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Cosmic Origin of the Chemical Elements, Ep. 10: Telescopes and Observing

Have you ever wondered how all the chemical elements are made?

Then join me as we are lifting all the star dust secrets to understand the cosmic origin of the chemical elements.

Astronomers collect data and when you want to work with the oldest stars and

you want to determine their cosmic chemical composition, you have to use the

technique of spectroscopy.

Spectroscopy means that we split up the light into the

rainbow colors and because we are looking for stars with very weak absorption

lines in the very end, we need to stretch out the light real bad

to get to a data quality level that is sufficient for our work. Now, if you

want to split up your light over so many colors, you really need a big glass, a big

telescope, in order to collect enough light that there is enough light, a

photons, left over for every single color in the rainbow. I use the Magellan

telescope in Chile. It has a 6.5 meter mirror and it's a beautiful telescope

and like going observing very much. But most people really can't

understand what it means when I say I go observing. Well, what it means is I fly

to Chile, the telescope is located in the Atacama Desert 2500 meters up, and one

has to fly to Santiago first and then to La Serena and then, from there, it's two

hours with a car up into the mountains, and then when you get there you see the

mountains, you see a little telescope glistening in the Sun. Actually, there are

two telescopes there, they are twin telescopes. I use mostly just one of them,

sometimes I use the other one too, and one time, actually, I used them both. That

was exciting -- both at the same time! I had to run back and forth between the two to

make sure that everything is working properly. What you have when you

get there is that you have a beautiful mountain landscape and of course at night you

have the beautiful dark sky above you. The stars are so bright all together

when they make up the Milky Way that, actually, I used to walk outside and I

didn't need to bring a flashlight. There was no moon but the Milky Way band

in the Southern hemisphere is so bright that you can just walk outside. You

wouldn't run into a tree or a car or whatever. And I could almost imagine that

I would see the shadow from the Milky Way's light. I could have just imagined

that but the fact that I, actually, was in this position that I said, like, "Oh, can I

see my shadow from the night sky?" that's just fantastic in itself.

In the following, I want to show you a few videos that I have taken at

the telescopes to give you a little insight into what it means, what this

observing means, and how we collect data. But I also want to share with you what

the night sky looks like because it is just too beautiful and words really

can't describe it.



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Have you ever wondered how all the chemical elements are made?

Then join me as we are lifting all the star dust secrets to understand the cosmic origin of the chemical elements.

Astronomers collect data and when you want to work with the oldest stars and

you want to determine their cosmic chemical composition, you have to use the

technique of spectroscopy.

Spectroscopy means that we split up the light into the

rainbow colors and because we are looking for stars with very weak absorption

lines in the very end, we need to stretch out the light real bad

to get to a data quality level that is sufficient for our work. Now, if you

want to split up your light over so many colors, you really need a big glass, a big

telescope, in order to collect enough light that there is enough light, a

photons, left over for every single color in the rainbow. I use the Magellan

telescope in Chile. It has a 6.5 meter mirror and it's a beautiful telescope

and like going observing very much. But most people really can't

understand what it means when I say I go observing. Well, what it means is I fly

to Chile, the telescope is located in the Atacama Desert 2500 meters up, and one

has to fly to Santiago first and then to La Serena and then, from there, it's two

hours with a car up into the mountains, and then when you get there you see the

mountains, you see a little telescope glistening in the Sun. Actually, there are

two telescopes there, they are twin telescopes. I use mostly just one of them,

sometimes I use the other one too, and one time, actually, I used them both. That

was exciting -- both at the same time! I had to run back and forth between the two to

make sure that everything is working properly. What you have when you

get there is that you have a beautiful mountain landscape and of course at night you

have the beautiful dark sky above you. The stars are so bright all together

when they make up the Milky Way that, actually, I used to walk outside and I

didn't need to bring a flashlight. There was no moon but the Milky Way band

in the Southern hemisphere is so bright that you can just walk outside. You

wouldn't run into a tree or a car or whatever. And I could almost imagine that

I would see the shadow from the Milky Way's light. I could have just imagined

that but the fact that I, actually, was in this position that I said, like, "Oh, can I

see my shadow from the night sky?" that's just fantastic in itself.

In the following, I want to show you a few videos that I have taken at

the telescopes to give you a little insight into what it means, what this

observing means, and how we collect data. But I also want to share with you what

the night sky looks like because it is just too beautiful and words really

can't describe it.


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