Antarctic Astronomy Diaries 2003/04


05 December 2003
08 December 2003
11 December 2003
12 December 2003
13 December 2003
14 December 2003
15 December 2003
19 December 2003
20 December 2003
23 December 2003
24 December 2003
25 December 2003
29 December 2003
30 December 2003
31 December 2003
01 January 2004
03 January 2004
04 January 2004
07 January 2004
08 January 2004
12 January 2004
14 January 2004
16 January 2004
18 January 2004
19 January 2004
22 January 2004
25 January 2004
26 January 2004
27 January 2004
29 January 2004
30 January 2004
01 February 2004
03 February 2004

Tuesday, December 30, 2003


Today was a big "déjà vu". Eric was supposed to run two telescopes this
summer but early in the season a chip blew up inside one of the controllers.
If you have been following last years adventures, you will know I am
referring to a very similar problem we had with the Sodar. Since there are
two of these chips per controller, Eric ordered 4 from Christchurch in
New-Zealand just to be safe. This morning a Twin-Otter came from Mc Murdo
with a small package for Eric. He opened the package but found one chip
only. Anywhere else in the world, you'd call the supplier who would rectify
the error within a day or two. In Antarctica, this kind of mistake is more
severely punished. Anything we need to send to Dome C unmanned has to go
though Christchurch (or is usually purchased there), then to Mc Murdo by a
C130. This first leg is the easiest because flights are frequent. Then from
Mc Murdo to Terra-Nova Bay and that can take a long time because not many
people need to go between the two bases. Finally, it leaves Terra-Nova for
Dome C with a flight every week or so.

Indeed Eric was disappointed and started to pray the gods of electronics
that only one chip was damaged and that the other ones would hold on for the
rest of the season. The resemblance to last year's events became even more
obvious when Jacomo, the station electrician came and help us testing the
circuits. After 5 hours of brainstorming it was concluded that only one chip
was damaged and was promptly replaced. Unfortunately, the encoder of one of
the motor didn't work either. Jacomo took it and hopefully will bring it
back to life. In the mean time we are still working with one telescope.

In the evening I had the pleasure to screen "the castle", one of the eight
classic Australian films I took with me. Being one of my favorite film, I
was wondering how it would be appreciated by foreigners. This movie is full
of Australian clichés. Not the clichés known overseas like the Kangaroos or
the Vegemite but rather the domestic ones, so it wasn't clear that it would
be funny for a non Australian. I gathered a few English speakers and
launched the movie. It was fully appreciated, everyone laughed every two
minutes. At the end some people tried on an Aussie accent and some asked me
if there was a version in English. It's good to spread some cultcha!

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