J a c k I r e l a n d
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Tuesday February 23, 1999
"Pointing" and Pizza
The first thing to do is to check my new e-mail messages. I collaborate with people in the United Kingdom (UK) and because they are five hours ahead of the East coast of the US (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center) they get into work before I do. So when I get in to work there are usually some e-mails waiting for me.
The second thing to do is to deal with those e-mails. Note that reading and dealing with e-mail are two very different things. Usually it is best to deal with an e-mail as soon as I get it otherwise, it gets lost in tomorrow's e-mail. Several of the e-mails refer to a series of observations I have to set up today for people in the UK and the USA. I also get some e-mail from my brother and sister in the UK-it's an easy way to stay in touch.
To deal with the observational e-mail I have to leave my cubicle and go to the SOHO Experimenters' Operational Facility (EOF) where the observations we take with SOHO are set up and sent to the spacecraft. Setting up observations for one of the instruments on SOHO is called "planning". I have been the planner for the Coronal Diagnostic Spectrometer (CDS) on board SOHO for nearly a week now.
I get to the SOHO-EOF in time for the SOHO daily meeting (10 am). Every weekday, all the planners for the other instruments and the people who look after the spacecraft on which the instruments sit get together and discuss the latest news from the Sun-how SOHO is doing, what the Sun is doing and what people have planned for tomorrow. As I am a planner, I have to be at the meeting to tell everyone else what was done with CDS yesterday and what we plan to do today. It's an important meeting because some of the observations are part of what's called a Joint Observing Program (JOP). When you have two or more instruments on SOHO that decide to look at the same piece of the Sun at the same time then it's called a JOP.
There is supposed to be a JOP running later on today involving CDS. Part of planning involves telling CDS where to point and for this particular JOP the CDS pointing depends on what the other instruments in the JOP are looking at. But the pointing I need to complete the CDS plan is not available just now and so I have to wait for it. Some of the other planners and I have a small discussion after the meeting about the observations but nothing about the pointing is decided. It is now 11 am. I start to do some other planning instead, and decide to wait for more information.