I am currently spending my "days" hanging out at the KHO auroral observatory, watching the atmospheric and solar wind conditions and waiting. The PI (principal investigator) is my boss, Marc Lessard. He looks very PI-ish in this picture!
All photos today were taken by Margit Dyrland
We have been reporting to our posts at Svalbard University around 1 in the morning. The Skype chats start then and the Andøya rocket range has already been busy getting us ready for the day. At 3 am we start the drive for the top of the mountain, which I believe is called Old Coal Mine #7, and park about halfway up where we then abandon the van and hop in the beltwagon to do the final ascent.
Geoff McHarg and Marc Lessard enjoying the ride
We normally stay at the observatory for about 6 hours, watching the solar wind satellite data and the allsky cameras, as well as the EISCAT radar data. Although most days we have had some technical issues with the rocket, the team down at Andøya has been diligent and determined to fix every little thing that comes up. If the science and weather will just cooperate, we can get this rocket off the ground soon! In the meantime, it's a waiting game.