It’s Hard to Say Goodbye

So Long,  Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye… and Adios

There’s a traditional song of the sea — “Leave Her Johnny” — that marks the end of a journey.

In it, the crew recounts all the hardships, long nights, difficult conditions, weather, and rough seas they endured as their home port comes into view. But though the hardships are soon behind them, they still find it difficult to say goodbye to the people they have known and the sites they have seen. And so it is with us as we near the end of the inaugural ACEAP adventure.

From Santiago and La Serena to Sierra Tololo and ALMA, we have had a wonderful time, built a new community, developed insights into astronomy and the lives of astronomers, found friendship and common goals, all while enduring extreme climates, long travels, very low oxygen, and missing our families and homes.

Near the end, however, it’s hard to say goodbye. So I’ll conclude with some pictures of the past 10 days, wishing everyone well and safe travels. May your home ports be welcoming. Fair winds, clear skies, and following seas.

Last day chile 008
The ACEAP team at ALMA.
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The long drive from the ALMA low site to the high site. Where did I put that oxygen tank?
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The ALMA high site. A pad awaiting the day it again hosts its own antenna.
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Newly minted ALMA high site visitors getting their O2 levels checked before visiting the correlator.
As the sun sets in the East.. wait... West? No, hold on, what the hell? Who turned the sky upside down?!
As the Sun sets in the East.. wait… West? No, hold on, what the hell? Who turned the sky upside down?!
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A long drive through the desert is no reason NOT to stop to take pictures of the Moon as it rises over the Chilean Andes.
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Most common words heard on this trip? “Wait, I need one more picture!” as demonstrated by Renae.
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Desert. Oasis. Flamingos, Sea monkeys (no, really), and 100 kilometers away on the side of a mountain, ALMA. It was a lot to take in.
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The “Trooper of a Trouper” award for never missing out on ANYTHING. Thanks, Shannon, for keeping up with us all!
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The last night — and last Pisco Sour — in San Pedro. Adios, mi amigo.

Dedicated to Brian, Jim, Mike, Peter, Renae, Ryan, Sarah, Shannon, and Vivian.

Thanks to Tim, Mary, Peter, Stephen, Sergio, Juan, Ma. Antonieta, and Tania.

Special thanks to the U.S. National Science Foundation, whose generous grant made this possible. It was, by any measure, a success.

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