A week ago we removed the giant calibration mirror and modified the telescope for CMB observations. We got one new detector out of the five and Keck/SPUD is now mainly observing the dust in our own
galaxy and we are trying to figure out how much it affects our real signal. To find out more about check out this great BBC documentary.
The moon came up 6 days ago, and I tried to improve the "changing phase" time lapse from last year, but the weather is not cooperating and the last few days it's
mostly quite windy, overcast and now visibility of the moon. Unfortunate since that is really the only time of the year, this particular time lapse will work out.
But I just before the moon rose, I got a nearly 5 day time lapse of the the sun.
The sun is less than 1° above the horizon. Tomorrow night is the official equinox. We will see the sun (if it clears up) for a few more days, before it's gone for 6 months.
The sun is only 5.5° above the horizon, but it is the warmest winter beginning I have ever seen down here. Normally around mid February the temperatures go below -50°C, of course there are warmer days, but this year we haven't even reached -50°C yet, and we had quite a few days with temperatures just below -30°C. Of course it makes all the outside work that has to be done now a bit easier.
We also had the last Kenn Borek plane coming through for refueling on March 1st. They only stayed for less than an hour and were glad to get on their way to Rothera.
The telescope is still in calibration mode, but we should be done this week, that would be earlier than the past years, but that would be great, especially with the warmer temperatures, since it is a few days of outside work, to get the calibration mirror down and set up the telescope for CMB observations. So far we only had some minor technical problems and the telescope runs great after all the upgrades from the past summer - knock on wood ;)
Made it back to Pole on Friday night Feb 10 at 2300, a bit more than 24h in McMurdo, and 3 days delay in Christchurch, so I had 6 days of summer there :)
This year the telescope and lab were in a great state, thanks to all the summer people for their hard work. Last summer folks left on Wednesday and left 46 winter-overs for winter 2017 back at the
Just getting started to set up all my computer stuff etc. so soon more :)