Saturday, December 3, 2011

So what is she doing up/down there?

I seem to be forgetting my camera at just the wrong times.   It has something to do with lots of clothes to put on and getting it into my pocket of a big red coat that makes you feel like a big balloon.  I was assisting in the cryo-lab where they were loading some liquid helium for the telescope projects.  They need a new dewar full every 6 days.  The out-gas line off the dewar was so cold that air from the room was condensing on it and liquefying and running down.  I will get a video of it later and add that to the post here.  It took about an hour to fill a dewar about the same height as a tall propane tank but almost 3 feet across.

The facility has 3 big tanks and only one has a usable amount of helium in it.  And someone goofed on the ordering.  It will be tight to get enough in for the scope to operate over the winter.  The project is called BICEP and it uses it to cool the millimeter wavelength detector (radio telescope). 

Standing at the South Pole Telescope with the BICEP, SPUD and MAPO machine shop in the background.
The  yellow shield in the background is where the BICEP telescope is.  Farther back and to the right is the station house.  This was my first excursion out.  Fortunately, Julie had here camera because mine froze just when we were ready to take pictures.


  1. −182.96 °C is the boiling point of LOX
    -196 °C is the boiling point of LN2
    So you can concentrate oxygen off that outgas line, maybe rig it up to distillation coil. :-)

    Might be useful around the station, perhaps.

  2. And LOX is paramagnetic. So you can also manipulate it with a strong magnet. :-)

    And of course, there will be no CO2 in the liquid air.