fredag 13 februari 2009

Exploring the surroundings

The last two days we've been busy setting up all the systems, installing software and pointing cameras... Here's a photo of the portable observatory, placed and pointed outside our building. Alvis and Blvis will be put next to it soon.

Dome set up for guppies (not there yet in the photo)

... so we decided it was time to take a break and try the skis we brought! Of course the weather didn't cooperate, when we went out the wind had picked up quite a bit... but that couldn't stop us! Apart from the wind it was a gorgeous day, and we had a really good time! We went across Toolik lake and up a small mountain on the other side.

View from just outside our building

Going on skis to the mountain on the other side of the lake
The wind made the snow blow around our feet in the same way as I'm used to from Svalbard.. There are no trees here either to stop the drifts. Going uphill and against the wind was hard work, but once we got up to the top it was really worth it! And going down was just brilliant! So was the sauna afterwards...

Our camp, seen from the top of the hill

Late in the evening we got some more company here, two other scientists arrived, and with them they brought Alvis!! Finally, now we have everything to set up the systems, I was particularly happy to find the inclinometer there, best thing there is! First thing tomorrow morning will be to put everything outside. I really hope the wind has died a bit until then, setting up Blvis outside in the snowstorm today wasn't very nice to do.
Today was Lemacher's 2nd day of their rocket window. We are going to track their TMA (trimethylaluminium) releases with the cameras from here, so we're on call when they drop their count to T-10 min. They will launch 4 rockets, with 15 minutes apart, and we're going to try to track the drifts of their TMA clouds. Since we still have a lot of work to do on pointing the systems and setting them up, I hope it will take at least one more day before any rockets are going into the air.. We need clear skies to be able to focus and point the cameras properly, and we haven't had that for a while. There should be some more activity tomorrow too, so we're hoping to see some more aurora from here then! For more news on the rocket campaign, have a look at

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