Learning About the Observatory

Instructor explains information about the observatory to students wearing hard hats.

Today we all walked to the control room and put on hard hats as we waited to see if we were going to the top of the dish. After waiting for ten or so minutes we were told that we wouldn’t be able to go up for another 45 minutes to an hour.

After waiting for what seemed like forever, we were finally told that we would be able to go to the top. It was at this point that the weather outside started to look pretty bad. Looking up, the sky was dark and it felt like rain was coming. We were told that if it started to rain we would no longer be able to go up, as it would be too dangerous. It was also necessary to factor in the wind. If the wind got to be more than 25 M.P.H., getting to the catwalk would be unsafe.

To make things easier we were told to get in groups of no more than five to be taken up to the catwalk by van. The first groups left and while the rest of us were waiting, alarms started to sound. Wind speeds of about 26 M.P.H. were starting to hit the dish which caused the alarms to go off, seconds later it began to rain and showed no signs of stopping. We could no longer go to the top of the dish that day.

Leaving the control room, we headed to the library to wait for a lecture from the professor who does research at the observatory. Finally the professor arrived and gave his lecture on radar, which was interesting. When he was finished he asked about the dish and we told him we didn’t get to go up, so he suggested we stop taking data the next day for an hour or so and see the dish instead.

We all agreed to meet at the control center at 10 A.M. the next day to go up and then we headed back to the apartment building to relax and open our coconuts while chilling in the pool. 

- John Thomas