Sunday, November 27, 2005

Four Postings and a Funeral

Hi guys, I just added a lot of content this Sunday. I had some free time and free time is not as easy to come by anymore. So, start at the bottom and work your way up.

Oh, and mom don’t get worried. Nobody has died (yet); the name of this post is just a pun on a movie title. I was being witty and poorly at that.

Working Hard

Finally, I am working again. By that I mean I really haven’t been for the last year or so. Not to say that I didn’t accomplish anything, I certainly I did some things that I am very proud of. Still, I guess the last year hasn’t brought me any closer to my goal of graduating with a Ph.D. in astrophysics.

Since Clem arrived, I’ve been busy. In the week that I was here alone, I messed around here and there with a few things, but I guess I didn’t really make any big steps, more prep for when he got here than anything else. Well, the last four days or so were long and productive. Our main goal right now is to replace the secondary mirror of the telescope with a new one. I explain (or will explain) this in some more detail in the other blog (A South Pole Adventure). Well, in order to properly install the new mirror, we have to make sure that we place it in the same location as the current one. This is not a simple task given the versatility, or lack thereof, of the foam cone mount. To further complicate things, the new secondary mirror has been fashioned in such a way as to counter an unexpected and unwanted warp in our primary.

In order to make these measurements, we are using a contact coordinate measuring machine, CMM for short and more aptly referred to as the “romer arm”. The romer arm looks much like an arm and has about the reach of a long human arm. At the end of the romer arm is a probe, in our case a ruby ball (made of real ruby for durability). The romer arm works by touching points on a surface with the tip of the probe. The (x,y,z) coordinates of the point probed are then recorded by the machine. Actually, the machine is a little more complicated than that; it really records the angles of the all the joints in the arm. Its kina like how in order to pick up a pencil, your brain tells your shoulder joint to rotate some amount, then your elbow, your wrist and finally your knuckles.

Here is a picture of the romer. It’s mounted upside down here in order to measure the bottom of a part of the telescope. We flip it around to get up into the mirror.

So, I had to climb up into the telescope with this machine, mounted on a special adaptor, and probe out a bunch of points on the primary and existing secondary to properly determine their separation and orientation. The opening in the primary mirror that I had to squeeze through was just a tad bit narrower than my shoulder width and I was standing at first on a 4x4 later on a plywood plank, 4 feet or so above the bottom of the telescope, more than 10 feet above the platform below the telescope. I’m afraid of heights, its true.

Clem went up first to give it a try.

The plank modification…

Measuring the secondary mirror…

Measuring the primary mirror…

Gratuitous photo of my handsome self…

My attempt to take a “scary” picture of myself. Later I realized that these days, I look pretty scary in bright light too.

Nobody else could possibly fit up there; most of those pictures were taken with a timer.

I have some data on the existing setup and probably will have to get a little more. Then the next task is to install the secondary mirror.

Thanksgiving Festivities

The morning of our Thanksgiving dinner this Saturday, I thought to myself, “What in Gods name is there to be thankful for down here”. I thought this as I stood about 6 feet above the platform inside the telescope, balancing on a 4x4 wooden beam, and half my body protruding through an opening narrower than my shoulder width through the center of the telescope main mirror. Its cold, its desolate, its lonely, I’m working on a weekend.

I managed to wrangle myself loose from the telescope around 2pm and head back to the station. After a one and a half minute shower and a fresh change of clothes, I was ready to eat some turkey. The dinner here was split into 3 seatings, 3:30, 5:30 and 7:30. This was mostly to accommodate more people than could fit into the galley. We were supposed to sign up for our seating about a week ahead of time. I squeezed Clem into the last 5:00 slot since he wasn’t here yet, and settled for 3:30 for myself. I think he appreciated it. Although it’s an early dinner, it turned out for the best. Two other graduate students I have become friendly with were also at this seating.

The galley was turned into an makeshift banquet hall, complete with string lighting, candles in wine bottles, white table cloths and a wine bar with proper stewards. Out in the hall a folk band played as we sampled delicious hors’devours; smoked salmon with herb cream cheese, a cheese platter featuring a fancy moldy cheese, baked bre, and a great artichoke dip. After a little socializing, we were escorted to our tables. I sat at the head of the table with the CMB crew, two grad student friends of mine to my right and three guys from the University of Chicago astrophysics department to my left.

