Friday, December 09, 2005

The Volcanocam lives!

It hasn't been a particularly good few weeks for the Volcanocam. On the 6th November there was a power failure which caused the communications link to the server to drop out. All we saw was a blue screen of doom. On the 9th November a maintenance crew fixed the power problem and restored the link, but in the process the focus of the camera was slightly thrown out of whack. Then the focus seemed to degrade as the weather worsened. Which also precluded anyone from the US Forest Service from getting to the Johnson Ridge Observatory (JRO) to fix the problem.

Because of the way the focus was out, the night time images of the incandescent glow from the growing lavadome became large circular blobs of light, instead of reasonably well focused views of the night time behaviour of the mountain. Much like this example from 30 November:

But this afternoon, the Volcanocam team were able to get to the JRO site and readjust the focus and clean the lens of the Volcanocam camera. So we have gone from the above defocused blob, to a level of detail that enables a true appreciation for what is happening on the mountain at night...

The current Volcanocam update says: Camera Update @ 4:30 pm PST - We were successful in cleaning the camera and readjusting the focus. The day was clear, no wind and warm, about 45*F at Johnston Ridge. Elk, coyotes and a porcupine assisted in our efforts with the camera today.

A big, big, BIG thank you to Dennis Lapcewich and the Volcanocam team at the US Forest Service, and the elk, coyote and porcupine for their very kind assistance...

Stay tuned for new, sharper, animations of the nightly show of Mount St Helens on my website.


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