AO4ELT7 Days -1 to 1: Three is Company, Five is a Party!

Bonjour! In the early hours of Saturday, I joined the team in Paris! Fun fact: if you land in Charles de Gaulle Terminal 2E and you want to be picked up by an Uber, do NOT go to the door labeled “Rideshare Pickup.” That would be far too easy. Uber is relegated to “Express Pickup Door 7A”.

Anyways, we shortly boarded our train to Avignon and got a lovely ride through the French countryside.

Paris Gare de Lyon

Apparently in the words of some Roman cardinals, Avignon is one of the most revolting and polluted cities ever seen. Except not really at all…it’s maybe the prettiest. A gorgeous walled-in city surrounding a castle, Avignon is lush and vibrant.

Thanks to the recommendation of Sebastiaan, the team took a fun tour of the Pont Saint-Bénézet, a medieval bridge across the Rhône. Okay it doesn’t exactly go across…it kind of stops in the middle…there was a lot of drama in the Middle Ages.

The one where XWCL goes to the former Roman Empire

Sunday night was the conference registration and welcome reception where we finally joined Laird after his excursion through Portugal. Five is a party! A party with wine and cheese!

Practicing my talk for anyone who will listen

Day 1 of AO4ELT7

The conference hall is in the medieval conclave of the Palais des papes d’Avignon. It’s very unique, and we likely need to elect the next AO pope, but there is definitely not air conditioning.

Order in the court

The conference kicked off with interesting overview talks about the AO systems of each of the ELTs: GMT, TMT, and of course ELT itself. I presented my first conference talk of my grad school career on our up-and-coming extreme AO instrument, GMagAO-X. GMagAO-X is such an exciting project to be on, as a highly likely first light ELT ExAO instrument working in the VISIBLE.

Not a bad way to spend your golden birthday

And as you do at conferences, you network (with your roommates).

Thanks for a lovely day team 🙂