It is now just over three weeks until Cassini plunges into Saturn’s atmosphere and the mission (but not the Project) comes to an end. I grow a little sentimental.

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This is the flight spare of Cassini’s fluxgate magnetometer sensor, which will live on. We use it for command simulations on the ground.

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This is a 1:25 scale model of the Cassini spacecraft, with the Huygens probe attached to its side. It includes the magnetometer boom, which is hidden in this view. These were distributed to the payload teams. It's been in our group longer than I have (>11 years).

I recently ordered a big perspex display box for the model, so we can have it on show at the upcoming Imperial Fringe festival, post-mission-end. I’ll be giving a talk at the Farewell to Cassini exhibit. Details to follow (on the Londoners filter) when they’re confirmed and the web site for event registration is live.

Voyager1DSNscreenshot
This is a screenshot of NASA Eyes on the DSN that I took on 4 August. DSS-14 at Goldstone (the antenna in white on the left) is receiving data from Voyager 1 (spacecraft shown on the right). I accompanied this with “We’re still listening” on [instagram.com profile] magnetometrist on Instagram.

NASA has a poll, open until Tuesday 29 August, to choose a 60-character-or-less #MessagetoVoyager, to be sent on 5 September. If you want to vote on a message, go here.
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[Image of a Cassini spacecraft model inside a black gimbal structure comprised of three concentric rings, mounted on a plexiglass stand and sitting on the corner of a desk.]

Now that I'm back at work, I present another of my Rare Objects from Space History for #tbt. This is a model of the Cassini spacecraft, mounted in the centre of what I can only think to describe as a gimbal. The high gain antenna is pointed toward the bottom of the photo. The model was distributed to instrument teams to aid them with pointing design. It can be rotated around three axes within the gimbal. Each circle of rotation is marked in degrees, so that from a set of numbers indicating its orientation (eg "RA & dec"), an instrument engineer can work out which way the spacecraft is pointing.

I have no idea when it was originally given to our team but it predates me joining the Cassini project (ca 2006).
Pastoral Landscape #1
Three horses grazing peacefully outside the window of my home office on a foggy morning.

You know that feeling when you're trying to capture the glorious pastoral landscape which you are privileged to view every day, and then you download the photos and discover that one of the animals involved has done something disgraceful?

Yes. That. )
Handsomest cat
Telstar in the light from sunrise, sitting nobly tall on the dining table.

(A day early, yes, but goodness knows the internet could use more cat pictures ASAP)
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
( Jul. 14th, 2016 02:00 pm)
Corridor on my floor, reflecting the national mood

The 15-year anniversary of my LJ passed quietly by on Saturday, 11 July. I rarely post on Saturdays, being fully occupied with family at the weekends. Still, I see no reason why the celebrations can't continue, given that I started a month in advance. I'll finish off my projects, and after all, I still have to make a drunken post from the bath about SCIENCE. Don't want to miss out on that opportunity.

The photo above is the corridor outside my office at work, which is having its overhead lighting refurbished. It's also doing an excellent job of convincing us we're all trapped in a post-apocalyptic dystopian nightmare. Given the state of the nation, and particularly the omnishambles of the last few weeks in UK politics, I'm not certain the corridor has got it wrong.
Westminster flags lowered for Jo Cox

I took this photo last week, after MP Jo Cox was assassinated. I want to make it very clear, for what I hope are obvious reasons this morning, that this photo is about her death.

In the hope that others could also use the distraction of an Unscientific Poll:

Poll #17530 Telecon Unmute Bingo
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 24


Whilst on a work-related telecon, I have heard the following “participant unintentionally unmuted” actions

View Answers

sneezing
17 (77.3%)

coughing
16 (72.7%)

burping
7 (31.8%)

farting
4 (18.2%)

swearing
10 (45.5%)

typing
16 (72.7%)

boiling a kettle
6 (27.3%)

attempting to dial another number
5 (22.7%)

conducting a separate phone call on a different device
13 (59.1%)

deriding the person currently speaking
6 (27.3%)

deriding the chairperson
2 (9.1%)

flushing the toilet
1 (4.5%)

I can escalate this:

HRH Telstar
HRH Telstar presiding over the picnic table.
Baby discovers stroopwaffel
[Keiki waves around a bag of stroopwafels after having consumed one. Crumbs not visible in black and white.]

In this Adventure of Keiki & Mummy at Home, Keiki digs through Mummy's large bag of rapidly assembled duty free items and discovers stroopwafels. Stroopwafels, for those who haven't had the pleasure, are a luxury Dutch biscuit/cookie consisting of two very thin crispy waffles sandwiching a layer of sticky caramel. They are terribly, terribly morish.

I think he likes them.


Humuhumu snuggled down in a sleeping bag in the tent, gazing up adoringly at Telstar, who is lording it over the pillow.
This post is where I don't talk about the General Election because I'm still too horrified about the outcome.

Instead, I present you with Day 5 of Five Days of Black and White, featuring baby and nekkid!toddler. Day 4 is behind a cut because it's mildly NSFW and contains an adult.


Day 5: Humuhumu showing off her dirty feet. Keiki still not impressed with being in front of a camera lens.

+1 )
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