26 January, 1999

26 January

My work on the calibration of the fiber optic cables leading into the optical modules on strings #11-13 of AMANDA continues.

Determining the loss of light along a fiber can be achieved using an Optical Time Domain Reflectometer (OTDR). The OTDR sends

bursts of laser light along the fiber which yields information on where weaknesses or failures in the fiber might be. There are 42 optical modules that have fibers leading into them on each string of the telescope.

The data that I collected was checked against the calibration information from the last season to see how the cables of fiber weathered the past year. I entered the results of the OTDR

yields into the computer database.

On the way back to the Dome from MAPO (Martin A. Pomerantz Observatory) we met the Ice Trek Expedition at the pole. Peter Hillary (son of Sir Edmund of Mt. Everest fame), John Muir and

Eric Phillips completed their 84 day trek from Scott Base at the coast to the pole. A large crowd was on hand to welcome them and celebrate their achievement.

Later in the galley, the crowd listened to each of the men recount pieces of their journey. Eric Phillips recalled the wonders of Antarctica from the many crevasses that lay before their feet to the tremendous variances in temperature that the team experienced as they made their way over the ice shelf and Shackleton glacier. On their way across the Ross ice shelf, the team passed the spot where Robert Scott and his men perished. There were no food drops in 1912.

The Ice Trek expedition was to have tried to return to the

coast by February 7. A series of storms slowed the progress to the pole, making the return trip impossible. A remarkable undertaking

and accomplishment.

The Optical Timing Domain Reflectometer sits in front of me as I interpret a graph representing light loss along the optical fiber leading down into the AMANDA array. The fibers aid in determining the position in the ice of the optical modules that contain the light sensors of the telescope.

The orange cables that I'm reaching for are the fiber optics of AMANDA's last three strings that were deployed in previous seasons. Each cable connects to an optical module buried 1-2 km in the ice.

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