Friday, February 17, 2012

Luna and her boyfriend, Diesel

video
Darrell met Diesel and his owner, Doug, down at the dog park down the road from us. They get a good workout when they get together!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Saturday, February 11, 2012

STEWARD OBSERVATORY MIRROR LAB AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA

This facility had its beginning in the backyard of
its founder, Dr. Roger Angel. After much experimenting, and funding from the Air Force, U of A and the National Science Foundation, the facility was set up under the stadium at the U of A. It is the only place in the world where these giant mirrors for telescopes are made.
Darrell & I have had this on our list of things to do since we moved here....sometimes these things take a while to get around to!

These are examples of the glass chunks used to form the mirrors made here. All the glass used in these mirrors is made in Japan.
Inside this contraption is the second mirror to be used in

the Giant Magellan Telescope. Put simply, chunks of glass like the ones in the above picture are strategically placed over a mold; the lid is put on, the heat is turned up to 1160 degrees, and away it goes, spinning in a circle so the mirror will form a parabolic shape.

This mirror is in position to have the discs that were attached in order to raise it up, removed.


This mirror is in the final stages of being polished. Lots of complicated machinery is involved.


This is an operator of the polishing device, pictured here. The polishing process is complex; the mirror is measure with lasers and computers, and I could barely understand the explanation. You had to be there.

Here is an artist's rendition of the Giant Magellan Telescope being assembled in Chile, for which the GMT mirrors are being made. There will be 6 on the outside, one in the middle, and a spare.