The meal opened with a short welcome from the station director, with a very well deserved thank you to the kitchen staff. Then the science director from NSF, Valdamir, gave a toast to the station in broken English and a heavy Russian accent. It was hard to understand him precisely, but the gist of it was that we were all to be thankful for the accommodations we have in such a harsh environment and for the people who came before us that made it all possible. Then we ate. The food was awesome, roast and smoked turkey breast with stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, all the standards in all the right ways. A silky pumpkin pie topped off the meal and I was stuffed.

Dinner was followed by about 4 hours of standard South Pole Station activity, aimless and lethargic lounging around and watching movies or people doing nothing. I caught the last half of The Big Lebowski in the video lounge and then hung around the game room watching some guy slaughter everyone in his path, ala table tennis. The paddles were his weapons and he was ruthless. I talked to a few new people and made some friends I think.

Over the last 2 weeks, I have managed to become at least friendly with a number of people here. This is a difficult task since very little interaction is afforded between the grantees and the rest. Yet, I’m slowly beginning to develop a clearer picture of the demographics down here. There are more people here at pole that are involved in a non-professional capacity than I would have expected. A good number of them are here as GA’s, something I believe probably stands for General Assistant. They are here to do odds and ends type work for the season. I think for most, its something crazy and adventurous to do for a few months before moving on to a more career oriented path. Like a really nice girl I met last night named Jodi. Before pole she was a Habitat for Humanity coordinator in Fort Lauderdale. Now she told me she shovels snow and drives a shuttle here. When she’s done she wants to get a masters and become an educator.

Jodi and a few of her friends were headed to summer camp for a little more fun. You may remember “Summer Camp” from a few postings ago. They official name is the Jamesways, in honor of someone named James I think. Summer Camp is a collection of Korean War era military canvas tent-like barracks. Of course, these could only be used during the summer season, winter creep right through them. This is where most of the people here live, the ones who aren’t here for scientific research explicitly. Obviously then, its where most of the fun happens. Ed Wu, the other grad student on QUaD, and I headed over there around 9ish.

The Summer Camp lounge was way cool! It was inside one of these canvas barracks and was decorated modestly with a few old couches, a table tennis table and a makeshift bar.

After a failed attempt to join a table tennis game of 4, I parked myself at the bar. The bartender was a cool guy from Dayton, Ohio, a horrible place, by the name of Aaron. He was here for plumbing, but had studied automotive repair outside Chicago.

“So, watcha got back there barkeep?” I asked most honestly expecting some surprise!
“You can call me Goldie,” he replied donning a curly blond wig, contrasting nicely with his bushy brown beard, “and this here’s Goldie’s Bar. Tonight we’ve got two specials, which one you’d like, Jack or Shit?”

I was quickly reminded that beverage options at the pole were less than optimal. Yet, I was pleasantly surprised moments later with a very generous offer of 17-year aged single malt scotch! A truly rare find that was cleverly smuggled in against regulations by a kind fellow whose name escapes me now. I hung out at the bar a while longer than Ed who left before midnight. While people were friendly, I still didn’t feel comfortable enough to let loose and party. So I finally packed it in and headed home a little after midnight. Returning to Station, I found people still drinking and dancing in the galley.

“Hey buddy, we’re going sledding after this, you wanna come,” one of the stragglers offered kindly.
“Nah, I’m beat, I think Ill hit the sack early tonight, but you guys have fun!” I declined.
“Ok, man, take it easy.” He turned to his friend, “ … hey dude, lets go, but first we’ve gotta find some ladies!”

With that I walked away, not quite sober, definitely full and feeling little sentimental.

In retrospect, I guess I really do have a lot to be thankful for. This is certainly an interesting and unique experience. I’m meeting people I’d probably otherwise never be exposed to in a social setting. I’m living in perhaps one of the most remote places possible besides the space station. I’m participating in a science research project that’s unfolding yet a few more of the boundless secrets of our universe. Still, only after less than 3 weeks, I miss my home, my friends, my family, my turtle and my tsaritchka. I can’t wait to see them all again soon.

Hero Shot

Having finally made a friend or two, I got someone to photograph me. So without further ado, I present my interpretation of the gratuitous South Pole “hero shot”.

Thank You.

The End.

Notes from Underground, Part 1.

