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SXR208: Observing the Universe, an Astronomy Residential, Mallorca - 19th-26th September 2009

Nosher - as part of an ongoing degree in physics - signs up for a week-long residential course, doing Astronomy at the Observatorio Astronómio de Mallorca, up in the hills near the small town of Costitx. It's not exactly a holiday, as the course starts at 16:30 when the coach arrives to pick us up, and finishes at about 05:30 - 13 hour days, which don't leave a lot of time for anything else apart from sleep. It's good fun though, despite the "variable" weather, and there's even some added frisson given by the challenging conditions and the need to swing 12" Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain scopes on target with only a few minutes between clouds.

next album: A Postcard From Palmanova, Mallorca - 19th-26th September 2009
previous album: Harvest Festival at Jimmy's Farm, Ipswich, Suffolk - 12th September 2009

On the first night, we arrive at the observatory and scope out meteorites

Part of the observatory

A short 10-minute sky shot over the planetarium - the Milky Way is quite clear on the left, like a trail of smoke

Students do a spot of stargazing, and scope out their planispheres in torchlight

Another short shot of the planetarium and sky, and an aeroplane track on its way in to Palma airport - Jupiter is a the very bright trail, left

The planetarium thingy

Sunset-lit stormclouds on the horizon

A nice sunset

Inside the computer lab

Inside an observation dome

Sitting around reading up on projects

Nosher's group check planispheres

Lights on the very wet motorway through the coach windscreen

Reflected car in the window of the coach on the way to Costitx

Analysing data in the lab

Some of the observing domes

Midnight snack in the canteen

Nice 30-minute shot towards Polaris, which some torch trails in the foreground

Another light trail on the motorway from Costitx

Kids play in the street in Costitx

Group photo outside the planetarium: Nosher is third in from the right

The group mills around after the photo session

Tutorial in the planetarium

1.5 hour star trail pointing towards Polaris - the different colours of star stand out nicely

Hotel balconies

A much-needed beer (the first after a whole week) at the hotel, following the end of the course

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On the first night, we arrive at the observatory and scope out meteorites