Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Wrapping Up

It's my last week working at the SETI Institute, meaning I am spending time banging my head over code with greater urgency. Presentation on Friday, gotta catch the redeye back to the East Coast that night...

Until then, here is a hilariously staged photo taken at the Allen Telescope Array a few weeks back sort of explaining what I'm trying to finish up. In short, there's a lot of radio frequency interference (RFI for short) that is detected at the ATA, and I have the job of cataloging it- or, primarily right now, the clock frequencies from all the processors in the control room. I'm holding a spectrum analyzer here- which we didn't end up using much, but has a great dual use as a ray gun-looking device- detecting the evil RFI (shown here as Billy, one of the telescope operators at the array).

If you look really closely, you'll notice by the way that there is a gremlin used to depict RFI here, which is out of a really bad movie that used to scare me when I was little. This is because, as Billy put it, RFI is like the gremlin in radio astronomy because it causes all sorts of problems. That or we were just really bored and looking for an excuse to take silly pictures, conclude what you will.

Ok, until I sort out my code, I will leave you with this other shot of Science In Action (or, depending on your take, Science Inaction). Be very, very afraid of the girl with the spectrum analyzer...