I went on a campout with the Boy Scouts, and on Saturday we went to Palomar Observatory. I am working on my astronomy merit badge, too. The hike was 2.5 miles each way. The observatory looks like a giant white dome with a rectangular strip on the side and top. That strip opens up when the telescope is being used. When we arrived, we went into a room that they called the basement even though it was not below the building.
It stored spare parts and such. Then, we saw the telescope itself. It is huge!
They have a place for different mirrors for the telescope. The different mirrors work well for different functions. Their smallest one is 48 inches and their biggest is 200 inches. They were the first observatory to have a 200-inch mirror. They are the 19th largest observatory in the world. This observatory was built around the time of World War II. The sinks in the bathroom are weird because they have two faucets. One sends out hot water and one sends out cold water.
I went to The Paintball Park at Camp Pendleton Marine Base with my Boy Scout troop on Saturday. They supplied us with the gun, 500 balls, a mask and a belt with two canisters that we filled with paintballs.
In the first two rounds, we played Team Deathmatch on a map called Hamburger Hill. It had a lot of bushes and a big hill. In the first round, our team was closer to the hill, and a lot of people went up to the hill and started firing down at the other team. I moved to the right of the hill and snuck closer to the other team. I didn’t get anyone out. The hit only counted if the paintball splattered on you. I got hit a total of 3 times that first round but only the last time splattered. There was someone else with me, and we tried to push forward, but I got out. The round ended soon after that.
In the second round, I stayed behind a piece of cover with two other people. One of them left to go try to get on the hill. (We switched sides so the other team had the hill now.) The hill had a fake tank. There was a piece of cover next to the tank. Whenever the person behind that cover looked out, we shot at him. Eventually, we got him out. Then, we fired over the top of the tank and tried to get people out. Since we couldn’t see over, I’m not sure we did. By that time, I had run through most of the paintballs I had brought.
Then, we went down to reload and get water. The next two rounds were a variation of Capture the Flag. There were two flags in the center, and the goal was to get both of them. If each team only got one flag, an employee would go and take one team’s flag and put it back. That team would still have the point the flag gave them, though. This was on a different map that was flat and had little shacks for cover.
In the first round, the time was up when each team only had one flag. In the second round, I saw the other team had stopped firing for a second so I ran out to grab the flag. By the time I had grabbed the flag, the other team noticed. Luckily, I got hit but the ball did not burst. At the end, another person on our team got the flag so we won that round. In the third round, the other team got one flag and we didn’t get any flags. There were more rounds, but my dad and I were almost out of ammo and getting tired. Finally, we gave our ammo to other people and left.
I doubt you want to hear about Wendy’s and the drive home so I am going to end this blog post there.