Saturday, June 5, 2010

First test flight

The past days we have been working quite hard in order to get ready for Friday's test flight. The pilots managed to keep Venus, the star that is our main test object in the sky, in the center of the window. Pointing the set of cameras in the right direction worked fine as well. Not everything went as planned. We had major problems with ice forming on the optical grade windows and not all of our cameras that should spot Venus were able to do so. Next to that there are still some problems with the recording software. Hopefully we can resolve these issues over the weekend.

On June 3 the pilots needed the DC8 for some time. Not being able to work in the airplane, we had a tour in the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA). This Boeing 747SP is stationed in the same hangar as the DC8 we use for our observations. It captured its first light, imaging Jupiter, just a week ago. The tour was kindly guided by prof. Eric Becklin, chief scientist of SOFIA.
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