My dear reader, the last time I shared with you my explorations, they were of the surface. Now it is time for me to go underground…

‘I wanted "peace," to be left alone in my underground world. Real life oppressed me with its novelty so much that I could hardly breathe.’ – Fyodor Dostoevsky

I entered the tunnels through the silver tower stairwell on the east end of the new station, fondly and aptly dubbed the “beercan”.

The entrance to the underground was 2 stories or so below the surface.

I proceeded cautiously through the tunnels. Overhead and to my side were power and communication cables and pipes, some looked like water delivery and some looked like sewage. I had no idea where this was leading me!

Then something caught my eye … the pipes turned to my right and I noticed in the distance, a narrow entrance hidden from view, intriguing!

The door was marked with a stern warning prohibiting me from proceeding. I was alone, and the Danger sign seemed serious. As tempted as I was to sneak through, I erred on the side of caution. I know what you are thinking, where is your sense of adventure! Please, do not loose faith my friend, I’m going back!

Well, there wasn’t much more to see past the mystery tunnel. At the end of the service tunnel was a path to the dome and an exit through the maintenance garage.

Through this tunnel lies the dome. The orange building ahead is actually the gym. I wanted to take a few shots, but there were a few girls working out, and I didn’t want to seem like a perv.

This way leads back to the surface through the maintenance garage tubes.

Well, that was a bit of a disappointment for you I am sure, although plenty of fun for me to explore. Still, I don’t mean to disappoint, especially not you. So, I’m going back to the tunnel. I have heard some rumors that it leads to the rodwell, our source of drinking water. Apparently it also leads to the sewage dump, right next to the rod well. Good thing nothing outside stays liquid for very long.

Thursday, November 24, 2005


Happy Thanksgiving!

I added a new post to spadventure about the climate and weather at the South Pole. It was based on a science talk given here last weekend. Its not complete, but there is some cool information you might want to check out. Visit Antarctic Climate and South Pole Weather.

Also, I have been assembling panoramas little by little. I mentioned them in a previous post, but the link I provided was broken and the pictures weren't displaying when I tried them. I fixed this and now you can view the full size files at

Or you can check out these smaller versions with descriptions.

The view out onto McMurdo Sound, the ice runway is on the right. McMurdo sound melts in the mid summer season and allows for the passage of US Coast Gaurd ice breaker ships. Many of these are somewhat out of shape, so this year they will welcome a 50% larger Russian boat. McMurdo Sound is the port of entry from NZ and lies on the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf, which does not ever melt.

Another view from McMurdo, from atop a ridge, looking out over the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf.

A panaorama of the main portion of the South Pole Station grounds. I took this atop a giant snow pile.

This picture almost worked out, if it werent for the pesky French and German flags being in two places at once! I thought those guys worked this out already.

A view from out in the Dark Sector where MAPO is located. The Dark Sector is called that because its the part of station that is supposed to be isolated for the best Astronomical research environment.

Tons of stuff has been going on around the telescope. I have pictures of that and the rest of the grounds that I still havent posted. Ill try to get that on tonight, along with a posting on spadventure regarding the QUaD telescope. Oh, and in case you were worried, Ill be having turkey and fixins on Saturday (tomorrow). Have a Happy and Safe Holiday with your friends and loved ones!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Antarctic Splendor

Today I made progress. Well, at least progress for me. I am currently trying to mount a distance sensor inside the telescope to measure our mirror separation. While analyzing some data from the sensor I realized something very interesting about it. The way the sensor works is by measuring the reflection of sound pulses off of some target. The travel time of the pulse, plus the speed of sound in the air, gives you the distance. The speed of sound is sensitive to the temperature of the air. So this device is designed to measure the temperature and adjust. Yet, if the air temperature varies rapidly, the sensor does not equilibrate fast enough and produces some error. For temperature changes due to the weather, this shows up as a drift in the distance measured on the timescale of hours. If the change were due to air turbulence in the line of sight between the sensor and target, this would result in rapid fluctuations and a spread in the position.

So, I thought all the noise in my data was due only to the air turbulence. What I discovered today though, was that while this was still true, my sensor was actually measuring 3 different points, each with their own spread, that appear to blend together. I’m not sure what to do now, but at least I’ve made progress! Anyway, that was boring.

A very funny thing happened today, well funny in a South Pole sort of way. After dinner I went to the store and picked up a movie to watch tonight, American Splendor. As I made my way back to my room, I decided to peek into the lounge and see if anyone was watching a movie in there. There was only one dude, a nicer older guy, and he appeared to watching something reminiscent of a Jane Austen novel. Well, I was drawn in for about a minute due to some sexual tension in the film that might have yielded something interesting.

