Saturday, May 30, 2015

Ladies Nights at Las Campanas!

This is my first entry into the Belles of Las Campanas blog.  Let me begin with a short introduction.  I'm Jackie Faherty, a Hubble postdoctoral fellow at the Carnegie Institution for Science.  I work in the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism with some pretty amazing people.  As a fellow at Carnegie, we have access to the best observatory in the entire world (I am biased):  Las Campanas.  I'm currently on a three night observing run.  The past two nights I've been on the 6.5m Baade telescope using near infrared instruments.  Last night I was using an imager called FourStar to measure distances to our nearest, coolest brown dwarf neighbors.  When I say cool, I mean COLD.  Check out the press release video we made for the coldest of all of them .   Tonight I'm using the FIRE spectrograph to look at young brown dwarfs that are fantastic analogs to giant exoplanets that we are directly imaging.  We should have a press release out soon on these guys as I'm just finishing up a paper on how awesome they are.

The very first female telescope operator at Las Campanas Observatory.
The first female telescope operator at LCO.
Welcome Angelica Leon!
It is no surprise that often times you can be the only female on top of this crazy science mountain. I've been the sole representative of my gender many times up here.  But not this time!!!  There are lots of women doing science right now.  Including our very first female operator.  Meet Angelica Leon.  She's currently in training but will be taking over as one of the vital telescope operators we are matched with.  Welcome!!!

A stacked control room of women at the Clay telescope. Front: Alycia
Weinberger, Katie Morzinski.  Back: Amanda Bosh, Jackie Faherty

Also present are my colleagues Alycia Weinberger and Jessica Donaldson from DTM as well as Katie Morzinski from Arizona and Amanda Bosh from MIT.  They are (or will be) blogging for the Belles.  It's basically ladies nights.

BTW the blog gets its name as a play on the fact that the rocks up here at Las Campanas are known to ring like Bells.  Check out this video we made where Alycia plays a little song.  Note the GORGEOUS light as we took this as we walked out from dinner when the Sun was just setting in front of us.

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