Sunday photos

April 24, 2019

I’ve had a very busy few days. I’ve now finished my course and renewed my starlight guide qualification. I’ve been the guide for 3 cruise ship excursions and three film crews. Well, one lot was scouting for locations to use in an upcoming film, and for the first time I saw the ventilation tunnels under GTC. They’re wonderfully atmospheric, and I think I might write a murder down there one…

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Sunday Photos: The solar system and the Large Size Telescope

March 4, 2019

On Saturday I brought up my model solar system for my clients. The sun is too small. to be in scale with the planets, it ought to be 4m in diameter, but that’s rather inconvenient to fit in the car. The first four planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars) are marbles and too small to see in the photograph, but the girl in the foreground is holding up the Earth….

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How I met a Nobel Prize winner

Samuel Ting being given his star in the San Francisco convent in Santa Cruz de La Pama
April 18, 2018

Life has been happening too fast to blog about. It’s nearly all good things but I’ve struggled to keep up. For example, on Wednesday I abandoned a Nobel Prize winner in a broken down car. Yes really. The Canarian Astrophysics Institute hosted a big partical physics conference on the island, all about the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, which is an instrument on the ISS. (It measures antimatter in cosmic rays, with…

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Road closures

This morning I’m working from the residencia at the observatory. Why? Because I’m tour guiding at 11:30, but the Santa Cruz road is closed for road works from 9 am – 1 pm (and again from 4 pm – 8 pm, although that won’t affect me.) I chose to leave home very early and work on my laptop rather than drive for an extra hour. As I drove through them…

March 13, 2018
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An exhausting, productive day

TV Interviews outside Gran Telescopio Canarias, Roque de Los Muchachos, La Palma
April 26, 2017

Yesterday I left home at 8 am for the observatory. The first group was routine, including overrunning by 10 minutes so I only just had time to eat a banana before the next group. I’d just started the second group when a car pulled up and the driver said, “We’re the crew from Canary TV that the island council organised.” Excuse me, WHAT? One frantic phone call later, I did…

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Trappist-1 and it’s 7 dwarves

Well squee! NASA announced that the little star TRAPPIST-1 has 7 rocky planets, ranging in size from 40% to 140% of Earth’s mass. They’re all very close to the star, closer than Mercury is to our own Sun, but TRAPPIST-1 is an ultracool dwarf star, with a surface temperature of perhaps 2,500 ºC. Our sun is about 5,500 ºC. This means that several of the planets are in the Goldilocks…

February 23, 2017
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