My 100th observing night

Tonight is/was my 100th night working at the telescope as an astronomer. My first one was back in Hungary as a master student on the 28th of November in 2005 at the 1 meter RCC telescope of the Konkoly Observatory. I spent a sum of 64 nights with this beautiful Zeiss instrument on Piszkéstető, unluckily on 17 of these I was only monitoring the clouds… (Luckily I really like meteorology.) Besides collecting data for my Master’s Thesis I also participated in international campaigns (like the Whole Earth Telescope project). I really enjoyed these runs, because it was the first time I was allowed to work with professional equipment, and also because the telescope is situated in the highest mountains of Hungary, and the scenery was really nice up there. The forest was colorful, in clear weather you could see the lights and hills of Budapest, or even the Tatra Mountains in Slovakia. And in winter, there was a lot of snow, or the mountaintops were just above the fog and smog layer – which is very common this time of the year in the Carpathian basin…

Then after I started my PhD in Belgium I had two runs (and now I have the third, so 30 nights so far and only 2 of these was completely unsuitable for observations) at our Institute’s 1.2 meter Mercator Telescope here on La Palma, and one run (6 nights, but 3 with bad weather – which was really unusual for that season) with the IAC-80 on Tenerife. As I am pretty much in love with these rocky and deserted mountain landscapes, I think I don’t really need to stress on how much I like to spend my time here on the Canary Islands :) I became an astronomer because I wanted to work with (these) telescopes. That’s what I really enjoy in this profession. And probably that’s what I will try to do after my PhD as a support astronomer somewhere… But who knows what future holds ;)

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