Day 5: Team Splitting

The S1 Group’s travel to Plun Island has been delayed until today. Luckily, that gives me a chance to write this new post before I lose Internet completely. There are so many pictures and videos to post but the slow connection will not allow me to do so. They will be posted in the near future so keep checking.

In yesterday’s post I wrote about the number of boxes and suitcases of equipment we brought with us. To put things into perspective, as an astronomer, you book time on a large telescope somewhere and then you go observe. You point the telescope at an object in the night sky and there it is. To observe an eclipse, you must first find the location where the total solar eclipse (TSE) will be seen. This may not always be over land. If it is, then the planning begins. If you look at the “2016 Solar Wind Sherpas Page” you will notice the different locations where the team has observed these events. TSEs don’t have a set location or time so we chase them. Then comes the specifics: once we know the country where the TSE will be seen, can we find locations that will allow us to set up our equipment? Is there electricity for the equipment? Are there regulations or permissions needed? Can we get all our equipment to each location? What are the weather conditions in that area? Where can we accommodate the group? What are the costs? Where and when do we apply for funding? Will we be funded? Once these questions have answers, we carry out the expedition and hope for clear skies. If we don’t have clear skies, we must wait for another 12-18 months for the next TSE and the time and preparation begins again! If we do have clear skies, then it’s a success if everything has been set up properly. Every cable, screw, camera, filter, etc. must be in its place. Everyone works diligently for hours each day. Once everything is set up, testing begins. It makes a lot of sense to come several days before the eclipse in order to achieve all this and to leave a few days after because packing up all the equipment takes time. All the planning, all the preparations, the hard work, and the fun are a reflection of the time, care and dedication of our team leader. Her passion for these events, her thirst for learning more about our Sun, her management in planning and carrying out these expeditions, her immense care for the well-being of each team member and her skills are what make these expeditions not only possible, but a wonderful experience for all of us. Beyond the good data collected during an observation, the success of these expeditions comes from having such a wonderful and irreplaceable team leader like Shadia.

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