MagAO-X 2024Ab Day 13: When the rain starts bouncing, you know it’s bad

This is my seventh trip to Las Campanas Observatory (I think?) and the first time I’ve seen actual, bona-fide precipitation in the Atacama desert. I woke up at 2pm to the gentle patter of rain on my windows, and emerged blinking into daylight. I did try to document it with my phone, but in my sleep-addled state I apparently double-tapped the “record” button and ended up taking some neat videos of the ground.

Fortunately, the early shift was up and could take some pictures.

Over to the west we have some low cumulus and to the east we have oh my god run it’s coming (Photo by Logan Pearce)

Vizzy Viscacha was wise to stay under cover as the storm rolled in. Even MagAO-X had to be tucked in safe and dry.

Note that additional measures were taken to ensure MagAO-X aridity. (Photo by Laird Close)

Then, it started really snowing.

Optical depth illustrated (Video by Laird Close)

Laird is the only one brave enough to venture forth from the lodge. He had to get MagAO (not -X) packed up for its international shipment.

Where is the sciatic nerve, anyway? (Photo provided by Laird)

After the snow, we got a snow-bow!

I should request a room change. It’s not fair that the rainbow is only at the La Silla apartments.

Unfortunately, our guest observers Gabriele Cugno from Michigan and Jensen Lawrence from MIT have had just about the worst weather I’ve ever seen here. In fact, this brief break in the clouds after dinner was when Gabriele got his best chance to observe:

Finally, some stars! (Photo by Logan Pearce)

Then the hailstorm started.

(Or maybe it was a graupelstorm?)

Today, by the numbers:

New SSH/VPN questions: 2
Spurious Python environments purged: 11
Night lunches recovered from shutdown: 4
Stars: 14 ish?
Hailstones and/or graupelstones: ≫14
Adaptive secondary mirrors: 1 (slightly used)

Best 15 Minutes of the Day

Probably the rainbow. I swear, natural phenomena here look just the way they are depicted in children’s book illustrations.

Song of the Day

This song of the day is not observer-approved.

“Only Happy When It Rains” by Garbage

Remarks overheard

“So, by the way, how does a pyramid wavefront sensor actually work?”
[rueful laughter in response]

“Whatever. I have no excuses, but I’m also not sorry.”