We had looked forward to it for so long, and when we finally arrived, it was so much more amazing than we had ever imagined.
Bryan, Mike and I just got the most incredible behind the scenes tour of the two largest telescopes at the McDonald Observatory. The scopes themselves are massive- over 190,000 pounds each and anchored deep into the mountain bedrock for near perfect stillness. The mirrors are so large that as the telescope pivots to follow the stars, they deformed slightly under their own weight. The entire assembly is so perfectly balanced with counter weights that you can move them with your hand. We are staying with an engineer who lives at the observatory, his name is John. He lives here with his family up on the mountain and runs the scopes and fixes problems for the researchers that are using them. What a neat job. Thanks John!