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July 15th – Day 238 on Ice

Headlamp beam after checking the telescope boom for snow. The moon lights the horizon behind SPT. PC Aman Chokshi

Photo Dump!! (most/all of the pretty photos you’ll see here were taken by Aman Chokshi – my fellow SPT winterover)

According to Googling “Days since April 17th” it has been 89 days since my last update.

I must admit, it’s nice to not have to worry about updating this thing but I think it’s been long enough. So here goes…

Since last update we’ve surpassed the mid-winter solstice (June 21st), which means the Sun is on it’s way back! Slowly but surely. We have had a very windy/cloudy year for the most part but there were a few days of clear and calm in there. We had some amazing auroras early on and some crazy temperature swings (clouds and winds brought 40 degree swings in a few hours!).

Walking to the telescope. PC Aman Chokshi
Not a bad place to work. Checking the boom for snow under the Milky Way. PC Aman Chokshi

We have also had the annual Polympics events which generally lasts 10 days and consists of various sporting events. This year I put together the Decathlon, which consists of 10 events, each of which is to be performed outside in full ECW. These events include 100M, 400M and 110M Sastrugi Hurdles, High Jump and Long Jump, Frisbee Discus, Flag Javelin, Kettleball Shotput, Hill scramble and a 2km Ski.

I also put on a floor hockey event. Along with those, I performed in a crossfit competition, played Basketball, pickleball, soccer, volleyball and have a tetrathlon coming up later today.

Part of the crossfit competition, this event consisted of hand-release pushups and bar-over-head lunges.
Volleyball!! PC Tim Lynch
Flag javelin; part of the Decathlon. PC Aman Chokshi

We also hit the benchmark temperature of -100F yesterday! Unfortunately the wind was still rather high so the windchill was -144F, making for a pretty unpleasant outside experience.

Other than those activities, I’ve been working a lot (or at least trying to). The good satellite comes up at 0230 these days, and I’ve been following the schedule. Trying to decide when to switch and stay up late instead of get up early… it’s getting harder with sports and social events still on the normal schedule (usually starting around 7pm). We shall see. At least the satellite time is getting to coincide with the Eastern time zone work day, which makes things like having zoom meetings easier.

I’ve been doing a lot of data analysis for my thesis, and a little bit of writing here and there. One main project I’m working on is searching for deep solar system objects (out beyond the orbit of Neptune). I’m also working on analyzing the bright asteroids which moved through the SPT-3G observing field sometime in the past 4 years. In a completely different regime, I’m also looking at the variability of active galactic nuclei, to try and better understand the physical processes which contribute to the generation of the highly variable jets we see. I’m also keeping track of any flaring transient events which SPT happens to see while observing the main CMB field. Since the data takes a while to transfer north, I get first dibs on any exciting events!

I think from here on out the winter is pretty mundane. There aren’t many big things to look forward to (except for sunrise, which will be in ~2months!). The winter is flying by and of course there aren’t enough hours in the day. I’m still excited for the summer to hopefully see some old friends and stick around helping out for a while. It will be a nice break from the usual grind of getting up at 2am and sitting in front of the computer all day.

And with that, I just realized I have another bug in my automated transients pipeline … time to get back to work!


4 thoughts on “July 15th – Day 238 on Ice

  1. Allen : glad you are getting some work done and keeping crew active. Also responding to interesting challenges in deep space!


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