MagAO-X 2019B Unpacking Day 3: Cabling

Well it was another long but successful day for MagAO-X. We fully integrated the electronics rack with the instrument and began the optical alignment! Impressively, the optical alignment looked almost exactly the way we left it in Tucson. After all that MagAO-X has been through on its way to Chile, we were worried that the inside of MagAO-X would be a mess. However this was not the case, and we were more than pleased by it. We are confident that we will complete the realignment tomorrow and close the loop!

We started the day with our walk up to the “halfway house” at 9:00 am. In the picture below, you can see Jared joined by a friendly goat. Then there’s Kyle catching up, and me not far behind taking the picture.

A typical walk up the hill at Las Campanas Observatory

After some final glycol testing, we started cabling the system. The cables run from the instrument to the electronics rack to power all of our electronics (deformable mirrors, cameras, stages, actuators, etc.).

We completed all of the cabling except for our “Tweeter” deformable mirror (DM), so Laird and I were able to start on the optical alignment.

Laird working on the optical alignment
Looking good!

Here’s a picture of me with the instrument (front view):

Me and MagAO-X from the front

Here’s a picture of Laird with the instrument (back view). From this point of view it sort of looks like a “dollhouse” of optics. That makes it sound a lot simpler than it looks!

Laird and MagAO-X from the back

Finally, we began cabling the 2,048 actuator DM. This is the part that took us the longest, since cabling 2,000 wires is no easy task. This took multiple iterations in order to make sure all of the pins were aligned with the Samtec Connectors.

Kyle mounting the DM cables to the Samtec Connectors
El completo!
The fully cabled MagAO-X system

And so that marks the end of a long day for MagAO-X. Tomorrow we may finally close the loop for the first time in Chile!

Just another beautiful sunset at Las Campanas Observatory

The song of the day is going to be Moonlight Serenade, by Glenn Miller:

MagAO-X 2019B Unpacking Day 1: The Unpackening

So it’s finally time to write my first blog post! My name is Alex Hedglen and I’m a 3rd year Optical Sciences PhD student at the University of Arizona! I’ve been involved with MagAO-X for the past couple of years, mainly helping Laird with the optomechanical design and alignment of the instrument. My first year project was to design a compact K-mirror (A.K.A. “derotator”) for MagAO-X, which you may see a blog post for in the future!

This is my first time here at LCO, and so far I am loving it. Clear skies every day, mountains as far as the eye can see, telescopes, amazing food, and fellow astronomers to geek out with…you really could not find a better place to do astronomy. It’s “astronomy wonderland” up here.

Today we unpacked MagAO-X, and it went very well. All that engineering and planning really came into effect today. We started the day with a group meeting at 9:00am, with PI Jared Males going over the unpacking procedures for the day.

PI Jared Males going over the unpacking procedures with the LCO mechanics.

The first step of the day was to unpack the electronics rack, which we brought inside the unpacking room yesterday. Immediately after we started lifting the box, the crane broke down! But luckily the LCO mechanics fixed it within the hour, so we were right back on track.

The electronics rack was left in this position when the crane broke!
The electronics rack was successfully lifted upright after the crane was fixed!
LCO mechanics removing the electronics rack from the box.
PI Jared Males is happy to see his electronics arrive safely to LCO.
Electronics rack stored safely in the clean room to give space for MagAO-X.

Once the electronics rack was safely unpacked, it was time to bring in MagAO-X! The instrument was left outside overnight, so once the electronics rack was out of the way, MagAO-X was brought inside.

MagAO-X entering the unpacking room.
The front box panel was unmounted first.
The instrument was rotated and the box was lifted onto 4 dollies.
The MagAO-X cart was assembled around the instrument.
The cart was used to lift the instrument off of the wire-rope-isolators.
The legs were rolled under MagAO-X.
The cart was disassembled and taken away from MagAO-X.
Welcome to LCO MagAO-X!

With MagAO-X unpacked by 5:00pm and no optical damage noticed, everyone is feeling pretty good. PI Jared Males will sleep well tonight! Tomorrow we will start getting MagAO-X up to speed. Kyle and Jared will work on the electronics while Laird and I work on the optomechanics.

Another beautiful sunset with the MagAO-X shipping crates.
Viscacha also watching the sunset.

Since the song of the day has to relate to the previous blog post’s song of the day, we’re gonna hit it one more time with Britney Spears: