Saturday, May 2, 2009

Day 38, 5/2/09 -- system tests underway

The astute reader will notice that I've stopped giving weather updates. That's because it's mostly always the same -- sunny, warm, and windy. Today, however, it was actually cloudy and it even rained a bit. Even so, we actually got to play some 3-on-3 basketball with the help of Daniel, a Berkeley grad student working on NCT, and they were our best basketball games yet.

Now that the telescope has both mirrors on, we can actually, you know, make sure it works. Actually, even last night, shortly after I left, I found out via a Facebook status update that the telescope was actually able to see our 'artificial planet' and they were taking data to make beam maps. Awesome.

That work continued today, while Will worked on code to actually produce a beam map from previously-taken data. Our elevation drive developed an odd pathology where every so often it would cease to work until someone tapped on the motor lightly. I surmised that the problem was excess brush wear: The motor has high-altitude brushes, which are softer than normal brushes so they arc less (and thus also produce less RF -- bonus!) but wear much more quickly. After I tweaked the brush springs a little bit, it seems that the problem has been fixed.

Jeff spent all day today working on baffles, helped out today by Jerry. They've gotten a LOT done. Almost all of the foam is cut, and they're now well into the process of covering the baffles with aluminized mylar.

I've still been feeling the effects of lack of sleep, with nearly-constant low-grade headaches for the past few days. Today, I went home early and made myself dinner for which I had bought stuff for earlier in the week but hadn't had a chance to make -- a ribeye steak, a potato gratin (sort-of), and a salad. And now, I'm going to bed.

Updates to yesterday's albums, including pictures from Milligan who took lots of pictures while I was busy helping with the secondary mirror install

Today's pictures:

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