After several years of excellent work at Las Campanas Observatory (LCO), six of our collaborators retired under a special voluntary retirement plan promoted by the Carnegie Institution for Science. To bid them farewell, on December 27, 2021, a tribute ceremony was held at the LCO offices in La Serena.
The ceremony was semi-presential. In addition to the Observatory staff, three former directors participated: Bill Kunkel, Miguel Roth and Mark Phillips, along with the current Director, Leopoldo Infante, and Carnegie collaborators from Pasadena, connected by zoom.
The collaborators who retired from the Observatory are Nelda Juica, Procurement Manager, Commercial Engineer and outstanding sportswoman; Mauricio Navarrete, Instrumentalist, who before working at LCO was Instrument & Observers Support for Astronomy at AURA; Herman Olivares, Telescope Operator, famous for his cartoons “El Cahuín Ilustrado”, in which a group of amusing vinchucas ventilate the characters of some of the members of the observatory, with a good sense of humor; Oscar Duhalde, Instruments and Operations Specialist, known in the astronomical world for the discovery of the supernova SN 1987A; Hector Balbontín, Master Chef, extraordinary chef who appears in the acknowledgements of several doctoral theses made with observations from Las Campanas; and Manuel Traslaviña, heavy machinery operator and driver, recognized for his work in road widening and conditioning tasks for the arrival and installation of telescopes.
One of the retirees, Herman Olivares, worked at LCO from the age of 19, arriving at Carnegie on June 1, 1970, when the Observatory was just being built in Atacama.