Joining us from the University of Victoria, Erienne O’Grady spent 4 months at the Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Centre in British Columbia. Through a mix of digital and hands-on tasks, Erienne worked with the mechanical team for the Canadian Hydrogen Observatory and Radio-transient Detector (CHORD).
CHORD is a scientific instrument that will study the evolving structure of the Universe by detecting and analyzing radio signals emitted by hydrogen gas. The NRC’s composite dish program is a technology that enables the construction of CHORD . This, in turn, significantly enhances Canada’s capabilities in astrophysical research, leading to a deeper understanding of our Universe.
Erienne’s position involved creating training packages based on complex operational processes, which she organized into easy-to-read text and graphics. Her supervisor, CHORD dish production manager, Richard Hellyer, says, “Writing documentation can be a daunting job, but Erienne tackled it with enthusiasm and creativity. It’s exactly what we needed. As a bonus, she showed initiative by volunteering to help vacuum infuse composite parts in the shop.”
Though the job description called primarily for writing, Erienne often found herself in the fabrication area, helping to create and test composite panels and parts. She assisted in measuring and cutting fabrics, preparing resin, and bagging and leak-sealing parts for vacuum infusion. To provide context on CHORD ’s operation and deployment, Erienne learned how laser tracking software improved the accuracy of the CHORD dish surfaces. She also saw how the dishes are moved via truck-mounted crane.
“The variety of the tasks I got to do and the inclusive environment meant that my placement was unique and exciting,” Erienne says. “The experience is unmatched and it’s an incredible glimpse into what is occurring in Canadian research.”
Learn more about #NRCAstrophysics: Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Centre - National Research Council Canada.