I just realized that I have not been writing anything here for quite a while. And now it’s almost Christmas, and the IYA close to its end.
Cerro Aparejo in the Chilean Andes from the distance. We didn't even make it close to the summit after it started to snow.
Thus it’s time for a few more posts before it is too late. Since we are close to summer here in Chile and have had several hot days already, I want to tell you a bit how it is between shifts for an operations astronomer. As you already know, ESO astronomers (usually) have to spend eight days at the observatory, after which they get six days off. This sounds like a really long weekend. However, if you really take all these days off, it will be immediately visible in your science output. Thus the “usual” ESO operations astronomer tries to spend at least one or two days between shifts in our Santiago office, to advance with some data reduction or some paper to write.
Still, even the remaining four days make a long weekend. How do we spend these days? As you imagine, this depends a lot on the individual ...