Friday, April 1, 2011

Happy April 1st!

Twas the last night of March & all the astronomers were bored...  SALT was offline to let Charl finish some final payload re-wiring & a poor unsuspecting spectrograph sat quietly awaiting its turn to catch the dome crane home...

Following an after-dinner dash into town for supplies, we desperately needed helium & figured the super-conducting gravimeters were our best bet.  Great standby support from a local tech got us into the building & pretty soon the 20 balloons were rearing to go.  Sadly, one of them didn't Quite make it to the car & so, Potsdam crew, please ignore the large spike you'll find in the 31 March data!  Satisfying as the helium acquisition was, the real challenge lay ahead: wrestling the 19 independent-willed beasts into bunches (in the car), & tying them together with fine thread to ensure safe relocation & eventual deployment in the spectrometer room.

Inspiration struck & soon snowballed...  The helium balloons are sure to do the trick & save us from needing a whole tracker upgrade before we can host the new Near Infrared arm of RSS.

Thanks to Perlman's for the Amstel banner - "Slow Brewed. Extra Matured" really does capture the essence of this particular instrument! 

This afternoon David came in & found the new Astronomer Hat - he was instantly taken with it!

Eventually we decided that it was time to clean up "the mess we'd made", but Tech Ops showed their softer side & asked for the eyes to be put back...

Note to Astro Ops: from now on, the duty SA will be required to wear the official Astronomer Hat, so that there can be no doubt as to who's in charge up here when the lights go off.  Thank you to our 3 distinguished models for showing us the way!

PS: not to worry - a grey beard's not strictly essential...

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