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Astrophysics assembly 2022

As of each year, prof. Petr Kulhánek and his Aldebaran group for astrophysics invited students of my university with high interest in physics and drinking to a 4 day stay next to a small village of Pivoň. Around 30 students and physicists arrived this year. The complex in which we stayed offered a room to give lectures and many small cottages to spend the night in.

Usually during astrophysics assembly we spend days by listening to lectures, talking about physics or any other topic and just chill. After the sun sets and the sky becomes filled with stars, we use professional grade telescopes to watch all sorts of different space objects, from star clusters, nebulae to whole other galaxies. Most of us also get very drunk in the night (some of us even earlier:)). The thing I found the most enjoyable about astro-assembly is the fact that I get to talk to the smartest people Czech Republic can offer in the most friendly and personal way. In school lecture rooms and laboratories, students usually do not realize that their teachers are people just like themselves. Here, we all get to talk with each other as friends and we talk just about anything; life, physics, movies, girls,... you name it.

I really enjoyed lectures from dr. Michal Marčišovský (aka. Mike), who is a CERN physicist working on problematics of Standard Model with focus on bottom-quark study. This year his lectures were about the life of CERN, how CERN works, how CERN doesn't work and how we have plans with supercolliders up to the year of 2090. Mike's lectures are always filled with interesting information and great humor as lectures should be.

Mike is great, his sense of humor, friendliness and intelligence makes him an outstanding scientist. But attention must be paid, Mike's drinks are strong and drinking with him means that you will probably wake up with a headache the next morning.

Another amazing lecturer; Petr Kulhánek had lectures about Solar wind and news from physics and astronomy. As usual his lectures were fun and entertaining. The most fascinating discovery for me from his lectures were the fact that during solar wind the magnetic field intensity of incoming plasma is only around 1700nT, yet it can create huge problems with our power distribution network. Transformers burn, induced voltages can harm people. Quite crazy for slowly changing and quite low intensity field which only shows how vulnerable we are against cosmic events.

And many more amazing lectures took place as well. And not just lectures but also all sorts of events from a trip to nearby cities and places all the way up to a rocket launch!

I have also took my Tesla Coil DRSSTC II with me for a show.

I was very worried about the coil itself. Tesla Coils are very fragile, switching enormous power at high frequencies, everything has to be perfect. Any loose wire can mean the destruction of switching transistors and since the ride to Pivoň was really bumpy my fear was well justified. Thankfully the coil suffered no damage during the ride and it worked very well.

The coil performed above my expectations, spitting 1-1.5m streamers on average and also hit my record yet 2.5m strike to nearby grounded fencing as can be seen on the second photo. Considering that this run was powered by ~210V from variable transformer and a primary current limit of only 400A it's amazing to see such output. Let's not forget the coil is intended to run at 400V, ~1200A current limit, I cannot even imagine what kind of output it will provide at such power and if everything will go well, I will run it at this power very soon!

"Astro" 2022 was unforgettable as any other year and I am looking forward for next year already. Below I am attaching some more pictures.

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