Today we managed to finish the last of the true cryostat alignment tasks (what remains is measuring reference positions to be used in later analysis) -- aligning the uppermost lens in our optical system (the so-called "field lens" which is mounted separately from the other lenses. After finishing that alignment, we removed the instrument (whose sole purpose in the field lens alignment operation was to provide a set of reference points to align to) and Jeff spent the rest of the afternoon installing the HWP system. Tomorrow we plan on re-installing the instrument for the final time, installing SQUIDs, connecting cables, and closing up radiation shields before flipping the cryostat for one last time to make the final reference measurements and install the optics stack filters and window. So close!
In other news, we got a shipment of liquid helium today -- 1000 liters! That should last us at least a few days...
In other other news, today marks the beginning of the transit of Venus across the face of the Sun. The next opportunity to observe this is in 105 years, so don't miss the chance! Check with your local university astronomy department; I'm sure they will have some public viewings arranged (don't look directly at the Sun!!). Here's one of my pictures, taken through shade 10 welding glass: