Sunday, April 6, 2008

freeze, thaw, repeat

Well, today was one of the more frigid ones I've had down here. I spent a lot of my time trying to troubleshoot and prepare just a single new project for its operational debut this week. This involved a lot of use of tools like screwdrivers to get into the dome covering the instrument. The great thing about holding chunks of metal is that its higher conductivity of thermal energy ensures that whatever hand you're holding it in will get very cold really fast. Toss in some convective cooling due to the wind and you've got an even shorter time until your hands are numb hunks of meat. We certainly aren't getting any substantial radiative heating from the sun anymore, as it is even further below the horizon. Still, there has been plenty of light in the sky. We're even starting to get some actual stars now, and the Southern Cross is visible. This weekend we'll get to see some flares as the sun flashes off of Iridium communications satellites passing overhead in orbit about the Earth.

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