Antarctic Astronomy Diaries 2003/04

   

   
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Wednesday, January 14, 2004

13-14/1



The A team arrived at 4pm. They came on a real diplomatic flight,
accompanied by 6 VIP guests of the Station. I had my video camera pointed at
the plane door as they all got out one by one. Jon and Colin were easy to
spot. Jon was wearing the same yellow suit he had last year and Colin had
one of the same orange color John Storey had last season. I guess I am the
only one of the group lucky enough to have been upgraded to black and green.
A lot of people had come to welcome the new comer, mainly because Mr. Jugy,
the director of the French polar institute was amongst the passengers along
with European guests of his. Their trip is very short as they have to go fly
back to Terra Nova the next morning at 7am. After a brief coffee break they
embarked in the tour of Concordia and the scientific experiments currently
operational. The AASTINO being part of their visit, I had two hours to show
Jon and Colin to their rooms (not too difficult since they are in my tent)
and Filled with hot coffee. We then drove to the AASTINO for a quick clean
up. I got Jon up to speed on the new things and Colin discovered the
installation for the first time. We fired up one of the engines which
started without problem. Eric, whose DIMM is also on the guests menu joined
us inside.



Soon after, Carlo the station manager reconverted as a tour guide arrived
with the group of six. I was wondering if the total of 11 people would fit
inside but after a bit of pushing and layering the door finally shut.
Assuming that all the guests were French, I started the visit in that
language. After my first sentence I was informed that one person was German
and another one Dutch. I therefore started again in English to describe what
our goal was at Dome C, describing our instruments one by one. I then let
Jon, who was standing at the other end of the building next to the engine,
talk about our method of automatisation. Being the only group of scientist
capable of making winter measurements before the opening of the winter
station the two of us had plenty of questions to answer, the scientific ones
being directed to me while Jon was asked the technical ones. After this half
hour tour (which I am pretty sure impressed all our guests), Eric lead the
group to the DIMM located less than 100m from the AASTINO. I joined him in
case there was again too many questions for a single man to handle. We all
climbed up the tower (which we now know can support at least 8 people and
two telescopes) and they all took turn to look through the DIMM while we
described the experiments. We didn't stay on the tower as long as we did in
the AASTINO because of the obvious 50 degree temperature difference but
everyone was also very happy to be able to see the experiment working so
closely.



At 7 o'clock a gigantic aperitif was served in the free time tent with all
sorts of petits-fours prepared by Jean-Louis for the occasion. Mr. Jugy made
a short speech in French which was then translated in Italian by Carlo.
Chiara finally gave us the English version that had lost about half of its
original content after the multiple translations. The dinner, which to Jon's
horror started by mushroom soup, continued to my delight by a green pepper
sauce duck magret, a treat that I have difficulty find in Australia yet is
readily available at Dome C.



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