[11/20(Mon) Opening the telescope]
8AM The inside of the telescope had cooled down to about 10°C, so we opened it up.
4PM As part of the Trauma Team, toured the South Pole Telescope constructon zone.
5:30PM Went w/ Pete to the Pole and the old Dome.
7PM Went to see the Cha Cha lesson w/ my Carhart overall and sandals, and there happened to be 2 girls and the one male instuctor, so I joined. It was fun.
Then played ping pong w/ Kiwon. He was good, but after couple games he seemed to have gotten tired because he hasn't been able to sleep well.
[11/21(Tu) Pete heads home.]
AM Analyzed my calibrator measurements to see if there are any strange detectors that we may need to replace this week.
11AM Pete is leaving today for home, so Kiwon and I ran back to barely catch him as he boarded the aircraft. Felt like I didn't get to work with him as much as last year, but it was cool to be the first crew with him again. He gives me a lot of energy as I try to imagine myself 50 years from now being as active as he is.
PM Took off the window and the filters from the telescope. The window I made seemed to be in great condition after a year of holding vacuum.
8-10PM Played volleyball and went to sleep ~11:30PM.
[11/22(We) Couldn't wake up!]
8:30AM Woke up once w/ my 6AM alarm clock, but fell back asleep. When I woke up again, it was already past the 8AM teleconference time! Turned out that the telecon had been cut off by the poor satellite connection by the time I tried to call in.
Especially after exercise like volleyball, I seem to not be able to wake up... I don't remember physical activities affecting my sleep... I must be out of shape :(
AM After this bad start of the day, I felt tired and somewhat unmotivated... I photo-documented the inside parts of the telescope and my window.
PM Drilled a screw hole in an internal shell to fix the parts more rigidly. Tried to trouble-shoot thermometers in the telescope that were not working.
7:30PM Our Trauma Team leader Aric proposed a meeting today, but only he, I, and one other guy showed up, so we postponed to next week.
8PM As I got ready to head to the lab, I ran into Joaquin, a graduate student at the University of Chicago who was at our lab in Berkeley to work on the South Pole Telescopem (SPT). He had just arrived that day with his team mates. I offered to show him our telescope while its inside is visible. I met his team mates, Tom, Jeff, and Kyle. Also with the principal investigator John and Steve, we walked by the cargo area to see the huge SPT mirror-support parts. Evan was at the lab, so we gave them a tour of our BICEP telescope. Jeff was unable to focus his eyes because of a side effect of the altitude sickness medicine Diamax! They all seemed very nice, and I'm looking forward to hanging out w/ them here.
11:30PM Went back to the station to sleep.
[11/23(Th) Couldn't wake up!]
9AM Once again I could not wake up til 9AM! Since I can fall asleep no problem, maybe I shouldn't block my window to make the room too dark. Or, maybe I'm just eating too much or something!
AM Drilled a bigger hole to the internal shell to fit.
Today, the Moon is supposed to reach the maximum altitude as seen here from the South Pole, but it was too close to the Sun to see. A few days ago, I had a dream of seeing the Moon, but I guess it was wrong :(
PM Took out the 6 Faraday rotator driver electronics boards. Turned out that the Faraday rotator device was not necessary for our telescope. It felt a little unfortunate, because I made the printed circuit boards to run this device...
Also made minor modifications to a 2 other electronics boards. I'm realizing that there are still so many aspects of this telescope that I don't know about. This is a good chance for me to learn about them.
8PM-Midnight After dinner, we worked on installing 2 new feedhorns (light collectors). We were relieved when everything seemed to have fit.
Right after dinner, I had hang all my wet loundry in my room (not using the dryer to conserve electricity). When I returned, my room felt very humid and a little stuffy. I thought the loundry would be a good humidifier in this very dry environment, but my room doesn't seem to have the best ventilation. I had to sleep with non-completely-dry sheets, but it was fine.
As I was going to sleep, I felt that I really should take advantage of this last chance to learn about the telescope while it's all taken apart.
6AM Finally I was able to wake up at a descent time (in time to make the breakfast).
I went to the lab right away and started studying our instrumentation paper to learn about our telescope by inspecting the actual hardware while things were still accessible. I learned about our infrared filters, liquid nitrogen tank, liquid helium tank, the cooler, etc. It was all very interesting, and felt better to understand the instrumentation more.
AM I was more motivated, but there were not as much things to do any more toward putting our instrument back together...
PM We put the detectors back into the shell and tightly sealed it to make sure no interference enters our detectors. We then put the internal elements together with the telescope.
8-10:30PM We felt good about today's progress and played volleyball. I was in a team of 3 against a team of 4, and played better than usual. Afterwards, we stuck around the gym shooting basketball. Despite his gentle and polite personality, Darren is very athletic. I feel bad about how much basketball skills I've lost... but then I just remembered that it was ~15 years ago that I played a lot and felt pretty good about my game. Wow, it doesn't feel like that long ago..., but no wonder my body doesn't remember much any more!
9AM After yesterday's exercise, I slept a lot again. Man, I hope it's not a sign of my age...!
Went to lab right away, and Darren had already put the filters and the window onto the telescope. Volleyball doesn't seem to affect his sleep!
We finished putting the telescope together and started pumping it down to vacuum. I was relieved that things seem to be working fine so far.
Kiwon videotaped our way back to the station, using a camcorder that Denis lent us.
5-8PM We had our Thanksgiving dinner. I borrowed the camcorder and became very interested in filming... if only I had more time! I decided to try recording from the time I wake up tomorrow.
[11/26(Su) Skiing :]
4:30 Woke up and set the camcorder on one corner of my room to film myself from the moment the alarm clock turns on. I filmed myself waking up, going to the bathroom and to the galley to get breakfast.
5:30 Also filmed myself putting on all the gears and walk to the telescope. Unfortunately the battery died before reaching our lab, probably from the cold. Inside the lab, I recharged the battery and viewed what I recorded -- made me dizzy because I moved the camera too much -- room for improvement!
8AM Today is Darren's last day! We went over the programming of chips in our electronics boards so that I can do it once Victor at Caltech sends me the codes. I've always wondered how to do this, but it seemed pretty simple. We also went over vacuum leak checking using the leak detector.
2PM After brunch, did my bathroom cleaning job even though my duty is on Monday. Must've been confused because yesterday (Thanksgiving Day) felt like a Sunday. I was wondering why my cleaning partner didn't show up...
3PM Chris was offering a lesson on the basics of Nordic cross-country skiing, so the SPT postdoc Jeff and I went. There was only one other person there, but it was really good. I had never done cross-country skiing, so it was awkward, but interesting.
4:30-5:30PM After the lesson, Jeff and I checked out with the station's communications epartment to go skiing along the skiway (for aircrafts, though no flights on Sundays). It was really refreshing to ski on the virgin snow away from the station. It was like skiing on whipped cream. I soon found my motion not too much different from that of walking, except with the glide of the skis. We went almost to the end of the skiway and headed back. I could begin to imagine Jim (Clash) skiing in to the South Pole from 100 km away last year, but with my current skiing skills I could not yet imagine myself towing 40 kg of food, tent, and everything.
5:30-6PM My original plan was to play the last volleyball game with Darren 3-6pm, so I rushed to the gym and played some.
7PM After dinner, played pingpong w/ Kiwon and Evan. Darren was probably packing.
[11/27(Mo) Darren leaves]