Antarctic Astronomy Diaries 2002/03

   

   
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Sunday, December 01, 2002

2. It's just a joke

2 Dec 2002 - Paolo G. Calisse, Christchurch, NZ

5:30 am : the alarm sounds
5:35 am : a collegue phone me and tell me the flight has been delaied till 9:10 am
9:30 am : the flight is definitively delaied to tomorrow.

Adverse weather conditions delaied the flight, and I can now relax for a while. I read email, browse the internet, make phone calls and study documentations.

I understand that a flight is scheduled for tomorrow to Terra Nova Bay by the Italian Antarctic Program. So, I meet everywhere my former country fellows in town and close to the Antarctic Center. The Italians get to Terra Nova Bay by a C-130 - the same 4-propeller military aircraft used by most of the Antarctic Program worldwide, to move people and large cargo down there. Unlike our own, managed by the NZ aviation, the aircraft is hired by the private South African company SAFAIR. Consequently, unlike the Kiwi one it is not painted by the usual "milirary gray", but, in the upper side, in clear white.

It is everywhere a nice chat. I have to explain what I'm going to do at South Pole, why I'm no more involved with the Italian Antarctic Program, describe my latest 3 years in Australia, but I also listen to interesting stories about various researches ran in Antarctica by various researchers.

One of the best aspects of the Antarctic travels is the possibility to meet a variety of researchers involved in the most different activities. Yesterday I got my dinner with a physicist from Boulder Colorado, Eyan, involved in the development of a new interesting camera for the AST/RO telescope. In McMurdo, if I will have enough time, I'll meet my former collegue Paolo De Bernardis and his group, involved in the second launch of the BOOMERAnG telescope, that gained the first page of the daily news worlwide in 2000, when data from the first launch were released.

In some sense it is like to be able to get directly into the page of an issue of Scientific American, and look to researches or field you will never get in contact in your normal life. Everyone is a friend, or at least a collegue interested in chatting about his work, and all the barriers that usually avoid to ask to an unknown person plenty of questions about him and his job evaporated like snow in the sun.

well, this is probably not the best analogy I could pick up... Evaporation doesn't look very efficient in the Antarctic sun!

Paolo

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