Once again today we found ourselves in both the literal and metaphorical dark, as the hangar power went out as we were grappling with a tricky problem. (This time, though, all of our most crucial electronics were safely on battery backup.) Since completing what we had hoped would be our final routing of the signal cables, we’ve developed a bit of a noise issue. There seems to be an interaction been electrical grounds which should be isolated that we haven’t seen before. Jane and Steve spent a hard day trying to isolate the problem. It can definitely be a bit of a black art.
With limited means of helping that process, the rest of us worked on other projects. Alan updated some of the software we use to control the gondola from the ground. Zach attached cables to all of the newly-installed shield pieces. I spent some time looking at our science targets. The Southern Hemisphere sky is rich in gamma-ray sources: pulsars, x-ray binaries, active galaxies, supernova remnants, and of course our primary target, the Galactic center. Making the best use of our observing time requires a good deal of planning! I hope to say more about our science goals in an upcoming post. For now, though, we’ve got to get ready to get off the ground first!