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Vulcan South Operations

Winter 2005

Satellite visibility at the South Pole limits communication access to less than 12 hours per day, forcing us to schedule maintenance and upgrades accordingly.

1 July 2005 - We're taking data 24/7 now! We are still experiencing some camera problems, but are hoping they can be compensated for in the data analysis. Hopefully you'll be able to read about the details on the Science page soon.

15 May 2005 - Dana managed to fix the problem we've been having getting the camera to start. He took apart the entire controller, checking all the connections and components. He found one bent pin, and one bad capacitor. After fixing these and cleaning all the connections, he re-installed the camera and it started-up on the first try!

2 Apr 2005 - We've been having intermittent camera problems, but during a particularly long working spell, Dana managed to focus the camera and capture a wonderful shot of the station in twilight as seen from the SETI telescope. If you look closely you can see that we caught someone looking out the window!
CCD image of dome

8 Mar 2005 - After a successful deployment, we're almost ready to begin operations. The camera is working again and the Gmount is working in azimuth-only mode. We've made a fix to allow the Gmount elevation axis to move in open-loop mode, which we'll test in the next few weeks. We're also working on a few software issues to be ready to begin observing when it gets dark at the end of April.

South Pole Observing 2005

Sun Set:

Alt = 0 deg. 20 Mar 2005
Alt = -6 deg. 04 Apr 2005
Alt = -12 deg. 21 APR 2005
Alt = -18 deg. 11 May 2005

Sun rise:

Alt = -18 deg. 1 Aug 2005
Alt = -12 deg. 21 Aug 2005
Alt = -6 deg. 07 Sep 2005
Alt = 0 deg. 22 Sep 2005

Full Moons:

25 Mar 2005 RA = 12h 24m, Alt = 0 deg.
24 APR 2005 RA = 14h 30m, Alt = 15 deg.
23 May 2005 RA = 16h 02m, Alt = 23 deg.
21 Jun 2005 RA = 17h 44m, Alt = 27 deg.
21 Jul 2005 RA = 20h 35m, Alt = 23 deg.
19 Aug 2005 RA = 22h 09m, Alt = 14 deg.
17 Sep 2005 RA = 23h 34m, Alt = 4 deg.

Winter 2004

26 Sep 2004 - Good news... Our winterover, Dana Hrubes, just successfully removed the CCD camera from the back of the photometer. He did the job in an amazing 8 hours, hard to believe given the conditions: he was on top of the tower inside a small tent heated by a jet-engine heater. Dana set the tent up a couple of weeks ago, but had to wait until it warmed up to -80F so that a Caterpillar could drag the heater over to the AASTO. Thanks for the great work Dana, and for the great pictures, too! Thanks also to Kevin Martin and Fred Witteborn for writing up a comprehensive procedure for Dana to follow. Dana will ship the camera back to us for repair as soon as the station opens in October.

July 2004 - Bad news... We experienced problems with the CCD camera that limited our ability to operate this season. We traced the problem to a failed serial clock board in the camera head. Unfortunately, repair requires a complicated removal of the CCD camera from the photometer, which is not possible until sunrise and the weather cooperates. We're hoping for good weather and a safe and speedy removal by Dana.

Dana took many outstanding photographs throughout the winter, many of which can be seen at his South Pole & North Pole web site. We're fortunate to host a small selection of winter photos here.

First star field: HD 84416, RA= 09h 42m 13s, DEC= -66d 54' 53"

The AASTO web cam shows mostly-live images from the South Pole of the Vulcan-South telescope and the AASTO building. Now that the Sun is rising you can see the tent on the tower that was installed by our winter-over Dana Hrubes in order to remove the CCD camera for repair.



This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0126313. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation (NSF). For questions or comments, please contact Doug Caldwell.