Thursday, May 08, 2008

Observing in west Texas

It's been a busy few days here. Tuesday I went to speak with students in a couple of high school astronomy classes in Kyle, Texas (a little south of Austin). It was an interesting experience. Some students were interested in what I had to say, some were interested in asking me questions but on topics other than what I was talking about, some were bored and passing notes or texting during class, and others were sleeping. That visit was a lot of fun. but it took a lot out of me. I would not be able to get in front of that group every day, though.

Wednesday I drove out to McDonald Observatory for a weekend of observing. The drive was worse than normal. I had a 30 mph headwind, with occasional gusts that nearly blew my poor little car off the road. Because of the headwind, my gas mileage wasn't very good, and I slowed down to keep better control of my car. In the end, I arrived too late for dinner (but there were leftovers).

My goal is to do some more observing of our pulsating carbon atmosphere white dwarf. In order to use these pulsations, we need to get many nights of data spread out over time. This is our first real push to get lots of data on this star since we discovered it.

So, keep your fingers crossed for good weather. We may get a lot of clouds here later tonight and the first part of tomorrow night.

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