Friday, June 18, 2010

The DC-8 returns

The past days we have spent quite some time trying to calibrate our equipment. One of the least successful attempts was the one we did the night after Hayabusa returned. We were supposed to calibrate while enjoying the following view:
It is hard not to notice the terrible amount of light in the back. Our cameras neither missed the presence of those lights. The result was a large amount of data and still no calibrated cameras.

On the transit flight to Hawaii we just missed the sunset. Which would have been really great to observe using our equipment. We did get to see Venus set in the evening sky. A really nice calibration opportunity that also gives a nice view. Notice the moon and Venus in the upper right of the image on the right. The observations went well and the big lens even showed craters on the moon!

The journey from Hawaii to Lancaster was taken in record time due to heavy tailwind. This ment we could go for another calibration attempt, but now at the DC-8's home base. Conditions were perfect, but now TERAS was giving us troubles again. Only partial calibration results were obtained. In combination with the observations of a setting Venus, which is also useful for determining atmospheric extinction, we should however be fine.

After getting our equipment removed from the airplane it was moved into the lab for a final calibration round under perfect conditions. At the moment we have everything packed up so we can send our equipment on its way back to Europe tomorrow morning.