• John
  • Felde
  • University of Maryland
  • USA

Latest Posts

  • USLHC
  • USLHC
  • USA

  • James
  • Doherty
  • Open University
  • United Kingdom

Latest Posts

  • Andrea
  • Signori
  • Nikhef
  • Netherlands

Latest Posts

  • CERN
  • Geneva
  • Switzerland

Latest Posts

  • Aidan
  • Randle-Conde
  • Université Libre de Bruxelles
  • Belgium

Latest Posts

  • TRIUMF
  • Vancouver, BC
  • Canada

Latest Posts

  • Laura
  • Gladstone
  • MIT
  • USA

Latest Posts

  • Steven
  • Goldfarb
  • University of Michigan

Latest Posts

  • Fermilab
  • Batavia, IL
  • USA

Latest Posts

  • Seth
  • Zenz
  • Imperial College London
  • UK

Latest Posts

  • Nhan
  • Tran
  • Fermilab
  • USA

Latest Posts

  • Alex
  • Millar
  • University of Melbourne
  • Australia

Latest Posts

  • Ken
  • Bloom
  • USLHC
  • USA

Latest Posts

Nicole Ackerman | SLAC | USA

View Blog | Read Bio

Double shift in the desert

Last night was a very late night – we were underground from the beginning of the day shift to the end of the swing shift. We had to complete a ‘pump and purge’ process on our plumbing so we could pump down overnight. This process cleans out the pipes our xenon will be in, which is essential to prevent the xenon from becoming contaminated.

We started the 45 minute drive back to our house around 11:45 PM. Being in the desert in the middle of the night is amazing. From WIPP we could see Carlsbad (45 minutes away) because there were no hills or trees in the way and we were slightly elevated. I don’t simply mean seeing a glow in the sky due to light pollution, but really seeing the town itself. We pulled off the road to look at stars. Few times in my life have I seen so many stars – it would have surpassed all of them had there not been a bright oil derrick right behind us. In the 5 minutes we were stopped we saw a few shooting stars – one brighter than any star and that traversed almost half the sky. Our soundtrack were coyotes howling in the distance. This isn’t the occasional howl that defines the sound of the desert in movies, but a constant din of coyotes that sounded far enough away to not worry. It was amazing enough to make me want to work 16 hours again to witness it. But not today.

Share