Antarctic Astronomy Diaries 2002/03

   

   
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Monday, December 09, 2002

A cosy life in the Eldorm

South Pole Report Tuesday December 10

Another perfect day at the Pole. 35 below, clear skies, minimal wind - you
must be getting bored of my weather reports by now! So perfect is the
weather that we are suffering badly from airplane-fog. 6 more flights today
(at least - I lost count) - they all got in. And as every flight took off
the exhaust around the contrail rapidly expanded to fill the sky. For 5
mins after a take-off the Pole would be enshrouded in a low-level fog,
almost blocking out the Dome from the AASTO. Obviously the particulates in
the exhaust from each plane were just right to seed cloud formation! With
the minimal wind we're having at Pole right now (must be close to Dome C
conditions!) this is all there is to disturb the air. Clearly we must ban
all planes from Dome C or we'll disrupt the observing - so John, Jon and
Tony get prepared to jump on the tractor once you disembark at Dumont
Durville!

The major events today involved Paolo, but I wouldn't want to spoil his
thunder by talking about the psych test he had to endure...

The pharlap-IP saga continued, and I know you are waiting on baited breath
to hear the outcome. Well, with all international link-ups made, the great
switch-back to the old IP address occurred. Michael Ashley, from Siding
Spring, then immediately went to work to update all the software, and, well
it mostly worked. However there was a glitch. But we were too tired to
sort it out - Michael having driven all day from Sydney to SSO, and myself,
monitoring it from the comfort of the Eldorm not wanting to trek back out
across the ice. So we've gone to bed, and await Paolo's arising in the morn
to reset a switch, and the final part of the great IP-saga will be
completed.

The Eldorm, what's that I hear you say? That's the luxury accommodation
I've been blessed to receive this year. Whether its because I've got a
special "V" event number, I'm not sure, but it's quite a step up from the
Jamesway and Hypertat I've had on past trips. A real building, with rooms,
a kitchen, 3 bathrooms (no more running across the ice in the "night"), and,
wait for it, internet connections to every bedroom! So while Michael Ashley
has been pounding the keyboards getting the software right, I've been simply
monitoring him from the comfort of my own room. So comfy indeed, that it
would have taken a real emergency to get me to trek across the ice to the
AASTO, which I can see quite clearly through the window 1 km away! There is
one downside to the Eldorm - its so nice, that they put three of you to a
room - but even that's better than the best you'll get at McMurdo!

Other than that, not too busy a day. We spruced at the webcams a bit, and I
spent an inordinate time digging a hole to put the thermometer in. Paolo
produced a masterful design for wooden boxes to send our equipment back in,
and as an aside got some vital calibration data with the SUMMIT sub-mm
instrument before we pack it off to Dome C.

Signing off.

Michael



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