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"Hours lost: 6. Reason: Volcano"

Doug Geisler's telescope log from 39y ago today - he was the sole person at Manastash Ridge Observatory when Mt. St. Helens erupted!

I interviewed Doug earlier this year for #TheLastStargazers and got to hear the full tale...
On the night of May 17th 1980 Doug was the only person on the mountain (not uncommon at MRO) and was actually taking his very first night of data for his PhD thesis, starting what was SUPPOSED to be a five-night observing run...
After a beautiful night of observing, he went to bed at about 4am (at this time of year it's getting light out pretty early in the PNW!) and was asleep when the actual eruption happened at 8:32 AM.
Read 11 tweets
OMG a bunch of us just put an eyepiece on the @LCOAstro Swope 1-meter telescope & POINTED IT AT ETA CARINA.

You could see the structure! The bipolar lobes!! THE STAR WAS BRIGHT RED BECAUSE OF THE DUST!!! AAAAAHHHH šŸ¤©šŸŒŸšŸŽ‰

...I should explain why Iā€™m screaming. #TheLastStargazers
When I interview people for this book I always ask what they think a common misconception might be about what professional astronomers do.

By far the most common answer is "people think we still look through eyepieces. We don't anymore."

This is 99% true...
These days we point and focus telescopes using computers and gather our data using what are essentially extremely complex digital cameras. Many of the best telescopes in the world don't even HAVE eyepieces.
Read 15 tweets

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