We offer these categories of participation:
1. on site, selected weeks (June-Sept, to be arranged)
2. remote observers (web/email/phone, arranged nights, Aug-Oct)
The Mt.Evans Meyer Womble Observatory is North America's highest operating observatory at 14,148 ft above sea level. Individuals will participate in the observing programs using the twin 28.5 inch Meyer Binocular telescope, and related support efforts. More details can be found on website www.du.edu/ ~rstencel/MtEvans. Volunteers will help obtain CCD data with cameras and spectrometers, following scripted observing session protocols. Opportunities for photography and visual observing will occur as conditions permit. In exchange for the observing help, low cost lodging and meals will be provided at the Echo Lake Lab (somewhat rustic, located at the 10,600 ft level 15 miles from the summit). Volunteers must be in excellent health, 18 or older, and will need to provide their own winter clothing and transportation. The number of slots is extremely limited, and assignments will be given on the basis of application materials (see below).
Losses for visual functions are -10% in central field extent, -30% in central brightness contrast, -34% in dark adaptation and -36% in central acuity. You will not see the sky looking as black as you'd expect, due to loss of oxygen to the retina (40% less air than at sea level), but if conditions are favorable, the seeing will be sub-arcsecond. So why do we bother? Instruments are not affected by low oxygen and detect the much improved transparency and seeing of the thinner atmosphere.
High altitude can be dangerous for the unprepared. We ADVISE AGAINST this program for anyone who:
--HAS RESPIRATORY/CIRCULATORY/CARDIAC/DIABETIC PROBLEMS OR DISCOMFORT --SUFFERS FROM MIGRAINE HEADACHES OR ANY FORM OF ANEMIA --IS UNCOMFORTABLE WITH DRIVING MOUNTAIN ROADS HAVING STEEP DROPOFFS --WOULD BE CONCERNED ABOUT WEATHER THAT CAN BE LESS THAN PERFECT --HAS ANY DOUBTS ABOUT PERSONAL FITNESS OR VEHICLE'S FITNESS Note added July2006: Calcium channel beta blockers used for high blood pressure control actually restrict heart rate and can cause blackouts when combined with thin air at high altitude - caution!