Remote Control (I)
In mid-April 2003 we installed the Shulsky Box remote control in
the control room, and enabled control of various systems such as
dome heaters, telescope heaters, and lights and cameras. Here's
a shot of the Shulsky Box in-situ -- you can see the serial port
connections, next to the ribbon to the power box. Right now nine
AC lines are energized (though only six of them are powering stuff
that actually exists; we have no oseti camera)
Remote Control (II)
Jason couldn't wait to test his web-enabled remote control, so here
he is using his fancy web-enabled cellphone to switch the control
room lights on and off. Think about the path his keystrokes are
taking -- cellphone to tower to ISP to cambridge to dedicated
56kbps line back out to rural observatory router to server in the
control room to microcontroller in the shiny box to the power relay
in the lower box to the power supply to the overhead red lights.
Remote Control (III)
And here's a nice shot of the control room, now outfitted with a
pair of computers, the rack with remote control etc, and the red
lights blazing away. We're ready to go!
Meanwhile, Andrew's custom ASIC, dubbed "PulseNet," arrived from a
MOSIS fab run (THANK YOU, MOSIS!!). Here's what the chips look like
(lid on and off), with the block diagram and chip layout for background
Here's a closeup, with the lid removed. The shiny glints are the
bonding wires. This is a 0.25um chip, 250,000 transistors, that
performs 32 billion voltage measurements per second. The full array
0f 32 such chips in the OSETI camera will be making 1 trillion
voltage measurements per second -- that's the contents of all books
in print, every second!
Here the first chip is running (!!!!) in the custom tester, designed
and built by Chris Laumann. The scope shows the on-chip diagnostic
ring oscillator, screaming along at 1.75 MHz, indicating a good
fab run; it also indicates that the chip has healthy vital signs.
Portraits of the Baby (I)
We can't resist taking occasional portraits of our baby. Here's a
shot, rather wide-angle, taken while perched on a ladder.
Portraits of the Baby (II)
And here's a shot from down low, looking up -- as if to say "Open
We're on a ridge, and we get hit by tree-splitting, bone-crunching,
eardrum-splitting, hair-raising (well, you get the point..) lightning
at least once or twice each summer season, as illustrated nicely by
this shot and this shot. So we went on eBay and found some serious
"whole-house" transient suppressors, biding their time down in North
Carolina under the stewardship of a splendid gentleman by the name of
Harold Sherrill. Here's one of them, wired right into the service entrance.
Trees are nice things .... but not at observatories! Here's "sawmill Al",
backed up by David Sliski, doing their thing to clear the sky view for the
Tree-Haters, part II ("After the Saw")
Here's the view after the (saw)dust had settled. Now we can see the sky,
and it can see us.
Tree-Haters, part III
May, 2004 -- spring has arrived, lovely weather to cut down even more trees!
Al organized a tree-cutting party, and a bunch of his buddies showed up, all
toting hefty chain saws. Here you can see five of them, working hard, under
the watchful eyes of the even-harder-working supervisors in the foreground
(David Aguilar and Robert Stefanik).
Tree-Haters, part IV
And here's Al, carting off a load of tree cuttings, with Aaron playing the
role of counterweight.
Tree-Haters, part V
And, at the end of the day, here's what the observatory grounds look like.
Lots of stumps, and lots of sky. You can see, left to right, the 61" Wyeth
reflector, the 6" Clark refractor, our new 72" allsky reflector (eclipsing
all but the south end of the central building), the 16" Perkin-Elmer
reflector, and the (unused) Metcalf refractor.