As Ann mentioned in the last post, the ALFALFA Undergraduate Workshop was taking place last week at Arecibo Observatory. This was my first time attending the workshop, and I enjoyed the experience a lot – meeting various members of the ALFALFA Undergraduate Team and hearing about ongoing work. One of the best parts was, of course, a tour of the telescope. I have a feeling that every time I’m shown the telescope I’ll manage to learn something new. Between the impressive engineering and long history that go into Arecibo, I think there will always be a new story to hear or new fact to learn.
I was part of the last tour group from the workshop that went up to the telescope platform. They were planning on doing some radar tests once we were done with the tours. When they want to run the radar, they have to place covers on all the other receivers on the telescope because enough power is transmitted through the radar that it would fry the other receivers. Since, we were the last group visiting the receiver room up on the telescope platform, they started preparations while we were still up there. First, they rotated the floor of the receiver room to move ALFA into place for putting the cover on. We went down to look at the receivers and to see ALFA in person. While there, we decided to help out by placing the cover on ALFA. It took us a bit to figure out which way the cover fit on, but eventually we got it. A few pictures of this process are below.