Astronomy in the Dark Ages

By which I mean, in the age when you did astronomy in the dark.  In response to a post at the Bad Astronomer’s blog, I was reminded of some long-ago nights.

I spent a month at Cerro Tololo one summer, and it was totally awesome! Mostly because I was 9, and if I fell asleep in the dome it was no problem! And yeah, I think I made it to midnight once or twice.  Actually I was probably up the mountain only a handful of times, but it was so cool I remember it more than staying down in La Serena.  What more could you want: Magellanic Clouds, giant condors eating meat out of your hand, beautiful mountains, electric carts to drive around in, night assistants to develop all the photos I was taking with my box camera (with VP-620 film! Yeah, shooting medium-format at age 9, woo-hoo!) And plenty of Creedence Clearwater Revival in the dome.  A friend had sent my dad a tape of all the CCR albums.  Y’know, a reel-to-reel tape.

And the cocoa made from hot water was the best ever, because the powdered milk down there had fat in it!  Didn’t last forever like the nonfat dry milk they have round these parts, but it tasted like actual milk.  And you haven’t lived until the sun has been blotted out by the shadow of a passing 12-foot-wide bird.  So that was all very cool.

And my dad is still cool, even if he’s gone on to studying scallops. Wait, because he’s gone on to studying scallops.  Apparently science is like joy:  You make your own.

0 Responses to “Astronomy in the Dark Ages”

Comments are currently closed.