Astronomy with Lasers, Part II – or Canadians in Scotland

When I did the first part of this post, I said that if Keck were shooting lasers into the sky again I would try to get another night time image, but using the tripod. I did try again the following night but we were quite busy so I didn’t get the chance to get out until late. But good news, the laser was still firing, so I set up the camera on the tripod and went outside. I set the camera up and pointed roughly in the right direction (it was dark out there, you can see anything through the camera’s eyepiece!). I set the camera to its bulb setting and f/8 aperture, manual focus set to infinity and I was ready. I looked up and… no laser! WHAT? They’d switched it off! It was bloody freezing as well.

[I’m sorry, I have to tell this because as I write that phrase – “bloody freezing!” – it reminds me of a story. I studied for my PhD in Edinburgh and one of my fellow students was a Canadian named Steve Torchinsky. For obvious reasons I called him “The Torch”. He told me a story that has stuck with me, about when he was in an Edinburgh pub and a happy but drunken Scotsman started talking to him for no other reason than he was there (it happens). Then he found out The Torch was from Canada and exclaimed the following. Now you must understand, this is only very funny if you say the following in a drunken Scottish accent, otherwise it’s just merely amusing. The drunken Scotsman said, “Don’t talk to me aboot Kanada, Eye’ve bin to Kanada. It’s bloody freeezin‘ in Kanada. It’s so kold in Kanada, the snot FRO-OZE up me NO-OZE!” I love Scotland, and I love the Scottish people… especially the drunken ones. And yes, it is cold in Kanada.]

I got luckier the next day, but I kept one eye on the Keck while I set up the camera and tripod. The following was the result after a 3 minute bulb exposure at f/8.

Keck Laser

As I turned around to go back into the building I noticed that rising over in the East was the Southern Cross. So I set the camera up and exposed it for a minute. I was quite happy with the result, composed with the entrance to the JCMT.

Southern Cross

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2 thoughts on “Astronomy with Lasers, Part II – or Canadians in Scotland”

  1. Let me know if you need a copy of our AO schedule. This would give you heads up on Keck laser nights. Right now we lase about 10 nights a month.

    Hopefully by this time next year there will be two beams on-sky. Even possibly aimed at the same target if we are using both lasers for the interferometer.

    Like

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