EGTN November Trip Update 3 – PTO Up and Running!

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Trent and I have been rather busy pulling everything together, so this post is a little anticlimactic in I gave it away we are fulling operational here at PTO! When we last touched base, we were well on our way to completing early and we did just that. We arrived back in Cape Town today to play tourists for 24 hours before catching separate flights. The picture above is the road down to the observatory, so let’s walk back down this road in order to catch you up to where we are now.

On Saturday we kept working towards wrapping up the hardware/computer installation ahead of the scheduled telescope delivery on Monday.  The largest goal of Saturday was to complete the weather automation, and we were able to wrap that up before lunch! Saturday was also Trent’s introduction to driving a manual. And not only manual, but on the left side of the road too!

As this was his first time driving stick,  I was quite impressed with how quickly he picked it up. I definitely don’t mind sharing the driving responsibilities now! (-:

Sunday had us driving out to BTO to complete some quick maintenance there.  Nothing had gone wrong since our installation about 6 months ago, but we have made upgrades to our overall operations that needed to be implemented at this observatory.  So a majority of our Sunday was spent in the car, but we were able to get everything done and enjoyed some nice views through the wine lands of the Western Cape, such as:

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Monday was the day we had circled since the end of last week as the telescopes were scheduled to be delivered.  Everything pointed to their arrival, but until I had them in our possession I was going to be a little anxious.  And sure enough, just a little bit before lunch they arrived! Trent and I had just finished up all of the hardware/computer wiring in the shed so the timing was perfect as without the scopes we would have had nothing installation related to complete! Sometimes these trips feel fast and furious, so having a little down time if the telescopes were delayed would have been uncommon. Speaking of fast and furious, here is the courier that brought the telescopes to the site:

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I didn’t know Dom had an outlet in South Africa! With the telescopes in hand we were able to get everything placed, finished wiring and had first light for all 6 scopes on Monday, November 6!

Tuesday was spent wrapping everything up and putting all the polish on. We then were able to finalize telescope focus and begin packing for our trip home. Today we officially started the next leg of our trip as we drove back in to Cape Town where we are now sitting at our AirBnB. We went down to the waterfront this evening and enjoyed walking around as well as grabbing a nice meal.  Final packing tomorrow then back on the airplane! Enjoy some additional pictures below and talk to everyone soon!

Cheers,
MJ

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