onsdag 18 februari 2009

Lehmacher rocket launch!

Last night was a busy night! It got cold (-30C) and clear, so we took the opportunity to focus our cameras and check with stars where they were actually pointing (instead of trusting my compass that confused us a long time until I realised I was also carrying the inclinometer which has a magnetic base in my pocket...) We were in the middle of fiddeling with our cameras, when we got the information that all stations had clear skies and the Lehmacher team were about to launch their four Turbopause rockets! And at 1 am they launched the first one! We tracked it with the guppy cameras, and checked in Alvis if we could see it there (we haven't gotten the Blvis camera to work quite yet). We quickly adjusted the pointing position for Alvis, so for the second, third and fourth rockets we got the TMA release in all three cameras! You can see a photo from the guppies here:

We were standing outside, looking at the rockets too, that was cool! While doing that, we had some aurora to the north of us.

The problems with the Blvis camera have been bothering us for a couple of days now. We have software to run it both in linux (preferably) but also windows, and switching between the two means taking monitor and keyboard outside... standard procedures for arctic scientists of course!

Starting up the Blvis computer in the right mode.

We're still working on the problems, but today we're a bit limited by the snow blizzard that is passing by. I tried changing some lenses and filters already today, but gave up when the big lid with the dome flew off in the wind! Fortunately nothing was damaged, but it was a struggle to get it back on again. Opening the lids to the other boxes also means letting lots of snow in, so we decided just to leave things as they are tonight... we are not going to be able to make any observations from here anyway.

Then there was the problem with our sealed window.. We have to have cables coming through an open window, and this we had sealed properly, we thought. Until we started to get winds at 55 mph... all of a sudden our 'wall' blew in, and wouldn't stick back there again! After two hours of fighting we went to get help from Fay and Joe. Joe, Tobbe and me managed to put plastic around the window from the outside, and then piling up things in front of it indoors, as you can see...

Trying to seal up our window with cables pulled through

So that should keep it closed for the night!

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