Telescopes and Instruments

ESO 50th anniversary web-stream live now!
Published 10/5/2012 in Fernando Patat Author Ferdinando
A Day in the Life of ESO is live now! Watch it at: I will be giving a talk at 14:17 CEST. See you there.     read more ❯

Lost a chance, maybe forever
Published 8/31/2011 in Fernando Patat Author Ferdinando
Yesterday, while digging into more than 800 emails (already excluding spam) received during my summer vacation, I realized I have lost one of THE chances of my life. Scrolling down the list, searching for the most urgent things, I stumbled upon a message with a strange subject: From the Dark Side of the Moon to Paranal The sender is my colleague astronomer and good, old friend  Martino Romaniello, who is well aware of some of my passions. I open the message. It starts with !!!! followed by a web link. I click on it and I see the picture you can also see here: That... read more ❯

Una serata assurda - An absurd evening
Published 8/29/2011 in Fernando Patat Author Ferdinando
Just back from holidays. Many things happened, and maybe I'll find the time to report about a few of them. But the funniest, and at the same time the most frustrating one was a public talk I gave together with Margherita Hack. She is the most famous Italian popularizer of astronomy, and she appears quite often on national TV channels, newspapers and magazines. The day after I wrote a short novel about this evening. As I really needed to use many words, and my English is not good enough for that, I had to write... read more ❯

A completely new experience
Published 5/25/2011 in Fernando Patat Author Ferdinando
Many things happened since my last post here. One of them is that I got a new job. Well, yes, I'm still an astronomer, but after ten years of work as support astronomer in the Users Support Dept., I now moved to the Observing Programmes Office of ESO, which I am now leading. What? Those of you who know me might indeed wonder how this can possibly be. Well, not sure... As a consequence, I changed office, building, collaborators and so on. But I'm still at the European Southern Observatory, my alma mater. [caption id="attachment_1284" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="The Panel Scientific Assistants (a.k.a.... read more ❯

A walk into the desert
Published 9/1/2010 in Fernando Patat Author Ferdinando
A view of the desert from Paranal's residencia This is now the 8th night of this run at the Very Large Telescope. I have been observing at Kueyen, the second 8.2m unit telescope (UT2 for friends). At the moment it is equipped with three spectrographs, UVES, FLAMES, and X-Shooter. All nights where good, very stable and quiet. But tonight the wind is blowing strong, from the north. So strong that we had to close down after some hours of operations. The unit telescopes are huge, 400 tons,  earthquake-proof metallic structures, but still you can move them... read more ❯