Tonight we closed the loop on-sky, on Kate and T.J.’s first night here this run.
We were able to use the new pupils we calibrated over the last few days, and Marco’s new interaction matrix, to close the AO loop with 378 modes. This was a big step forward! The wavefront error was close to 100 nm rms in 0.5-0.7″ seeing. This is our best correction yet!
You might have noticed that our server redirected you to https. This will help ensure that MagAO continues to be a source of good, clean, family-friendly fun. Thanks to Paul Hart for helping Jared get a certificate set up.
Thanks to our loyal readers, Jared has found a new source of funding for Arizona’s various AO endeavors:
Alfio and Marco have been hard at work building bigger and better interaction matricies. By enabling or disabling rings of ASM actuators around the central obscuration, they are able to create more robust, higher quality calibrations. They create different sets of shapes (different “modal bases”) to apply to the mirror, based on which actuators are enabled. The new interaction matricies they’ve taken today have improved the VisAO image quality by ~20%! They also took a full suite of calibrations which will allow us to observe very faint targets.
Today we also moved the Clio solid nitrogen pump down to the basement, to reduce telescope vibrations. The optical alignment of the CRO is so sensitive that we can easily see a 1 micrometer (10^-6 meter) displacement. So we need to take as many sources of vibration off the telescope as we can; pumps are especially bad. The telescope staff routed a ~150ft hose from Clio to the pump’s new home in the basement.
We’re T -1 day from going on sky. The whole gang is hard at work finishing preparations to the AO system, VisAO, and Clio.
Tomorrow, two more team members will be arriving: TJ Rodigas and Kate Follette. Just in time for the big debut!
Now it’s time for me to follow Povilas’ lead…
“You drive me to caveats” — Povilas
“Now the entire blog is staged” — Katie (after Povilas admitted that he said that just to get on the blog. He loves us.)
“Nature throws thing at you that are not Kolmogorov. That’s a major caveat.” — Laird
“Maybe we should go back to the old interaction matrices. If the Strehl is too high, it might melt VisAO’s CCD” — Jared
“Cheese helps me to concentrate” — Marco
“Well… is the Clio pump on?” — Laird (asking completely sincerely!), blaming Clio for vibrations even after we stuck its pump down in the bowels of the telescope
“I have control over everything” — Alfio
“If you can’t focus a camera then you shouldn’t really be going on-sky with it” — Laird