Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Fried Camera?

An hour before I was supposed to be on the sky (using the telescope) around 1am Wednesday morning, I noticed that I couldn't get the shutter to work on the Pixis camera I've been using (as a spare). After some testing, and noticing a really horrible smell, I took off the front cover and found a bunch of goo around the solenoid that opens the shutter.

I called the east-coast manufacturer around 4am (9am EST) and found out that these solenoids fry sometimes. Notice the raised ring in a flat piece near the middle of the image? I thought that was normal but the solenoid had melted this ring as it cooked. Damn.

So, this little piece of metal is keeping me from using the $3000/hour telescope time. The company was awesome though - it's shipping me overnight a "spare" that I can use while they fix it, and they're sending somebody in over the holiday period to do the fixing. Sweet. The stars I'm watching are setting 4 minutes earlier every night, and while that seems small, every week I get one less data-set to argue about. And what is academic life but sitting around arguing about what your pictures mean? If I don't have pictures to argue about, I may as well be doing something else and getting paid real money to do it.......


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