(ahem … I don’t know how to do dialogue well, so bear with me …)

“So, whatcha watching here?” I say to the dude.
“Hmmm, you know, I don’t know. I came in and it was just playing.” He replied, himself confused. “I was just waiting for it to heat up!”
“Ha, me too!” I laughed.

Well, it turned out to be a bit of an oddball British comedy; sort of mocking the Jane Austen genre. It was about an upper class degenerate British family in the early 1900’s vacationing in Italy and India. The daughter sleeps with the servant, gets pregnant, almost marries an obviously homosexual family friend, but the servant interrupts at the last minute and wins her hand. Blatant sexist, classist and mildly racist humor chalk full of good ole British wit.

Ok, so that’s not the funny thing. The funny thing is that one at a time; these big smelly dudes start filing in and getting all into it!

“Hey, whatcha guys watchin?”
“Um, we don’t know, its British.”
“Oh, huh, whats happenin …”
“The girl thinks she’s preganant”
“Oh, but its not his?”
“It is, it is … shhhh!”

HAHAHAHA. Man, it was great; everyone was laughing at this totally absurd silly romantic comedy. In the end, we checked the movie title (only after rewinding … it was a VHS cassette), “Stiff Upper Lip”. HAHAHAHA.

So I also walked through these creepy tunnels the other day and still haven’t mentioned them or posted pictures. I will, but not now. I’m tired.

Oh yeah, American Splendor was a really really really good movie. I’ve seen a lot of good movies lately, but this one stands out. It’s about a regular guy.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Sony DRM Software and you

ok ok ok,

I know this post and the last have little to do with the South Pole, Im sorry. As soon as things pick up down here, Ill get back to business.

Anyway, definitely go check this out ASAP,
the link came way of my brother, Misha.

Now, I know most of you are smart enough to have found ways around ever buying a pop music CD again anyway, or dont listen to stuff that would involve this issue. Nonetheless, Its pretty messed up! I for one, will never buy another sony product again, at least until there is some official appology. Its one thing if they make it explicit through press releases and product packaging, but this sort of cladestine consumer control is rediculous.

In other news, Clem's flights out of Christchurch were turned back 2 days in a row due to bad weather at McMurdo. So, he's not even on antarctica as of this post. I am trying to remain productive in spite of his absence, but am beginning to get anxious. Who would have ever thought that I would be anxious to see Clem again ;)

Sunday, November 20, 2005


So, there is a very interesting article in the NY Times today about genetic prenatal testing, abortion, and human selective genetic modification.

Although, as it states clearly, we are not yet at a point where embryos are being engineered, genetic modification is now a reality through prenatal testing and selective abortion. This cuts very deep into social ethics and the future of man. I don’t have much time to elaborate on the subject, or be eloquent with my thoughts, but here are some brief comments. The article avoids much discussion about abortion rights, or the ethics of aborting purely out of preference, so I will too. The main points as I see then are two-fold.

First, the popularization of prenatal testing followed by selective abortion paints a bleak future for disabled people currently fighting for social acceptance and scientific research into their conditions. A marginalization of the disabled population is inevitable given new social attitudes towards the very necessity of the existence of such a population, and through the gradual decrease in the percentage of the very people that make up this population. On both points I agree and am also concerned. It is important that no subset of our society is made to feel obsolete or unaccepted. Of course, unfortunately we still have much progress to make in order to make this true today anyway.

Second, the use of selective abortion based on prenatal test results leads to less genetic diversity and a less varied population, which is a bad thing for our future. I’m not sure if I totally agree here, I would think in some cases yes, but in others no. It may be an ignorant assumption, but I would suspect that in less favorable circumstances than those that are afforded in modern times, the disabled population would find it much more difficult to survive and have families. That is to say, it is the benefit of medicine and modern social attitudes that may allow the disabled population to thrive. Now this is a thought I have had in the past and is somewhat relevant here. Isn't the use of medicine actually very dangerous to our evolution as a species? If we find cures to diseases and disabilities through artificial means, doesn’t that undermine our species ability to cope with those diseases or disabilities through natural selection?

