Big Bear Solar Observatory - August 14-18, 2005

My visit to Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO) was a fun and productive one. The trip included lots of science along with too-brief visits with friends and family.


I feel silly not having taken a picture of this part of the trip, but the visit began with a polo exhibition at Will Rogers State Park. My brother Nick and his wife Anne are into horses and knew some of the amateur players. I also got a tour of Nick and Anne's new house in Sylmar, where they plan to house and ride some horses of their own. Their new digs were very spacious and quite populated (2 dogs, 4 cats).

Solar Physics

After catching a nap at Nick's house and a nice dinner in Sylmar, I drove up to Big Bear Lake, checking in to BBSO, where they have several dormitory-style rooms for visiting students and scientists.

BBSO offices, workshops, etc. The building in the background is where I stayed.

The road to the observatory itself is across the street from the offices.

Another view of the observatory. The weather was beautiful, as usual (otherwise they wouldn't have built a solar observatory there). The visit to BBSO was productive--my friend Vasyl Yurchyshyn and I spent time using my computer code to simulate a solar eruption and its near-Earth consequences, which contribute to what is known in the trade as "Space Weather".


On Wednesday before I left I had a nice dinner with my friend Becky Blackmon, who recently took a job in California. I was too distracted with the Beckiness of it all to pull out my camera and take a picture, but it was fun to catch up.

Los Angeles

Between Sylmar, BBSO, and Camarillo, I spent quite a bit of time driving around the greater Los Angeles area. I learned two things:
  1. In L.A., pulling off the road for gasoline and a burger is not easy. Few of the gazillion freeway exits indicate services, and most of them lead to seas of those small, stucco, bungalow-type L.A. houses with nary a shop in sight. On my third attempt I stumbled across a business district while maneuvering my way back towards the freeway, thinking I had struck out once again.

  2. In L.A., time is relative, especially one is trying to estimate drive time to pretty much anywhere at all. Depending on who was talking, I was told that my planned Thursday-morning drive from Camarillo to LAX would take 2-3 hours or even longer. Wishing to get to the airport by 9 am for my 11 am flight, I bit the bullet and left the motel at 5. One hour later, having already gassed up my rental car, I was in a diner near the airport, waiting for breakfast to arrive.
Had I left an hour later, I might have gotten caught in hellacious rush-hour traffic and missed my flight, or so the logic goes. L.A. logic is clearly messed up. However, when it comes to "messed up", Washington DC logic is still hard to beat.

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BBSO 2005 Pictures / Jonathan Krall / revised August 2005