Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Sharc

We've given up completely on the Heterodyne observations. We couldn't stay pointed on anything work a damn. So, we're trying out a different instrument - an imager (not a spectrograph) called the SharcII. It is analagous to a digital camera, only we're going to be using it a wavelength of 0.35 millimeters (a thousand times bigger than blue light). It's very cold - I helped one of the tecs put in liquid helium-3 (which is a lighter isotope and hence very good at cooling and also very expensive). I think it operates at about 4 degrees above absolute zero. Pretty cool. The nozzel froze a bunch of crap onto it which would boil when you blow on it..... Good thing we had gloves on. Anyways, at .35mm we're seeing things that are around 10K (-280C). At least this way, we don't have to worry about pointing. It was a total pain in the ass to start up though... we started at 5pm and now, at 9, we might finally be taking useful images..... maybe.

Here's tonights sunset in mp4 form. Let me know if these are better or worse than the .mov's...


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