2014A Day 4: Backin’ dat ASM up

First, an announcement: this is blog post #200! How long can we keep this up?

Today’s big accomplishment was driving the ASM up to the summit.

The ASM backs up to the Aux building.
This scissor lift is the scariest part of the operation.
The ASM is cranked off the truck onto the lift.
Victor poses with the ASM as it slides off the lift.

Best question of the day: “Is it still one piece?” — Juan Gallardo, after the ASM rolled off the lift.

We also reorganized the cables and hoses in the W-Unit.

A freshly organized W-Unit.
The Daily Viz
Clay and Baade at twilight.

Today’s song is one of many with an astronomical theme. If you listen close lots of pop music is about astronomy in some way.

2014A Day 3: And on the third day…

Today I worked with Mauricio and Laird on evacuating the air out of Clio’s cryostat, which involved cleaning the o-ring and then hoping for a good vacuum. Laird did some fixes to the ASM, removing the alignment laser and making an alignment fiducial instead, and fixing some of the protective covering on the back to keep out the dust. Jared and Alfio worked in the morning on software and electronics for the AO system, and in the afternoon and evening they with Laird tested the cleaned VisAO optics and closed her back up.

Mauricio helped us with vacuuming out Clio’s cryostat
Jared and Laird cleaning optics yesterday. Today they finished testing their new optics and closed up VisAO.
Laird did some surgery on the ASM and I helped a bit
I went for a walk/jog and Povilas zoomed by while I took this picture of the valley towards the ocean out there, and the lodge and bird droppings over here.
My nephews are really into trucks. There are some really nice ones at LCO.
A blue truck
A red truck
Vizzy contemplating the sunset

Song of the day for heavy-hearted basketball fans, if you need a cry 🙁
(family-friendly version):

On a happier note, let’s close with some light-hearted fan mail from my sister:

My big sister sent MagAO a fan letter — thanks Anna! She was one of the original 4 MagAO blog subscribers on google reader

2014A Day 2: Spring Cleaning

VisAO and the WFS got a much needed spring cleaning today. We also installed some new filters.

Laird works at installing the new H-alfa filter and our new coronagraphic spots.

Jared and Alfio installed a new more powerful Y-stage motor. This motor has to lift the W-unit against gravity, and the old one was under-powered and so was failing. These motors are very powerful, even the old one, so it is very nerve racking to mess around with them. We had a stressful morning.

Alfio agonizes over the settings for our new motor (that’s it sitting next to him).

T.J. and Katie buttoned up Clio today.

This is the inside of the Clio dewar just before it was buttoned up.
Clio being lifted back onto its cart.

The weather has been gorgeous, and we’re seeing lots of locals out and about.

It was a double Viscacha day.
This guy is still hanging around. He’s not scared of me, but he doesn’t really want to be friends either.
These clowns showed up this afternoon. They always look like they’re up to no good.

Here’s the song of the day. We have spent so much time here it now feels like we’re coming home when we get off the plane in La Serena.