Pride and Science

Central London featured two important events this past weekend. First was the annual Gay Pride Parade, a riotous and joyful procession of rainbow flags, pink clothing, and (mostly) ill-fitting dresses on very large people.
Pride parade

Evil and/or misguided ChristiansSadly, the only thing that marred the good-natured, family-friendly event were the stupid protesters. But it was wonderful to see that they were just ignored, or occasionally people would point at their sad and pathetic group and just laugh (there was also a much smaller, and yet more pathetic, group of National Front protesters who deserved and received even less attention).

Planck exhibit - 1At the same time, the Royal Society, right down the road from Piccadilly Circus, hosted the annual Summer Science Exhibition, and I visited my colleagues (Stuart Lowe and Michael Bridges, here) talking Planck Surveyor science, taking infrared pictures of the visitors and handing out lots of great Planck swag.

In fact, this weekend, Planck has cooled down to just about its final temperature of 100mK (that is 0.1 degrees above absolute zero!) and has made it to its final orbit at the L2 point. So we are starting to get ready to take real data, after we spend the next month or so kicking the tires and checking her out.