A tour in Paranal, including an earthquake

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Alien, as I said before. As a token, a couple of videos, with the landscape and the residence. The first time I visited, it looked like a research station in Mars. I still have the same feeling. I cannot avoid remembering a science fiction story by John Varley: In the Hall of the Martian Kings.

Perhaps the most impressive thing is the way down to the residence, below the dome. The external ambient is extremely dry. But once you cross the second door, everything changes. Watch and try to imagine the experience:

Anyway, this morning when we were working, preparing the observations for the night, we felt some noise, some vibration. I was not worried, but it was an earthquake.

Information about the earthquake

Information about the earthquake

The earthquake lasted few seconds. Later on,  we were informed that it was important: 5.1 int he Richter scale. As a matter of fact, the strongest in the last few days.

Earthquakes stronger than 4.5 during the last seven days. Source: USGS

Earthquakes stronger than 4.5 during the last seven days. Source: USGS

A shaky start, just what I needed to wake up completely …

About dbarrado

Born in Madrid, Spain, David Barrado completed a degree in physics, specializing in astrophysics, at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. At this same university he started work on a doctorate that he would go on to complete at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) in Cambridge (USA). He then spent several years as a post-doctoral researcher at a number of institutes in the United States (including as a Fulbright scholar during his time at CfA), Germany (Max-Planck Institut für Astronomie, in Heidelberg) and Spain (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid). David now works at the European Space Astronomy Center (ESAC, Madrid) as a member of the National Technical Aerospace Institute (INTA), part of the Astrobiology Center (CAB), a combined institute made up of INTA and the Center for Higher Scientific Research (CSIC). With the INTA team he led research on the MIRI, an infrared instrument that will fly with the forthcoming space telescope, the JWST. He has also been involved in the development of a number of other astronomical instruments. For two years he was head of the Stellar and Exoplanets Astrophysics Laboratory, as a member of the CAB, and later Director of the Hispano-German Astronomy Center observatory in Calar Alto for three years. His research interests focus on the properties of stars in open star clusters, as well as detecting and characterizing substellar objects and exoplanets. More generally he has specialized in studying the formation of stars and planetary systems using various observational techniques: from visible light to distant infrared, using images and spectroscopes, via both terrestrial and space telescopes. This observation work has seen him publish close to one hundred and fifty articles in prestigious scientific journals. He also combines his research with tireless outreach activities. With Spanish blog, Cuaderno de Bitacora Estelar (see http://www.madrimasd.org/blogs/astrofisica/) has a very large audience.

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