Tonight is the only night since I’ve been in the Netherlands which could remotely qualify as “clear”. But, since it’s all relative I can tell you how “clear” it was. As I was letting my camera go for a few minute exposure, I noticed a plane flying close in projection to the moon. I was initially hoping to see the plane silhouetted against the moon, but as it flew closer I realized that wasn’t going to happy, but something possibly even a bit more neat was going to…
As the plane flew “past” the moon, it was still close enough that it’s shadow was projected onto the thin cirrus which was abundant in the sky. So, based on that I can say with some confidence that the altitude of the clouds is greater than 0m and less than about 9000m!
But, to the real point.. I was able to get a few pictures of the Dwingeloo 25m radio telescope. Despite the moon and haze, there are a few star trails evident. Taking even a 5 minute exposure (with the aperture open) was too long! It might have been fun to stop the aperture down and take some 30 minute exposures, but with the cool air (-4C!) my battery wasn’t lasting.
And finally, a picture of the heath by night..
Today was partially a traveling day. When those happen in Europe, it impresses me with how smoothly their public transit system works. Granted, I was traveling on a Sunday morning, so crowds were nonexistent. First, bus from the hotel to Leiden Centraal. Then, after a few minutes wait, I caught this train:
Less than fifteen minutes later, I was underneath Schipol. After a slightly longer wait, I boarded an intercity train bound for Groningen, found a window seat and plopped down for the ride. It was raining a bit near Amsterdam, but it thinned out as we made our way east. A little over 2 hours after leaving Leiden, I was in Hoogeveen. A quick taxi ride to ASTRON and here I am!
There are only three of us in the guest house, so things are relatively quiet. I expect they’ll pick up tomorrow though. I’ll be spending the next 5 days here, hopefully finishing up a paper. I was awarded some time on the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope, and coincidentally, the first observations will take place on Wednesday! I’m looking forward to seeing those results.
Photos from a few hours walking around Den Haag (The Hague).
View the rest of the pictures here: Den Haag on flickr
Ok, maybe just a couple sentences… I spent a few hours today walking around Leiden and exploring the older, central part of town. Nice sights. Below are a few of my favorite pictures from the day. Follow the link at the bottom to see the rest!
See the rest of the pictures: Leiden on flickr
Contrary to what the time on the blog post says, it’s 9:30am where I am. A few hours ago, I landed in Leiden for a week-long workshop on powerful radio galaxies. It’s going to be an exciting and interesting conference, but I must admit that I just really want to sleep right now. I managed to get ~5 hours of sleep on the plane, but as anyone who’s slept on a plane knows, it’s not “real” sleep.
And speaking of planes, I took a train from Amsterdam to Leiden and concluded (not for the first time and probably not for the last time), that trains are a much more civilized way to travel. It’s nice to go somewhere and not be shoe-horned in with 300 other people. But, trains aren’t as fast and in the US, they’re never on time. So I guess the price of losing civility is gaining time at your destination (if you even get there at all on Amtrak!).
But before I ramble too much, I’m going to go for a run and start the day by exploring town. My hope as the week goes on is to post some things about the conference here, but most likely, all I’ll have time to do is tweet on occasion. If you’re interested in the program it is available here: Program Powerful Radio Galaxies: Triggering and Feedback.