On Thursday, Vinny was still away, and I had work to catch up on from Wednesday. I had completed my laser safety training on Tuesday, and was now the proud owner of an access card to get into the end stations and corner station. After doing all of the computer work that I could justifiably get away with, I decided that it was time to go to the Y arm to give the magnetometer tests another go. But it is 4km away, and I don’t drive. Luckily, I came prepared., and at 3pm, I changed into my running gear, packed a bag full of all the cables and computers I might need, and went for a jog.
Photo courtesy of Darkhan – I’m that little speck next to the arm.
Turns out that deserts are hot. Even a 4km run in that environment is much harder than it is on a treadmill, or even up and down the hills of Glasgow. But eventually I made it to the end, I let myself in, and after catching my breath, I got to work.
The magnetometer wasn’t shoeing us what we had expected to see from its vantage point next to the timing rack. I was determined to rule out any extraneous variables. Change this, take 15 minutes of data, change that, take 15 minutes of data, nothing changed. The reading we saw must be true. I had one more talk to do, and that involved setting up the magnetometer on a new channel, with a higher sampling rate. Alone in the EBAY, my mind was playing tricks, I thought I heard a phone ringing, I thought I heard a voice, the lights would occasionally flicker. I did not like it very much at all.When all was said and done, I didn’t leave the Y end station until 6:10pm. Evan might still be at work, but I had better get back. As I step outside, I wonder “Why is it so dark”. Then it hits me that the sun was very nearly set.
I was already on edge, and here I was 4k away from the nearest person. I sent Evan a text “What’s the chances of an animal attack?”, and I went on my way, jogging, alone, in the dark. Evan eventually replied that it wasn’t very likely at all, and that there was no danger. After all, coyotes are more scared of people than we are of them. Thanks, Margot, for putting that into my head! Anyway, on the run (walk) back, I couldn’t help but look to the sky. This far out, you really could see everything! The moon wasn’t up yet, and all there was to see was stars against inky black. Eventually, I did make it back with the aid of my phone’s flashlight.
Once home, Evan says “Sometimes, there’s a happy hour on Thursdays in the common block” – and it was Thursday. Before we even get parked, we commit to happy hour – free beer and a semblance of sociability. What’s the harm? Well, it turned out to be a fun hour (and some). There was beer, a cheese/fruit selection going, about 10 people crowded around a little breakfast bar. I met Christina, a member of staff and resident at Mosaic, who was very eager to plan weekend trips to the peaks for snow sports, and to the local wineries. We also met a new LIGO recruit, Shandra, having only moved to Richland the previous day, and starting at LHO as a vacuum engineer the following week, it was nice to meet somebody to talk shop with!