5 thoughts on “Your Stories

  1. Roland Meier

    Many thanks for inviting me to your celebration activities. I would have loved to join the celebrations (and meet with former collegues), but I will most likely not be able to make it.
    Roland

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  2. Ann Merchant Boesgaard

    Ann Boesgaard remembers
    In January 1971 Alan Stockton and I were sharing half-nights on the 88-inch telescope. (I had first halves; he had the extragalactic halves.) The weather looked fantastic that afternoon with deep blue skies. There was a problem though. There was ice on the dome which meant it couldn’t be opened. So Alan and I drove to the summit in a big-tire, 2-person, open-air Cushman vehicle. Our goal was yo chip the ice off the dome. That required getting to the top of the dome. We went out on the catwalk and climbed the stairs by the code room. With safety harnesses attached we climbed up the ladder over the curvature of the dome. Alan seemed nonchalant, but I was totally spooked. All directions were down! The ice was intransigent so were climbed back down. Thereafter, Alan drove back like a crazy man over hill and dale – a little scary, but not like the top of the dome…

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  3. Alan Stockton

    Yes, I remember that day. It was actually a Cushman Trackster having rubber track treads instead of wheels and a T-control for steering, going, and stopping. If I was driving like a crazy man, it was probably because I couldn’t control it very well. And I had chipped ice off of the dome so I could observe a few times before, so I was used to being up there. Somewhat later, there was a dome slit heater installed to deal with the ice. But I am sure that astronomers would not be allowed to do that sort of thing today, regardless.

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  4. Sidney Wolff

    I have never kept a diary, so I can’t remember the years that things happened or even sometimes the people involved, but I do have many treasured memories of my time on Mauna Kea.
    There are the milestone events:
    • Taking a spectrum with a large telescope for the first time. The spectrum was of Vega—not exciting scientifically but one of the first—possibly the first—science observation with the 88-inch.
    • First light at the IRTF. Actually, first light had been achieved by the engineering staff the night before, but several of us flew over from Honolulu the next day to make it official. I remember celebrating at the summit with champagne. I also remember hearing a UKIRT staff member, who had been struggling for months trying to achieve the same milestone, saying, “Those Yanks have done it again!” But we have to remember that the IRTF was built like a tank, and UKIRT was one of the first modern, light-weight telescopes that required active controls to perform well.
    • Seeing for the first time the domes of IRTF, UKIRT, and CFHT all open for observing.
    • The phone call from Bob Kraft, a co-author on my first scientific paper and an old friend, calling me to say, “Sidney, we have decided where to put the 10-m telescope. Can you guess?” And I said, ‘If I can’t, you have the wrong answer!” For several years, I had had a 35-mm slide showing the cinder cone where the Keck telescopes now stand, and I had labeled it “future site of the world’s largest telescope.”

    More even than significant milestones, I remember the many adventures we had on Mauna Kea.
    • Setting off Roman candles with my husband Richard on the summit on New Year’s eve with the snow gently falling. Actually Roman candles don’t work too well at that altitude.
    • With Walter Bonsack hauling a Zeeman analyzer up the summit cinder cone on a sled when the road was blocked by snow. I vowed never to walk up the mountain again.
    • A magical morning when we hiked down the first mile or two from the summit over trackless snow with a clear blue sky and the sun rising. The road was only partially cleared of snow, and the surface was angled steeply into the side of the summit cone. The snow cat in which we were riding had slid hard across the snow into the edge of the summit cone, and the tread was torn off of its track, thus requiring us to hike down,
    • The night one of the generators threw a rod, we couldn’t start the backup generator, it began to snow, and the night assistant and I sat and watched snow falling gently on the telescope while we waited for help from Hilo.
    • Sitting at the slit of the coude feed during an earthquake and seeing the star execute a lissajou curve in the eyepiece.
    • Going up to prepare the coude spectrograph after another earthquake and discovering the while all of the components of the spectrograph remained perfectly aligned, the whole steel frame of the spectrograph had been knocked off of its northern mounting point and was about an inch too low,.
    • With Richard, coasting a car that could not be started to Hilo around 3 AM. The trick was to get the car going so fast that it was possible to make it through a hilly section near Hilo. This had to be done at night so that the headlights of any oncoming traffic would provide a warning.
    • On one of the very first nights that I observed on Mauna Kea, seeing the Southern Cross rising over Mauna Loa with the red glow of an eruption at Halemaumau against the sky—quintessentially Hawaii.
    • Sitting at the slit of the coude feed guiding the telescope while an exposure was in progress, when a graduate student on his first trip to the mountain came in from the cat walk and announced that Mauna Loa was erupting. Hilo radio didn’t announce the eruption for another half hour, so we had this magnificent sight to ourselves for a brief time.
    And so many more……

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  5. Bill Golisch

    Here is a OneDrive link to about a hundred photos of IfA-IRTF personnel through the years:
    https://1drv.ms/f/s!Ak8_6ZoJVN7YoiqKhrTwSVX1W7Rp
    I have gone through the IRTF “rogues” gallery http://irtfweb.ifa.hawaii.edu/gallery/ and selected photos showing IfA staff at work and play and added several from elsewhere.
    I hope someone can add similar IfA pics from Maui and Manoa.
    They might make a good slide show to have running between events at the Symposium.
    Enjoy!

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