Thursday, August 2, 2007


Down in the park below the hostel is an old observatory. You can probably make it out easily in Google Earth with its five round turrets. I went and visited it the other night and looked through the telescope, which was, when it was installed 130 years ago, one of the best in the world. We've come a long way! A couple dozen people looked at Jupiter and the M4 star cluster, but the coolest was looking at Alpha Centauri. I've always been a little bummed that, living in the northern hemisphere, I couldn't see the closest star to earth. I was really excited when the astronomer first took us out on the balcony and pointed his laser at it. He also pointed out the Southern Cross and Scorpio, which has a curling tail that is below the horizon in the US. Granted there weren't many stars to see in the middle of the city, you kept getting blinded by street lights shining through the doors, and the optics seemed a little out of whack, but pretty neat all the same.

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