Well, I think I have entered very dangerous ground here, and I don’t want to make any inflammatory or ignorant comments (maybe too late). Like anyone else, I care for my family and friends and would do anything within my means to make their lives comfortable through the benefit of medicine and social acceptance. I am a selfish human like us all! Oh and the title is a reference to a not so amazing movie that I still love anyway. It’s about genetics and space exploration ;)

My Weekend’s Over

It’s about 10:50 on Sunday night down here, and of course the sun is still shining bright as noon. I’m in a bit of a sentimental mood, just watched “Legends of the Fall” for the first time. Now I’m drowning my sorrows in a cup of Celestial Seasonings Sleepy Time tea listening to Neil Young.

So, I guess life down here has settled into a routine. I can breathe, I can sleep, and I can get dressed to go out in under 5 minutes. I’ve decorated some, a couple of pictures of Zarah on my wall and one of my pictures from the Botanical Gardens; green is amazing. I’ve managed to do a little work here and there although I’m still waiting for Clem to arrive, my advisor and overlord. He’s due in on Tuesday. A delay is not unlikely as temperatures here have dropped about 20 degrees from the beautiful -20’s we enjoyed on Saturday, the winds kicked up too, close to 20 knots and you can see the wind blown snow like fog on the horizon.

So, this weekend proved interesting, mostly because of the shipment of booze that arrived on Saturday and went on sale that night. Like everything else down here, it was rationed out. A resident of South Pole station is allowed 1 bottle of hard liquor, or 1 six-pack of “fancy” beer or 2 six-packs of the “not so fancy” beer. I’m no lush and I’d like to think I have a little class so I went with the six of Bass, my fancy pants allowance. Very reasonable prices I must note. My Bass set me back $7, but the real steal was the Captain Morgan at $10.

Now, we are all aware of the vast wonders of intoxication, I sure am. Yet, the term “social lubricant” became freakishly obvious to me as the station started to throw a few back. Not that this is an unfriendly place; I wouldn’t say that. People are generally friendly here. Still, the normal socialization level here isn’t exactly that of an MTV Spring Break house. Most people work long, cold, hard days here. When they get in, its for food and rest. Well a few drinks in and people started chatting, laughing, flirting, running around, and dancing. For a few hours last night, I almost forgot I was in the middle of a vast and frozen hell.

We were all gathered in the galley. They were screening some films that station residents had filmed in the past 2 years as part of the annual film festival (now 2 years running). It was meant to inspire people to get involved this year. Man, there were some crazy films. Someone had the stroke of brilliance to remake “The Red Balloon”. Amazingly done, the red contrasting so well against the striking white and blue background.

It was fun really. I met a cool dude from Montana who was working as a carpenter here. He actually came down on the same flight from McMurdo as I did. I actually remembered him because he wasn’t wearing his fleece hat like all the rest on the plane. Instead he replaced it with a really nice black cowboy hat. I told him about how much I loved camping in Glacier National Park with my sister a few years back (can you believe how long Jenya?) and how Steinbeck had called Montana the “Crown of the Continent”. I think it got to him.

Sadly, I didn’t anticipate the magnitude of the event and left my camera in my room.

Needless to say today was a quiet one, some recovery necessary from the night before. The natural dehydration from the climate doesn’t exactly mesh well with the induced dehydration from alcohol; I woke up with cotton in my mouth and sandpaper on my lips. I made some really cool panoramic pictures today by stitching together a number of photos from the last few days. You should check them out at, they should be up by the end of the day. Some are better than others. I am particularly proud of the one of the station.

I took that one on a walk Saturday. I managed a snowmobile ride from MAPO back to station so I had some extra energy to spend. I walked all the way out to the limits of the station. I have no idea what direction I was going, since technically every way is north and I have no idea how they reconcile that here. Anyway, the way I went was past some construction shops (carpenter, electrician, etc. headquarters) and then a huge cargo area. The cargo “berms” were ridiculous. Huge stacks of lumber, old equipment from now decommissioned experiments, new equipment for those just starting; I’d estimate it being a quarter mile square. I stopped when I reached the satellite communications radar facility, a huge white sphere that looks like it’s a prop from Spaceballs, and turned back. As usual, I took plenty of pictures, so here is a sample.

My first stop was the old station, under the Dome. The buildings under the dome are ~20 feet below the snow.

Being inside the Dome was pretty cool actually, although I have to admit it doesn’t really come out that well in pictures.

