually people are talking about the support structures of the secondary mirror. Tonight, “spider” had a different meaning because THERE WAS A HUGE FREAKING SPIDER IN THE BUILDING. Here is a picture showing just how big this thing was:

Version 2

By the way, can you guess which of the three walls is the floor or ceiling? You get bonus points if you said the top part with all the holes in it is the ceiling. So this thing was hanging out near the ceiling right outside the bathroom. I went downstairs around midnight, saw the spider, and immediately turned around. Everyone is afraid to use the lone bathroom in the building now. People are scared. There’s talk of rationing our food because we may not be able to leave.

Why not get rid of the spider, you ask? Gently nudge it away and outside? No, it’s big and scary, and hairy. Also, have you seen the movie Arachnophobia? You don’t mess with spiders this big. Oh, and as I write this, about 4 hours after we discovered the spider, it is still sitting there. Brooding. Plotting. Biding its time.

Up in the safety of the control room, I continued to make observations for my programs. Laird has been my AO operator, and this means we often get into ridiculous conversations. For example, yesterday we calculated how fast Santa Claus would have to travel to visit every household in the USA in one night (about the speed of an asteroid, apparently). I have also been berated with Laird’s usual statements like “I’ve never had a grad student/postdoc who thought you could just clean a refractive lens to get rid of ghosts.” I was also reminded what a “hi-archial” system is.

Despite the high humidity, observations are happening and good data are being taken (except when you accidentally set up VisAO to take 6000 darks during an exposure, and by you, I mean me).

I am going to once again bend the youtube song rules by linking to the trailer for “Arachnophobia.” A terrific movie that will make you afraid of spiders if you weren’t before, and if you were already, you’ll be even more terrified and fear even the tiniest ones for life. So yea, definitely see this if you haven’t.