As alluded to in the previous post, I am doing my first night shift with the lidar tonight. Bernard (from EC) and I were dropped off at PEARL (big red lab up on the ridge) by Matt and Pierre. It's about 20 km from the weather station where we sleep, and there were 2 darkish blobs out the window on the way that Pierre claims were muskox! Maybe one day soon I'll actually see them and know what they are at the same time as I'm looking at them.
The lidar I'm working with is an Eximer lidar which means that instead of having a pink crystal in the laser (like the one at the Purple Crow Lidar in London), there's a big tank filled with a mixture of Helium, Neon and Xenon gases. So it's a different kind of laser than what I'm used to, but pretty neat. It's in the UV so you can't see the beam pointing up in the sky either.
I got to go up on the roof first thing when we got there to open the hatch (it just slides off sideways) over the telescope room where there's a 1M Newtonian telescope. Long story short is that I could not see a single thing and had to be careful walking back down the stairs because not only did my glasses fog up, but they froze up. There was frost on them, and I could see nothing through them. Did I mention it is -56 C with the windchill? I think I'll bring my ski goggles up tomorrow!
With this laser it takes over an hour to get the whole thing up and running, but once it's on then there's not much to do with it. You have to check on it every half hour or so but that's it.