On the surface, walking around the station grounds is a little treacherous. People are constantly whizzing by on snowmobiles and it’s really a big construction zone here, not to mention an airfield too. Here is a bulldozer dragging a sled to “pave” the snow.

I absolutely loved this when I saw it. If you didn’t notice yet, the buildings here are a bit too functional. I really liked these guys’ sign … if you cant see, it reads “South Pole Electric, 1st .. and only.”

So I have no idea what berm means, but I guess it’s the dry land equivalent of dock?

These berms go on forever with so much stuff! I couldn’t fit it all in on picture, but here is an idea.

The end of my walk was the satellite radar facility on the right. The arch on the left Is a shelter for vehicles on bad weather days.

I guess, these guys have a little good humor in them, although there is something a little twisted about a scrap metal Christmas tree.

Finally, this is where the hard-core people live. Its called “summer camp” since living inside these canvas covered barracks would not be possible during the winter here. Of course none of the geeks live here; we get the cushy accommodations. Well, I’m not complaining.

I’ve also managed to watch some great movies the last few days; Cool Hand Luke, The Good the Bad and the Ugly, Crash (last half), 9 to 5, Legends of the Fall. I have to recommend The Good the Bad and the Ugly. It’s absolutely amazing. Ok, time for bed.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Moving About

First of all, good news! I finally got a towel today and I'm gonna take my first shower in 4 days. Now, I know that sounds totally gross, but its not my fault. We were told when we first arrived that we were only allowed 2 2-minute showers a week. So, I figured I would take showers every 3-4 days right. Well, I just learned yesterday that this really means 4 minutes a week, so I can take 4 1-minute showers! Its doable, turn the water on to get wet, turn it off and soap up, turn it back on and rinse. Also, I forgot to pack a towel, so I had to buy one today.

Secondly, go right away and check out my South Pole Virtual Tour on the other blog.

Thirdly, I made it out to the telescope the last 2 days. The first day I was still very tired and woozy, so I didnt accomplish too much. Yesterday was a much better day and I was finally feeling like myself again. I went out and did a number of things. Most fun of all, I got to climb inside and around outside the telescope. During the summer here we have to cover the foam cone on the telescope in order to prevent damage from the very intense sun. For some reason, the cover had blown or fallen off, so with the help of John Kovac (one of the guys who worked on DASI, the original telescope) we put it back on.

In case you have no idea why I am here, let me give you a quick explanation. For the last 2 years, I have been working off and on with the telescope QUaD. This telescope is designed to measure microwave radiation from the early universe. The pattern of this radiation is very interesting. We see microwave emission coming from all directions on the sky, surrounding us, all at almost the same temperature. This tells us that at some point, the universe was very smooth and matter was evenly distributed. If it were perfectly smooth, then there would be no seeds for the structure we see today (such as galaxies and stars) to grow from. So there must be some small deviation from smoothness. In fact, we see this very small deviation when we look very carefully. QUaD is designed to look about as carefully as anyone has yet. The acronym QUaD stands for Quest and DASI. Quest is the name of the receiver and DASI was another microwave telescope that was here a few years ago. QUaD is the synthesis of these two instruments. Here is a picture of the telescope, taken last year by someone else on top of a crane …

There are a few details in this picture. First there is a giant metal mirror looking dish. This is not actually part of the telescope, it is a “ground shield” that deflects stray radiation from the receiver and blocks ground contamination, radiation emitted from the ground. The actual telescope is the green and white box in the middle, with a metal dish on top covered by a white foam cone. The dish is much like a satellite dish outside someone’s home. It has a main dish, and then a secondary mirror suspended above it by the foam cone. My main contribution was the foam cone! I helped build it during the summer of 2004.

Now, here are some pics of me running around the telescope!

This is a reflection of me from the mirrored surface of the ground shield. You can see me in all my gear, and the telescope in the background.

That’s me looking triumphant in front of my baby!

John Kovac trying to get a picture of the inside of the telescope through a small opening on the top. Incidently, the telescope is pointed at the horizon here to make it easier for us to cover it.

John had to climb up on top of the thing to throw down the cover so I could wrap it around. I had to cede the cool jobs to him, he built most of it before I even applied to grad school.

Now some gratuitous shots of me frozen …

So yeah, make sure you check out my South Pole Virtual Tour on the other blog if you haven’t already. Its way cool! Im gonna go take a shower now, bye.