Thursday, December 6, 2012

Day 43, December 6, 2012 -- Spending 5 hours freezing 35 feet above the ground

Today was...not my favorite day in Antarctica to date. Our main goal for today was to try and figure out the relationship between where our star cameras are pointed and where the actual EBEX telescope is pointed in order to make it easier to find our calibration source in the early parts of the flight. In principle, this is simple -- take a bright mm-wave source and shine it at the telescope, try and find the center of the beam, and then take a picture of the source with the star camera at that position. In reality, it's complicated by a variety of factors, such as the offset between the telescope and star camera because our source is in the near field, the difficulty of finding the right signal level so as not to saturate the detector(s), and pointing the gondola outside in somewhat gusty wind conditions. Add to this the fact that I had to spend about 5 hours on top of a 35-foot boom lift in 30-degree (F) weather and you can imagine that I was pretty grumpy by the end of the day. add insult to injury, we weren't actually able to make the measurement we wanted to make due to pointing difficulties. So we're going to try it again tomorrow morning in what are supposed to be calmer conditions.

Michele returned from snow survival school last night having had a real test, staying out overnight in the snowstorm with 40+mph wind gusts. He spent today helping Andrei with mylarizing the large 'ear' sun baffles. Jeff and I head to snow school tomorrow in what looks to be much nicer weather. This means that there will be no update tomorrow.


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