August 1st Theme day: Night

Six years ago, as a part of my PhD (astronomy) I was sent to the Canary Islands (La Palma) to do a set of 8 nights of observations on a telescope called Jacobus Kapteyn Telescope (JKT). I had no technical help for the last 5 nights and was operating the telescope on my own, which is not the case on larger telescopes. After I got used to operating the telescope on my own, I took time while the telescope was taking images and went out of the dome. The darkness was palpable, but as my eyes got used to the darkness I was stunned by how incredible the night sky was at that elevation (2500m above the sea, and only 5% humidity). I had a feeling I could touch every star in the Milky way... that's when I realized my childhood dream came true.

Soon I got used to that small time frame when I had everything set up for the night's work and got out next to the dome to watch the sunset and other telescopes:

Remembering those 8 nights always make me melancholic about leaving astronomy...

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  1. I envy you the opportunity you had to get this spectacular image. It looks so other worldly.

  2. @ Babooshka - it is... I'm still trying to find a spot in Zagreb to awaken the same emtions in me this image does...

  3. Wow, this is such a neat location, plus the colorful sky. I like this one a lot.

    Slinger - Twin Cities

  4. how lucky you are to have your childhood dream come true.... great photo, do you think you will ever go back to astronomy?

  5. @ Jaca - I doubt it... maybe only to work on some amateur observatories. The problem with astronomy is that doing your own observations is so rare, you get to spend maybe couple of nights per year on a telescope. Rare people get scholarships which include larger amount of time as an "engineer" on a telescope to help out other astronomers (maybe 3 months per year). The rest of the time you're stuck behind a computer, no real job, most people have to move every 2-3 years,........... :-/