Tuesday, September 25, 2012

new personal websites

My preferred personal websites are as follows. I do not use my Blogger account anymore. Thank you!
Zak Staniszewski at Caltech

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Lets move to Flickr


So updating blogs is hard especially when you use blogger and it rearranges your pictures and messes up the text that you've written. I think I will be using flickr for now and we'll see how that goes. It may be more of a photo album than a blog, but anything is better than what Ive been doing the last month(nothng.)
So go chec out http://www.flickr.com/photos/zakatthepole/

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Winter is here...or The rest are gone

So it has been a very long time since I have posted, but I figured I would get going again now that I have had an evening off.

Since I last blogged we have had sort of going away party, finished handing off information to the witer crew and begun winterizing the telescope!

The biggest event in the last few days was seeing everyone off that isnt staying for the winter. The last plane in or out for 8 months came to pick up the rest of the crew on Sunay. Station population went from 250 three weeks ago to 120 a week ago to its final winter number of 54.

Here are some pictures of the last plane leaving.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

How the telescope works

So Ive posted some pictures of the outside of the telescope and a few pictures of what the South Pole looks like, but I haven't shown any of the inner workings of the telescope. This has been a very big week for us and we have done so much that I could post a hundred pictures showing all of the work that has been done. I think I will show the insides of the cryostats later.
The picture of the telescope to the left shows the big mirror and a large white "boom" jutting off to the side. This boom is what contains the secondary mirror and the camera. It is a warm room that actually docks onto the rest of the building so that we can work on the camera in a warm space. Light coming in from the sky will hit the big primary mirror and focus onto a spot on top of the boom where there is a window. The light enters the boom or receiver cabin through this window and then bounces off another mirror called the secondary. After hitting the secondary the light finally gets to the camera, or receiver.
The wooden building is an extension of our lab. On it is the sliding door that opens up this space for the receiver cabin to dock onto. The pictures here show the inside of the wooden structure and the receiver cabin. The cryostat that I worked on is below and contains the secondary mirror. The telescope has docked and we are opening the trap door. As of tonight the secondary cryostat and receiver are bolted together. We lifted them up into the space above the trap-door and bolted them as a test fit. The guy in the beard is a grad student at U-Chicago named Joaquin. Below him is one of the Professors from Chicago Steve Meyer. I have been working a lot with the two of them on the insides of the secondary cryostat.

We have just finished working on the insides of the cryostats. Those have been in the works for four or so years and are finally ready for operating in our telescope. Because work on the individual cryostats took so long to complete, we had never actually put them together and tested them as a unit. Here we are about to bolt the red receiver cryostat to the optics or secondary cryostat. We are working below the trap door, using its chains as lifts. The guy standing here is a postdoc from Berkeley named Brad. He designed and put together the camera, or receiver if you wish. Kneeling down is his advisor.
It is a pretty tough to see exactly what is going on here, but trust me...we were extremely happy to get to this point and the view was amazing for us. This shows the cryostats mounted together and lifted into place in the telescope. It is as if you were one of the people in the picture above looking straight up.

We thought we would be at this point a yesterday instead of today, but after working from noon to six a.m. we decided to call it quits. Then today we got any remaining issues taken care of and we got all of this stuff put together. We decided to reward ourselves with our two favorite past times, foosball and a sauna. Here we are tonight relaxing and celebrating. Note that Joaquin's beard turned into one great mustache. And, just in case you forgot what I look like I included a piture of me working on the camera part of the cryostat.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Here we call it the 10 meter

I have been at work for over a week here at the Pole. Mostly I have been in our lab space figuring out some issues with the compute stuff that I brought down with me. Soon I get to play with the big cryostat that I worked on all last year.
Here is a picture of when we first got off the plane and started walking toward the station.

Every day we walk over a half mile from our station to the telescope. I have been migrating from a day shift to more of a night shift the last few days and I like it quite a bit. The one problem is that we are all finding our own schedules and we can't seem to get together for foosball at the end of our work day.

Here is a group of us walking back to the station on a windy day. The temperature was only -10F, but the windchill has been up to -50 which really burns your cheeks. Especially if you are on a snow machine (south pole for snowmobile.)

The sun is still up all of the time here and it is quite bright. It has been very hard trying to take pictures when everything is completely white, but I finally got some pretty cool lighting by the telescope and snapped a few pictures. These pictures were actually taken at 10 p.m.

These are the first pictures that I have posted of the telescope and hopefully you can actually grasp the size of it. There are a few people in the picture for scale. Our main mirror is 10 meters and is by far the biggest mirror for our kind of telescope.

The part of the telescope that I helped design and build go in the "receiver cabin" which is the long white part of the telescope that juts out toward you and is below the mirror. The blue building to the right of the telescope is our lab which we share with the BICEP telescope people. Their telescope is on the far right of that building.

In three days I should have finished setting up my part of the telescope and will switch to working with the Berkeley guys again on the camera. The camera is the most technically difficult part of the telescope and I am supposed to be the guy who runs it after the big team leaves in a month.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Penguins on the coast

So McMurdo station is the U.S. base located on the coast of Antarctica. It is located at the same place where one of the first explorers set off to the Pole. In most of the pictures that I am posting, we are standing right near Robert F. Scott's hut which he used as a base before travelling to the Pole. The picture above is from Scott's hut and is of the town or base called McMurdo station.

After arriving at the McMurdo, we were pretty tired, so we basically just ate and went to sleep. It is fairly unusual to have a full day off there, but we did because there are no planes to the South Pole on Sundays. So we got to go hiking and penguin watching on our day off.

Even though the base is located on the coast it is unusual for people to get to see as many penguins as we did. It is such a great experience seeing such a cool animal in their natural environment. The were just coming back from a swim and they decided to hang out by one of the stations best lookout spots.

Me and a few friends basically just sat down and watched them for the better part of an hour. The are so funny to watch, especially when they try to run fast or when they scoot on their bellies.

I hope you enjoy the pictures.

At the South Pole

Quite a bit has happened since my last post. I actually arrived at the South Pole two days ago. I spent a day and a half on the coast of Antarctica before that and had quite an awesome time. In New Zealand I got to go on one of the most amazing hikes Ive ever been on. That is one of the hug perks of this work.

The picture here is of me boarding a C17 on the way to the coast of Antarctica. It was quite an amazing plane ride because it is such a huge plane and it is way faster than the C130 that I flew on last time. A short 5 hours and we were already in McMurdo, the U.S. coastal station.