A night at the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory

Last night I had the pleasure take a trip out to the University of Calgary’s [Rothney Astrophysical Observatory]. It was a fun night that was aimed at the general public (it was a week called “Milky Way Week” part of the international year of astronomy 2009 celebrations), so I got todo one of my favourite things and talk about astronomy.
The RAO has a great range of telescopes, from a 1.8m beast (the Sandy Cross Telescope) all the way down to small telescopes that can be used by just about anyone. I was very impressed with the main telescope (the second largest in Canada):
1.8 meter Sandy Cross Telescope dome
1.8 meter Sandy Cross Telescope
I actually spent most of my night in the control room of their 0.4 meter Clarke-Milone Telescope:
0.4 meter Clarke-Milone Telescope
0.4 meter Clarke-Milone Telescope dome
The night started off with a gorgeous sunset over the rockies and then went through a passage of complete cloud cover but once that passed we had glorious skies with the Milky Way being clearly visible (something I’m not used to seeing quite so well whilst out observing):
moon and rockies at rao
sun set at rao with dome
sunset over rockies at rao
All in all a good night of astronomy, and a chance to see the sunset over the rocky mountains. biggrin.gif More images from the night can be found on my account..
Oh I also made a short movie from the observatory webcams showing the sunset (a animated gif, that’s 4mb in size btw and this can be found [here].
Oh out of interest to make the animation I used Ubuntu with image magik using:
convert * -crop 640×480+42+42 *
convert -delay 30 *.jpg -loop 1 playme.gif

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