2017A Day 21: A Very Successful MagAO Science Run Ends

It has been a great recovery for MagAO from the terrible glycol leak of last year. We have now completed our first science run and it was a big success with a completion of the February targets that we failed to get last year now completed. As readers of this run’s blog posts know it was a tough run with losses of 2 DSP boards for the ASM and the loss of the PI TT mirror. But we fixed what was broken and carried on doing science. In fact, the last 5 days were straightforward with full AO uptime, and prove that MagAO is fully back in the science business.

So after 21 days and nights at LCO Jared, Katie, and I finally left LCO today. But first I got up very early because the most important piece of equipment in all of LCO is the 20 year old ISUZU flatbed truck. It spends its life running around the observatory and driving to La Serena and back. It is the only way to get the ASM from the Clay telescope to the clean room (some 500 years down the road from the telescope) where the ASM is stored when it is not used. The ISUZU had an hour free this morning to bring the ASM down the mountain! So I was excited to get the ASM down from the telescope.

It is easier to get time on the Clay telescope than the Isuzu truck…

Yesterday we had a super full day of complex crane and mounting and cabling work (see yesterday’s blog post by Katie). Through it all Juan Gallardo has overseen almost every single mount and dismount of Clio, and NAS, and ASM that we have done over the last 6 years! The safety of MagAO is in great hands with Juan. Thanks Juan!

Juan and Nelson secure the 1040 lb ASM to the Isuzu truck at Clay

I should note that the head mechanics Nelson and Felix are the key people that help Juan with all these crazy difficult tasks. Since Nelson and Felix work different tournos (week long shifts) you never see them together (except at the magical Tuesday morning when the shifts change) so here is the photo of these two amazing individuals below. These are the only guys I trust with wrenches and 5/8th bolts over my optics.

These guys at great
A rare photo of Felix and Nelson head mechanics from each shift -together

Now the ASM is all packed away till the next run. It is nice to being back to doing science with the ASM after all the repairs of the last year.

Here is the ASM packed away in the clean room with help from Charlotte.

Also the NAS was packed away by Jared in the AUX building

The NAS at rest in the AUX building

And Katie put Clio in its special office…

Clio in its personal office in the AUX building

Now Jared and Katie are finally getting some well deserved rest in the LAN VIP lounge (where I’m writing this post).

I remember that photo from the start of this run....
Finally some rest !

And last but not least in honor of our visit ending and going down to the airport the cooks made a going away gift for all…

Our ride….

also it is a well known blog rule that the last post of the run doesn’t need to include a song if posted by the PI (hence no song)

2017A Day 20: All packed up

Last night was our final night on-sky in 2017A. Laird went down around 10pm — hopefully he got to sleep fairly quickly, as he had to be up at 7:30am for a long day’s work. Jared went down around 3am — and he had to be up around lunchtime to help Laird. I’m not needed as much for the dismounting of the instruments (other than Clio), so I was the one to stay up running AO for T.J. and helping him trouble-shoot VisAO. As soon as T.J. recorded his final photons at the end of the night, I shut down the wavefront sensor, the ASM, VisAO, and Clio. Then I disconnected Clio from the telescope, coiling all its wires up for safe transport, and went to bed. Meanwhile, Laird was finishing his breakfast, and came up with the day crew to remove Clio and the ASM from the telescope. Then when Jared woke up he helped Laird de-cable the Nas which they then removed. Finally, I woke up and helped clean up and put away our various tools and sundry. Now it’s 1am and I’m awake enough to post through the struggles of the weak wi-fi in buildings B-9 and B-10.

When I walked up today I saw a herd of 6 guanacos — 4 adults and 2 babies — on the hillside to the East of the road up to the Astronomer’s Support Building. I didn’t have my phone with my so I didn’t get a picture, so I just have to remember what I saw (as my Mom says). One guanaco was especially close to the road, munching on a bush — when I saw it I thought it was Gary Galileo Guanaco — and then I saw the other 5 — if it was him, he’s never brought his family before! The 2 babies were hanging out with 1 adult (their mom?) and as I walked by the first guanaco (Gary?) walked over and stood by them protectively (their dad?). The babies hid behind the other guanaco as I walked by, but they both turned their heads to watch me pass. If your internet is working very well, maybe you can find some baby guanaco pictures.

I am doing laundry right now, and just power-cycled the wi-fi repeater to try and improve the signal in our rooms, to no avail. Yesterday’s song of the day featured a girl singing excellent impressions of (mostly) female pop singers, so for today’s song of the day I have an excellent mash-up of famous songs by 4 female pop singers:

2017A Day 19: La Grande, Grande Araña del Cerro Manqui

We are still talking about spiders today because that thing was huge and scary. But Laird saved us from the spider… or the spider from us…

First here’s Laird’s video he took this afternoon while he was trying to convince it to leave Clay:

And then pix from Jared from last night and Laird from this afternoon:

The saga of the spider. Top and middle: It was really huge. Bottom: Laird shooed it out of Clay with the ASM-protecting roll of Saran wrap. Thanks Laird! T.J. was happy that Clay was safe for one more night of observing.

It’s our last night on the telescope and T.J. enjoyed some nice conditions:

Good seeing, low wind, clear sky, moderate humidity

We’ve done a pretty good job eating Girl Scout cookies this run. Here is the last roll of thin mints:

Tonight the last of the girl scout cookies disappeared. Also I had a delicious guacamole burger!

Vizzy is still hanging about the clean room.

Vizzy looking cute as always.

For the past few days we’ve had songs about fireflies, a preview about spiders, and a song by Shakira. So for my attempt to follow the blog rules, this girl has got it all:
Britney Spears’ “Toxic” (evoking the spiders through the Chilean Rose Tarantula, which is not actually toxic, but it can shoot its spines into your eyes so you should treat it like it’s toxic), Owl City’s “Fireflies”, Shakira’s “Waka Waka/This time for Africa”, as well as bonus Nicki Minaj’s “Where them girls at” and Ke$ha’s “Your love is my drug”!