> Hi everyone,
> With just one week to go 'till station closing, its time for a second
> We installed SPARO about two weeks ago (see attached photo).
> A few days later we scanned the Moon in R.A. at five different
> focus settings and thus established the focus to
> within about (1/4) inch. The best focus is attached. (can you tell phase?)
> We've now mapped RCW57 a lot, and started polarimetry of this source
> today. One map, with gaussian fit, is attached. The beam is smaller
> than I've ever seen for SPARO. Note RCW 57 is a somewhat extended
> source. Also have observed RCW 57 through a polarizing grid, which
> gives P~100% as expected.
> The chopper has been working flawlessly, but we nevertheless replaced
> limit switches per Bill's advice. The telescope motion has been
> nearly flawless - one snowy day it tripped its breakers a lot. The heater
> system is now keeping everything at exactly the right temperature. This
> has taken some work - Martin has been coding and downloading in Berkeley
> in the early AM when the satelite is up, and Mark noticed and fixed some
> dangerous bad electrical connections at the back of the mirror
> heater system that were causing trouble. but now all is good, except
> for one thing which is that the heater system's emergency notification
> system still doesn't work. But I think soon we will have this also working.
> Rebuilding the software systems we had in 2000 has been a challenge but
> Bob and Matt here at Pole and Greg in Virginia have finished this job.
> Acquisition and quick-look analysis working really well. Real-time
> pointing model still untested, but hope to get to that soon.
> We originally had two solutions in mind for the capillary-flow induced
> microphonics problem. One was to try to partially plug the capillary
> so as to put us back to the low-flow/low-microphonics configuration that we
> had in winter 2000. The other was to stop pumping on the pumped pot
> except during cycles. We adopted the second solution after
> verifying that the rise in detector temperature was modest,
> and the resulting loss is sensitivity is small and probably offset
> by the better duty cycle (e.g. faster cycles, faster telescope
> Winter-over training has been going well. Paolo has been doing all fills
> and cycles for quite some time now. Yesterday, we turned
> all power off to everything in the control room (except control, our mail
> server). Then we asked Paolo to find and map RCW 57, and we
> all went away. Paolo succeeded, for which he modestly
> gives the credit to our recent hasty efforts at documentation.
> (see acbar.spole.gov - user acbar - password *******)
> one job we have left is to retune the telescope servo. after thinking it
> over we have decided to go back to the servo settings used last winter
> rather than the ones Bill put in a few weeks ago. we have had a few
> minor problems tracking and are worried it could get worse in winter.
> we hope to make this change real soon.
> we also have lots of little upgrades and modifications that we are working
> on (see attached job list). we are about half-way done with these.
> the American Tern, with the 15,000 gallons of liquid Helium we need,
> has been sitting 25 miles from McMurdo for a week. the problem is broken
> up sea ice that has not blown out as hoped. the Polar Sea icebreaker
> is damaged and apparently not helpful to us. The Healy (another
> icebreaker) is on the way, and we are being told that they expect
> docking this weekend, and Helium transfers at McMurdo to begin
> Monday. The last thing Vladimir Papitashvili told us at the SPARO
> outbrief before he left was that "of course the South Pole must remain open
> until Helium arrives". I like that attitude in our NSF program manager but
> of course nature (in the form of ice at McMurdo and potentially dropping
> at Pole) can be a formidable foe. Keep your fingers crossed.
> Bob L. leaves Monday, Bob P. Wednesday, and Matt, Mark, Hua-bai
> and I will be staying through Friday.
> That is all,
SPARO installation (small image)
SPARO installation (big image)
Map of RCW 57