My arrival at OHP
Christian and Olivier seem very busy with their installation, I am not going to disturb them. Ha, a small friendly group is chatting with Valérie. Come on, I’ll take this opportunity to make a first contact, and ask Valérie if there’s place for a first-timer like me. Damn, I don’t have any experience in astrophotography and that’s a prerequisite, Valérie tells me. Come on, we’re not discouraged, anyway I tell myself that I can’t leave without having learned anything. The following days will show me that the spectro community has a philosophy of sharing and kindness.
Ha, I see Vincent. Hello Vincent, very happy to be at the OHP. A little later, Kevin arrives. I feel a little less alone (from CALA) at the same time.
Well, at work, I have to install my equipment. Here a member of a native species comes to welcome me too:
There you go, part of the installation is done under a Sun in great shape, well supplied with carbon-free hydrogen. The tarpaulin was not an extra purchase (mine is supposed to filter UV, but for infrared, not sure). My folding cart was also a good idea, I think, but my camping table is a green dwarf in the middle of the proud blue or white giants that have settled on the ground!!!
Meanwhile, Kévin plants his setup a few meters from mine.
Everyone in class for the internship presentation. Everyone listens to François.
This year, the internship is essentially focused on the practice of spectroscopy. Workshops, advice, mutual aid and practical application are the common threads for this new edition of the spectro party. This is perfectly in line with my expectations.
Then the presentation of the observation program with Christian….
Yes, thank you, good training also to all participants!!!
We all received a pretty little vial with a USB cap containing information and software that could be useful for us to follow the course and enrich our computer library, Demetra, INTI, Spec INTI, ISIS, Visual Spec, which will be explained throughout the afternoons. Internet access is also allocated to us individually.
Attention to detail, I realize to what extent spectro amateurs operate with scientific and professional rigor.
Well, the first evening arrives with the first workshop on the table and first surprise shared with François who comes to my rescue, my camera does color and not black and white… It will have to be replaced by a black and white later. So I don’t have an acquisition camera, but nothing is lost because a charitable soul in the community, Rémy, will lend me one.
When I spoke of kindness and mutual aid in the spectro community above, it was not to look good in the text.
This is how I will experience a series of technical difficulties that all spectroscopists have encountered during their journey in the quest for the Grail, I am talking about obtaining a calibrated spectrum free of instrumental effects ready to be interpreted.
Here are some rules that I remembered from that first day:
• As in many technical fields, we are in a process of continuous improvement, this is the principle of the Japanese quality method called “Kaizen” which consists of evaluating, validating the relevance and conformity of each step of progression in order to be able to continue on the next step.
• There is a methodology to “catch”, then we forget the instrument and concentrate on the stars.
• We adjust the spectro on the table with the help of the Sun.
• All settings are made during the day
• Keep a logbook (dome notebook, observation program, etc.)
• Organize data (to be kept for centuries!!!)
• A directory per observation session, explanations, data archiving
• The spectroscopist’s mission during the night: put as many photons as possible into the spectroscope slit!!!!
The other days
The days will come one after another for me, each time with new technical problems to solve. Some that I will be able to solve alone and others that will require help. For this, I must again thank François, Yves, Vincent, Kévin, Rémy, Stéphane, Olivier, Daniel. And the whole group for all the friendly and cordial exchanges, truly a great community of enthusiasts.
The week also took place with beautiful and interesting presentations, Shelyak innovations, low resolution spectro, high resolution, Planck curve, Uvex, silicon valley, software, spectroscopes, astrometry, Visual spec, Inti spec, Bess base, base Staros, 2SPOT in Chile…
And naturally the talented and high-level presenters, Christian, Valérie, François, the Nice People team, Olivier, Vincent, Matthieu. What a week !!! I would happily say that there is no amateurism among astronomical spectroscopy enthusiasts
For my part, I learned a lot from this spectro party week. It is a necessary step to meet accomplished spectroscopists and understand the rigor required to practice astronomical spectroscopy. However, it became obvious to me that I lacked preparation in advance, especially with my setup which I only partially mastered (and I am being indulgent in writing this). Still, I can now better discern my road map to achieve a spectrum. Like all learning, you have to devote time, patience and be able to evaluate your progress. Note that the final debriefing was an excellent idea which I am sure will allow me to finalize my roadmap for this year in the hope of returning next year to the OHP. Needless to say, I have plenty to keep me busy…
I also really enjoyed the recreation at the OHP’s 1.93 m telescope, its ELODIE and SOPHIE spectrographs (nice first names, aren’t they?) and the meeting with the history of the detection of first exoplanet at the OHP by Michel MAYOR and Didier QUELOZ. Really impressive to me…
By way of conclusion, thank you again to the beautiful spectro community that I discovered at the OHP, see you next year I hope, and I would end with this thought from Jean Perrin which resonates in the heads of all lovers of sky and the Universe: