Sunday, October 26, 2008


Here I am in Fairbanks, Alaska. I flew in on Friday afternoon (well, it took 12 hours to get here...) and flying back tonight (Sunday night). We are installing a Fabry Perot Interferometer, which measures the winds in the upper atmosphere (250 km altitude). It does this by looking at the doppler shift of the light emission at 630 nm, which is where Oxygen transitions from an excited state to the ground state.

Above is a picture of a radar that is encased in a building. They do this because the wind can push the radar around and make it so you can't point it where you want it to go. I thought it was cool because it completely blocks the sun, which only rises about 20 degrees about the horizon. The temperature here is a little low. It is Fairbanks, after all. I think that when this picture was taken, it was about 5 degrees out. Earlier, when we were leaving the house, it was about -15. That isn't overly cold, but it is shocking when you are used to 40s and 50s.

This picture shows the FPI being lifted up to the platform in the high bay room where we mounted it. The black thing that looks like it has little wings is the FPI. The wing things are there so we can do different filters (i.e., look at different wavelengths).

This is the FPI attached to the pieces of plywood that are supporting it.

From the floor you can see the jumble of wires and crap that make the FPI work. It is pretty amazing, since the thing is a relatively simple design. There is a lot of "support" pieces that go along with it, which complicate thing a bit. Heaters and lasers and sky-scanner boxes, and all sorts of other stuff.....

This is a view from inside the dome. The FPI looks out into the sky, so you have to have a clear dome. I stuck my head up an took a picture, and this is what I see.

Ok, it looks like one of the guys that I am working with fixed the problem that he was having with the software (wrong camera setting!!!), and so I have to go back to work.

I'll be back in Michigan in about 19 hours!

Before I go, here is a lovely image showing just how crazy wife is.... If you get one of these for Christmas, don't say that I didn't warn you....

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