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24 December, 2000

Christmas Eve

This morning, we cooled the dewar whose coldhead we finished maintenance on yesterday. This process is the same as when we cooled the 230 GHz receiver on December 20. Except this time there was a small glitch: we put too much liquid nitrogen in the dewar, and it cooled too much. Since the coldhead was already on the dewar and working, it continued to cool the dewar, and the remaining liquid nitrogen remained in the dewar instead of boiling off. We thought that there was no more nitrogen in the dewar and started to fill with liquid helium, but soon found the hose was frozen to something- nitrogen ice. There was a little nitrogen remaining in the dewar, which froze solid when we filled it with liquid helium. So, the only thing to do was to warm the dewar up again, and wait for the ice to melt and evaporate.

In the mean time, itıs Christmas eve. This evening was a special dinner. After leaving AST/RO and having lunch, I helped out in the kitchen for the afternoon. Since this was a special meal, there were fresh vegetables available, and in addition to setting tables, whipping butter and other small tasks, I prepared a rare sight at the South Pole: a green salad. By 4PM, the tables were set, the food was ready, and the first seating was ready to begin in 30 minutes. Since not everyone on the station is able to fit in the galley at one time, dinner was split into three seatings. The tables were re-set, the dishes washed, and fresh food set out between each sitting. This image shows the upper galley being decorated. The upper galley had carolers and hours dıours before each seating.

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