published on in Caralyne Family Featured Geekyness

chabot space and science center

A chilly and misty space center

We did a night hike, and spent the night at the Chabot Space Center in Oakland the other week. The weather did not permit us to use the large telescopes they have there, but we did get to see the perigee-syzygy of the Moon. It was quite large and nice looking, but too bad the camera does not duplicate the same optical illusion our brains produce by making it look REALLY big:

A nice full moon

The hike was fun, even when our guide quietly announced “I think we miss our turn…”

Yes, the hike was extended just a little bit longer. Our original guide, Celeste, had lead a small group of people on a longer hike, while those of us that were spending the night went with the Host(ess). She was not as familiar with the trails as Celeste was. I didn’t feel the need to panic, I was pretty comfortable knowing that we could at least find out way to the road, but it does make you think “How uncomfortable will this be to sleep outside all night without any protective equipment?”. I was also underdressed for the occasion, I was wearing a sweatshirt, and I was pretty cold from the start of the hike.

Thankfully, everyone has a smart phone, and with three people looking at Google Maps, we had the correct bearings. When we got back, we ate, watched a short film on what it is like to live and prepare for outer space.

As I mentioned, we did not get to view anything through the telescope, but we did get to see them with all the lights on (they said when they use them, they turn off all the lights so you eyes can adjust to low-light conditions). It was pretty darn cold and stormy, with lightening close by, it was VERY impressive :)

The small , 8inch telescope

The small one is over a hundred years old. It is in magnificent condition and quite a site to behold

Here is the second telescope in a separate observatory. Large, both in length and in lens size

Here is another shot of the base, which gives you an idea of the scale of it

After we saw all three telescopes, it was 10:30 or so, and time for bed. Everyone slept in a large meeting room, the Kepler Room, and since we had a nice hike, we were all ready for a great night of sleep.

Or not.

The room had automatic lights with a motion sensor. We slept all night with very bright lights on. I woke up around 2am to try an fiddle with the lights, which meant I had to tip toe around the father and son who slept directly under the light switches. I managed to turn off a few sets of lights, but the main ones would turn off after a while, but as soon as someone turned over, they would flip right back on. It was pretty miserable.

The next morning, we had a nice Noah’s Bagels breakfast, and then we got to run around the place by ourselves all morning.

Caralyne is doing a charcoal rubbing

Michele posing as an Astronaut

Caralyne is already suffering from Space Madness!

Bolding going where no man has gone before... You can pee in these things right? Eww, its floating in my suite... ugh, now its in my gloves, stupid micro-gravity

Caralyne getting her space workout in

So am I

A return capsule, it was really cool. It is amazing the tight quarters and the basic computing equipment they had. I was also surprised the amount of Russian equipment on display, very cool. Go Kosmonavts!

Now THAT is a backpack. I always wondered what was in those big boxes on space suites, well, here it is. Life support systems, air exchanges, water filtration, radio communication, temperature control. Imagine hiking with THAT huh?? Actually, I've seen and put on Jenny's backpack for hiking, and its probably heavier than this :)

This one we could sit it, it was a mock up though. A good mock up, I wish Owen had been there to play around in it, he would have LOVED the switches and buttons

Another shot

This model was to demonstrate/simulate a storm on one of the gas giant planets like Jupiter. It was a lot of work to create this vortex, my shoulder was pretty exhausted after a few minutes

This was a COOL mechanical model of a wave that was positioned at the top of the main hallway

Caralyne looks like she's about 15 in this picture, man, she's really growing up. Shes not 15 though, and I'm still awesome to her. I'm hi-five-ing her right now as I type this!

It was a cool trip, I’m looking forward to going back with Owen.