Monday, August 27, 2012

Day 91, 8/27/2012 -- Get low

Today was a pretty busy day for us in the high bay. First thing in the morning, Jeff and I added a little bit of liquid helium to the cryostat so it didn't run out during the day. We then helped Michele remove the legs off the gondola to bring it down to a more manageable height to help facilitate the testing we were planning on doing during the day.

We then set up some hardware above the cryostat in order to repeat an experiment we did a few days back but hopefully get higher signal to noise -- and boy, did we ever. Our previous attempt used a small, millimeter-wave-absorptive chopper blade that alternately covered and uncovered a bit of bare aluminum, and gave us a small but measurable signal. This time, we had a big absorptive chopper blade that repeatedly eclipsed a large styrofoam cooler filled with absorber and liquid nitrogen. Instead of a few tens to a hundred counts of signal, we saw a thousand, and we clearly saw signals in every detector. So we set up our first experiment and then went to lunch.

Over lunch, Michele, Jeff, and I talked with a member of the SuperTIGER team about his experience recovering another payload, BESS, that had a similarly large and unwieldy main element -- in our case, the cryostat; in theirs, their magnet. It was an enlightening experience -- especially the part where he said they camped on the ice for 13 days while they disassembled the experiment!

Of course, having such a huge signal-to-noise can be a blessing and a curse, because then you can imagine many other experiments to do with more or less the same setup -- so what we had planned to be a 2-3 hour experiment ended up lasting the whole day as we did various incarnations of the experiments.

Matt was kind enough to organize a grillin' out on the patio area at CSBF and took it upon himself to cook and otherwise prepare a nice little social gathering before many people leave tomorrow.


Bonus video (albeit overexposed and with jerky zooming and focusing) of the big chopper blade spinning:

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