IRAM 30m – 30mm Under!
We’re almost 30 hours into our observing run to examine “Molecular Gas in Merging Spirals” and virtually the whole time we’ve been shut down due to weather! Tonight we’re expecting 3cm of snow which is great news for the skiers (who seem to be enjoying perfect blue skies during the day) but disastrous for detecting CO gas from galaxies. IRAM can see through some cloud, but when the air is completely saturated with water there is no possibility of getting a clean signal. The most exciting thing to happen so far occurred last night (New Years Eve) when I left a small bottle of champagne outside in the snow to chill it for midnight GMT. When I went out to fetch it though, I found it had disappeared with a set of fox prints leading up to and then away from it! Tonight at dinner the fox (“Zorro” in Spanish) came by the dining room looking for food (the IRAM staff treat them as pets and feed them often) though I reckon it was after more of my champagne. (Pictures to follow soon – I forgot my USB cable).
Since tonight was the last night we were scheduled for the mergers, we’ll have to reapply to come back later on this year! Tomorrow we shift projects to the Blue Ellipticals thought the forecast isn’t good so we’ll probably be seeing more of IRAM soon. Great start to 2009! (Next time I’m here I’m bringing a foxhound).
Update: Pictures of the Fox, and snow on the dish: