Conditions Improving

I am halfway through our penultimate night and, as expected, the weather is still poor though much better than the previous night. In total it left about 2-3 feet of snow (Pic A) and for most of the day it looked as though the telescope would remain non-operational. Lots of ice had collected on the dish and the receivers. After about an hour into our scheduled run though, there was a short spell when the stars came out and the satellite images suggested the cloudy front had finally passed. The first thing needed was for the operator to get on the raised platform and knock off all the ice from the receiver (Pic B). They also heated the dish to melt the ice though this meant that our calibrations would be off for a while since the receivers basically work by measuring temperature differences. Anyhow, we got underway with some Blue Elliptical galaxies a bit later and I thought that things would pick up quickly. Unfortunately, more cloud soon moved in and it was very hard to get a good signal. I had to resort to pointing at Saturn for readings which is not ideal because Saturn is large compared with our beam and so its not great at calibrating the exact centre of the direction in which the telescope points. In any case, by the time we were taking readings it started snowing again and we had to shut down. Hopefully it will have cleared up by day break and we can get a few good readings in. I also managed to get a picture of Senor Zorro with the flash at a distance. If this isn’t the epitome of evil, then I’m not sure what is (Pic C)!

Snow, Icicles and Evil.

Pictures: (A) Snow, (B) Icicles and (C) Evil.

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10 responses to “Conditions Improving”

  1. Alice says :

    I’d have to classify both those eyes as star/don’t know!

  2. Graham Dungworth says :

    Very happy today to hear El Zorro and family is well fed. Great photos and news Daniel; thoroughly appreciated despite your sheer bad luck for viewing conditions.

    There’s webcam imagery of the locality at-

  3. weezerd says :

    I think I prefer Cat’s Eyes!

  4. Lee says :

    Please, please, please tidy up the rss feed. The massive pictures are screwing up my reader!

  5. Jules says :

    A visual astronomer would be in his/her element at having to “resort to pointing at Saturn”!! I do hope you manage to salvage something though – other than a long and lasting friendship with Senor Zorro! 🙂

  6. Alice says :

    Senor Zorro looks like he’s eating something on the ground in front of him. He must be doing very well. Next thing we know someone will be knitting him two pairs of socks to keep his paws from getting frostbite.

    I see the pictures as tiny and they stretch exactly across the screen when I click on them . . . 😮

  7. DanielDarg says :

    Senor Zorro was eating grilled Salmon in that picture chucked out after News Years Dinner. You have so much sympathy for him, but how many foxes do you know eating Salmon and drinking champagne?

  8. Graham Dungworth says :

    Bravo Daniel. Senor Zorro is a mountaineering hambre los pobros breed and deserves some luxury compared with his brethren down on the llanos. Would it chew up a sleeping bag or get the message and snuggle in like one of my cats?

  9. Mark says :

    Animals with night vision like the fox have mirror type reflectors in their eyes behind the light sensative receptor cells. This in effect doubles the amount of light seen then what is actually there because the light passes through the light sensative cells then hits the reflectors and goes back through the cells once more. I guess on the older telescopes that used film to record the light could have used this method to double the sensativity of the telescope. I don’t know if they actually ever attempted this or not.

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