Sunday, August 6, 2017

First trip up the mountain!

Hello! My name is Sarah Hughes and I am currently completing my undergraduate degree in Astrophysics at the University of London. This trip to Las Campanas observatory is my first, but I hope it will be the first of many! I'm so glad that I have the opportunity to share my amazing experience here.

Me standing under the Du Pont Telescope

I was very fortunate to be invited to co-investigate an observation run with Dr. Johanne Teske and Dr. Andrew Mcwilliam, who I worked with as a summer student at Carnegie Institute a couple of years ago.
We were taking images of Trappist 1, the star where many earth like planets have recently been discovered, to see if infrared ground based telescopes can detect their atmospheres.

This run was very much an experiment as we had no idea how good the data would be! Thankfully we seem to have grabbed some really good transit images despite a few technical issues here and there. It's never good when you have a power cut but its something that keeps observers on their toes!

I arrived at the observatory two days before we were due to observe. It meant that I could really explore the site and get an up close glimpse of all the telescopes as well as take in the views :)

View from the Giant Magellan Telescope site

Honestly though, my camera does not do the image justice, but I hope that on any future trips my camera will have improved by then.

I had an amazing time at Las Campanas and hope that in the near future I'll be able to visit again and continue to work on exciting projects!