It Has a Raincoat!

Alan and David put in some hard labor, and the telescope now has its
mylar covering (mostly).  Still a bit of work to do on the cover, the
drive system, and the interior air dehumidifying/cleaning.

Spring Has Sprung

April 7 -- not exactly springlike (below freezing this morning), but
our grass has sprouted!  (and I turned up the green channel in photoshop
just a tad, to encourage growth).


A "rogue" bolt of lightning struck the observatory this week -- a rare
positive bolt, pretty much isolated, and noted by the weather service.
It struck a pair of trees about 50 feet apart, apparently not able to make
up its mind which one to hit; then it burrowed a channel through the woods,
crossed under the road, and finished up in our telephone/data conduit on
the other side!  Here's a shot of one of the trees, cleaved from its top
right down to the ground; lots of timber lying around on the ground..

aka Log Splitter

Here's an artsy shot, looking up the tree; as you can see, this tree (and
its companion victim also) is cleaved all the way up to its canopy.

aka Jack Hammer

And here's where the underground stroke came to the road, kicking up a
bit of asphalt and making a cute little hole.  (Why DID the lightning bolt
cross the road, anyway??)

No More Copper!

We've HAD IT with these lightning strokes!!!  This was the second time in
less than a year that a severe lightning stroke blew out several computers
and other electronics at the ridge site.  So we decided to put more fiber in
OSETI's diet, in this case replacing both the RS232C link and the RS422 link
to the targetted OSETI camera.  The '232 link was easy -- we used the commercial
B&B converters; for the faster '422 links (which carry the GPS 10 MHz and 1 pps
signals for absolute time-stamping) Jason built a pair of custom converters.
His converter box is the grey object near center, covering up the black B&B box
that connects (via APC protector) to the '232 port.  The fibers are the pretty
orange things near the top, pointed out by Chip's right index finger.

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