BCP063 – Calgary Tower
N51° 02.658 W114° 03.787
Mrs. GeoK first tried for this brass cap shortly after we started geocaching almost 2 years ago. Her search of the sidewalk area in front of the Calgary Tower was not successful, so she went home and did a little more research which revealed the elusive brass to be installed at the TOP of the tower, keeping company with the giant Olympic torch gas burner!!
Now Mrs. GeoK is deathly afraid of heights (notwithstanding her successful traverse of “the ledge” to summit Yamnuska last July), so scaling the tower was out of the question. And after reading about the misadventures of the fisherman who used his fishing pole to make the ascent, we ruled out that approach too. Extending mirror? Somebody’s already done that. Mrs. GeoKs’ brother is an accomplished climber, but there would be city by-law and permit issues to sort through. Hmmmm, what to do, what to do?
If only Mrs. GeoK had some of the powers of Mrs. Incredible. A loooooong neck would give her the requisite bird’s eye view. Unfortunately, while Mrs. GeoK does have some supermom capabilities, she is definitely not a super hero. But what about the most powerful “eye in the sky” – the Hubble Space Telescope?
It turns out that anyone (even geocachers) can apply for time on the Hubble telescope; there are no restrictions on nationality or academic affiliation. Competition for telescope time is extremely intense, but we only needed a “snapshot observation” (i.e. 45 minutes or less of telescope time). Snapshot observations are used to fill gaps in the telescope schedule which cannot be filled by regular GO (general observer) programs.
The Hubble carries several instruments for making observations: the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2), Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement (COSTAR), the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS), the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS) and the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS).We did considerable research before determining that the ACS would be most appropriate for our needs. Then we submitted our application…and waited…and waited…and waited…
Today we received word that a 10 minute window unexpectedly opened up in the Hubble’s schedule, so the ACS was programmed to take multiple photos of our target. We were in luck – the giant Olympic torch wasn’t lit, the migrating geese only blocked 3 of the images and the forecast snow was nowhere to be seen. So we finally have in hand the requisite information to log this challenging brass cap and our e-mail is already on its way to outforthehunt.
The timing is perfect, as this brings us to find #1500. We’re glad to have this one behind us and look forward to hearing how the next cacher “finds” this challenging cap.
BTW - we’re not quite sure how taking photos of a survey marker takes precedent over the study of colliding galaxies. Maybe the Director of the Space Telescope Science Institute is a geocacher?!