February 6th … in few hours the possibility of requesting observations with the Spitzer Space Telescope will end. Like my team, a lot of groups have been working very hard during the last day to be able to submit proposal which will evaluate by committees of other colleagues. The most interesting and exciting (well, not always) will be approved and will get time.
Spitzer, although an important space observatory (it has produces some of the most beautiful images taken from the sky) is just another facility. From now on, essentially every other week, astronomers have deadlines in order to submit proposal to different observatories. In my case, I am planning to submit several to Calar Alto (German-Spanish), La Palma (including the new and shiny Spanish 10m GTC, one of the most powerful ground-based instrument), Subaru in Hawaii, La Silla and Paranal in Chile… It is a new cycle: new ideas, projects, proposals. However, sometimes I have the feeling that my main task is writing scientific proposal.
However, one an idea is accepted, when I am taking data at the telescope. When I have the opportunity and the priviledge of going out of the building and let my eyes get used to the darkness … the real miracle begins: stars and the Milky Way in their true magnificence. Or, during the sunset or the dusk, it is possible to observe amazing meteorological phenomena, such as the Green Flash and wonderful spectacles as the Sun sunks under the horizon. Or impressive storms, as in the case of the picture I am including (some text in Spanish).
As I said, a real priviledge.