Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The biggest and Bestest

Sometimes my life contains far too much laundry and cooking and mopping floors. And sometimes I get to be really jammy.

Today I was jammy. I spent the morning being trained to guide visitors around the biggest and best telescope in the world, Grantecan.

I used to work at the William Herschel Telescope, when that was the biggest in Europe, so I'm used to big telescopes, but Grantecan is something else. If you took the telescope out of the dome, there'd be room for a full-sized tennis court on the observing floor. And when that huge telescope moves, it's completely silent (whereas the 25-year-old Herschel rumbles like a purring dragon.)

When Spain first announced that they were going to build it, they had trouble finding collaborators, partly because people didn't think Spain had the technology to make a go of it. Somebody, somewhere is saying, “Nyar nyar na nyar nyar.”

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