Gators on 3, Gators on me, Stellar NaviGATORS!

Welp, I’m here now. The first blog post of SSP NMT 2022… There’s some weight to writing this first entry. A kickoff. A launchpad. An opening to the beautiful day of discoveries that SSP presents. 

On Day 0, Sunday, I, Alan M (mystery author revealed within the first couple of words woooo) walked into the doors of Driscoll hall feeling quite refreshed and excited to get started at camp. Seeing the first two slots, I naturally filled myself in. I’m currently contemplating why I had done so as there are so many more Pset problems that I could be working on right now, but nevertheless I’m here. And I’m happy to be here :))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))  i wish i could be working though :0
Today is not the first day, nor is it the second. Today is the fourth day, actually scratch that, evening of SSP NMT 2022. It’s currently Thursday night and I’m sitting in the computer lab with Louis scratching my head at a comp sci question on hangman. 

A lot has gone on and a lot will always be going on. 

Earlier this week, On Monday we kicked off the program with a beautiful lecture on astronomy by Dr. R which literally reshaped my world. Later that day we got Pset1 Astro!!! We also got our computer logins with passwords that were insanely long. I’m proud to say I’ve kinda sorta maybe memorized it (success rate <40% as of right now). I also saw my very first gecko and it was going hard with a set of pushups. See visual below:

Also we got to walk over to Etscorn from the NMT campus. On the way, we got presented with some nicely timed showers of rain (I thought I escaped Oregon rain :() ) but the most gorgeous double rainbows I’ve ever seen. The sunset was also incredible. I’m still soaking in the gorgeous scenery, but here’s a bit to nibble on.
Double Rainbows Galore


Even prettier sunset

Dr. R popping out of the observational telescope shed (DID I MENTION IT HAS A RETRACTABLE ROOF?!) how cool is that

On Tuesday, my observation group visited Etscorn for the first time at the early shift (9-11) on the very first observation run, woohooOoOO! We were the first group to head up, so needless to say I’m still quite stoked about the incredible equipment and just the thought that my team and I would be navigating the stars using our own two hands. I handled the telescope shed opens, power on, equipment, and hardware while Deeya took observational notes and Mateo operated the computer software for the telescope. Although it was cloudy out we got the chance to get familiar with the starry night skies and got the chance to relax out in the calm desert night chatting about cities. Mateo can’t sit in the dark without turning on his lights (he’s city kid at heart LOL). Earlier during the day, we met Dr. Andersen for the first time and began to delve into the inner workings of star systems while Dr. Rengstorf presented us with more incredible astro knowledge!

Yesterday, my collaborators (the amazing Nate, Ryan, Phil, Louis) and I finished unraveling the mysteries of Astro Pset 1. It was a late night like usual but highly rewarding! Off the big jump! Wednesday also encompassed a lot of crazy cool lectures on orbits which leaves us with today.
Today we went over the intricate linear algebra detailing orbits, linear transformations, and more. We followed that up with a lecture on various telescopes. I still can’t get over the diverse multitude of telescopes and how crazy it is to see our Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope in working order (courtesy of Tuesday’s trip). I’m currently tidying up my coding pset but I’ve still got a lot to do. Back to the whiteboard and debugging!

And that’s where we leave off on the travels of SSP NMT and co!

Cya 🙂 until next entry

~ Alan M

I’m Alan M, a rising senior at Jesuit High School in Portland, Oregon. I love being outdoors especially with the starry night sky, out hiking, spotting wildlife, tennis, skiing, environmental work, learning, researching, coding, creating various gizmos in my workshop, writing poetry, running on trails, adventuring, there’s too much to go off of. Needless to say, I love a lot of things and am continuing to learn about more things I love! I’ll be back for my next entry, if there are more you’ll hear from me more then. Until next time VAMOS!