This one is rather obviously under construction. More will be added when time permits.
I'm employed at the Observatory as a Night Assistant, but I get to do a lot of other things. One of the things I do is play with the telescope control system. As a computer programmer who was rejected by the observatory when I applied for a programing position, I find it ironic that I eventually ended up here as a night assistant and get to "play" programmer. It's fun.
(90Kb). Me at the AAT control desk, taken some 20 years ago. The control desk hasn't changed much in the intervening years.
(35Kb) Me (on right) displaying the collimator/camera lens I was making for the "HBS" - a very high resolution spectrograph the AAO built solely for SN1987A - to a group of Japanese visitors (one of whom took the picture). On the left is Peter Gillingham, the engineer who designed and organised the HBS. He also did some of the grinding and polishing of the lens.
Astronomers need to know when it gets dark, when the moon rises and where it is, and when the sun rises (in order to be on the catwalk in time to see the "green flash"). The simple tables I did were OK, but people wanted to see pretty graphs.
What are the current meteorological conditions at the AAT? Click to find out. (Don't blame me if the plots don't always appear - they are the result of 3 completely different computer systems attempting to talk to each other. It's a miracle it even works some of the time.)
One major project I've been involved with recently is creating a database of all the observations ever carried out at the AAT. A rather daunting task, but the project is well under way now, with more than 350,000 observations already entered into the database.
home to my Hobby page
Page last updated 1998/06/23