Thursday, October 15, 2009

SciMon Diary: Day 5

Another poor day for the detector. We weren't having maintenance day today, but we were out of lock for the whole of my shift. It's those pesky workmen again making a lot of noise in the 1-3Hz seismic band. This is the frequency range that relatively local anthropogenic activity generally manifests itself in, so we have a monitor which shows this to check how it correlates with our being in lock, or our inspiral range. Earthquakes generally show up in the 0.03-0.1Hz band and can also knock us out of lock, so we also monitor this (there was a magnitude 6 earthquake today off Samoa, which showed up as a large spike in this band, but as we were out of lock anyway it didn't hurt us).

Seeing as it wasn't looking like we'd get any science data it was decided that we'd let people go and play with the detector in the afternoon. One of the hopes was that we'd be able to track down a source of noise that kept our range down for the last couple of weeks (we should be able to regularly see out to over 16-17 Mpc at night, but we've been maxing out at around 14 Mpc). Hopefully when I go in tomorrow I'll be pleasantly surprised to see that we had an increased range overnight, but it may well be a complicated problem without a quick fix.

Today I also sorted out what I'm going to do on my day off this Saturday - I'll be going white water rafting on the White Salmon river with Wet Planet Whitewater. This should give me my paddling fix and also give me something more exciting to write about on Sunday.