Antarctic Astronomy Diaries 2003/04

   

   
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Sunday, January 04, 2004

Today I decided to put on my plumbing hat. The ventilation of the AASTINO
need to be redone from scratch so I gathered all my fans and PVC pipes and
started axing them in several bits of several sizes. It was particularly fun
because weather wise, today was perfect. No wind whatsoever and a mild -22C.
Just before lunch, I was so hot from the sawing of the pipes that I took
most of my clothes off and finished the job outside in Jeans and T-shirt.

As part of my daily routine, I went to check on the DIMM to see if t was all
working fine, but when I tried to re-center the star into the telescope, the
whole thing went berserk and decided to slew in the opposite direction. It
happens sometime because the telescope mount is of German type, which means
that it has several orientations to point to the same position. So as
regularly as Windows 95 crashes, the mount decides to move both its axes at
180 degrees. It's fine in theory but in practice that means that we need
spend an hour finding the star again. The rescue was worth it because for
the rest of the day, we measured resolutions that would put to shame the
telescope sites in Hawaii and Chile.

After this problem was fixed I went back to my pipes, getting the old one
off the roof with Eric's help. By dinner time I started getting dizzy from
the glue and was glad to leave the AASTINO for a while. After this interlude
Eric and I went to launch another balloon as we normally do. This time I had
the bad surprise to find the rope of the pulley all the way up the 30 tower.
So I had the pleasure to run up and get it.

I think it's time to keep you up to date with the baby-foot tournament. It's
about halfway now. The ranking so far is as follow:

1.. Strasbourg.
2.. F.C Roma.
3.. Olympic de Marseille

I think the Italians should be ashamed of themselves considering the only
two French teams entered in the tournament are in the top three (out of ten)
especially since they are playing on the Italian table and using Italian
rules. The French table which had suffered from the cold and was unplayable
had been fixed today. Thanks to whom? To the AASTINO of course! That's
right; the table mat was cracked so we ripped it out and replaced it with
some spare anti-static mat that we use on the desk and floor on the AASTINO
to avoid sending unwanted sparks into our electronics. Now people can play
baby foot safe from electrostatic shocks. Another great example of science
in sports!

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