Thursday, December 20, 2007

Maui Damage Assessment

I spent the day doing a "damage assessment" on the spectrograph over on Maui. It wasn't really classified this way, but Maui was hit by a hurricane last week. The winds on the island were clocked above 70mph sustained, 4" of rain per hour for several hours, and massive damage all over. On the summit, our gagues clock-out at 122mph and they were all spiked high. I've heard estimates of 150mph for a significant period. The metal grates people walk on around the telescope (the catwalk) were blown off. Solid metal grating.... no surface area.... blown off.... The big problem was the high-voltage line snapping and sending a giant surge through the site. Some buildings had most of their hardware totally fried. One generator burst into flames. It was a giant mess. My observing run this week was totally canceled and I might not be able to go again until the end of January. Point being, we expected a lot of stuff to be fried so we went up to check the spectrograph.

I left on a 7am flight and headed up the mountain with Jeff, John, and Les. The totally amazing thing is that everything works fine. Aparently, most of the hardware at my building was pretty well insulated and didn't see any surge. So we spent the day trying to install some new electronics and testing a new $10K camera.... At least something went well....

And then on the way back left my camera somewhere (I think in the taxi), so now I'm out a camera and a bunch of other stuff. Dammit. I'm getting forgetful and I don't think it's age..... Losing $800 worth of electronics is never fun. That's a paycheck. Oh well. I'll just work on my thesis some more and pretend I'm not sad.


Post a Comment

<< Home