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