After dragging my heels, sleep deprived, through the Santiago airport onto my connecting flight, into the shuttle pickup for LCO HQ, and eventually down into La Serena for dinner and back, I slept very well. This morning I hopped on the shuttle to the observatory, admiring the view of ocean to the left, mountains to the right. And of course, I fell asleep in the van not long after admiring the view. I woke up shortly before we hit the dirt road, a view of the ocean now completely gone. The vigorous rumbling of the van driving on the uneven surface was oddly satisfying, especially as we approached the mountains. I saw the familiar glint of a large telescope dome on one mountain peak, then another. The first one I caught was from ESO’s La Silla Observatory, one large dome immediately obvious followed by the trail of smaller domes. Then to my left I caught the glint from LCO telescopes. I suspected the view to my left was LCO by the twin Magellan telescopes, recognizable from a distance and an impressive sight up close.
So I was pretty content with myself when we took the turn towards Las Campanas, in the direction affirming my suspicions. At this point I was wide awake while climbed mountain, catching glimpses of the glinting LCO domes getting closer and closer, until we finally arrived.
Now I am enjoying some down time, catching up on emails and a little bit of work before we get to go “observe” other observers tonight. We came early to learn from more experienced observers and connect with the MagAO team before our observing night on Monday. It’s both calming and thrilling to be up here breathing in the crisp dry air, enjoying a fantastic view of the Andes, and getting ready to take advantage of a cutting-edge instrument! I’m thankful for the clear skies and looking forward to the rest of our stay!