MagAO-X 2023A Day 5: Aligned and well

Today Laird and I continued alignment on MagAO-X with some frustration but ultimately success. The MKIDS team has provided us (among other additions) with a new dichroic that has made a nice addition to the instrument.

Keeping up with MagAO-X fashion to consistently sneak new things onto the table in fun mechanical ways!

Occasional robotic and sometimes chipmunk-like sound bites were heard around the cleanroom today, indicating that MagAO-X may be soon equipped with some auditory additions…

Laird and I (now sometimes referred to as Lardy and Eva) will be freed from our bubbles tomorrow as long as we pass our nose-swabbing tests in the morning. This means I can very soon visit my good friend the espresso machine! Non-bubbled members got to enjoy a visit from Carlos the culpeo at the lodge.

Perhaps looking for leftovers.

Not to worry, vizzy activity near the cleanroom has kept all members happy – bubbled or not.

Vizzy enjoying sunset at the ASB with a nice view of the Baade in the background.

Some of my favorite mountain dwellers were spotted by the PI today as well.

My kind of caravan.

Group members Warren and Sebastiaan are en route to LCO so we will have new familiar faces arriving soon!

Song of the day is brought to you by Melanie:

This song was introduced to me by both my dad and aunt in conjunction I suppose. Back in the days of cds, my dad’s sister burned a cd for him with some of his favorites and songs they had shared a likeness for growing up together. This charmer made it on that cd and was played nearly every morning by my dad – quite loudly through the house – in order to encourage my brother and I out of bed to get to school on time. On that same cd you can find the song I was named after (I’ll let you guess the title) by Roxy Music. Both of these have found their way onto my personal playlists, and sometimes help me get out of bed in the morning to this day.

MagAO-X 2022B Day 25: The Journey to Ruby Tuesdays

Today the rest of the MagAO-X crew left LCO to return to our respective destinations!

Slightly sleep deprived and ready for 30+ hours of travel

Eden, Jared, and I got to visit the La Recova Market down in La Serena on our way out, where we found lots of fun Chilean items.

Alpaca memorabilia galore

We are now waiting for our flights back to the states, enjoying some Ruby Tuesdays.

Lemonades all around

We are excited to get home, as it has been a long few weeks for all of us! Look forward to an upcoming blog regarding Las Campanas cuisine, and until then – I provide the song of the day.


MagAO-X 2022B Day 22: The Last Loop for 2022

Tonight marks the end of our time on sky for the 2022B run. Though we have had a bit of a rough week of seeing, humidity, etc., tonight we scored some decent conditions and got to do some of the science we’ve all been eager to do.

Logan is hunting for white dwarfs, and may have found/confirmed a few ‘little guys’ tonight!
Someone’s being followed by a moon shadow…

Eden and Alycia got to visit the 100″ down the hill from the Magellans this afternoon. I would have gone with them but had a final to study for!

The 100″ Irenee du Pont Telescope

Jared also made friends with a LCO resident.

And Carla has returned with more astronomer snacks!

I can confirm both are quite tasty.

We forgot to take a group photo at the beginning of the night, and failed to all be located in the same place at once this morning – so we will take a victory photo for you viewers in the near future.

I had to do it, the song of the day:

MagAO-X 2022B Day 17: An Excellent Day for Atmosphere Watching

Tonight we experienced seeing values that made certain lab members say “Oh lord!”, or “I thought we were taking darks”.

Seeing is -quite literally- off the charts

Unfortunately for tonight’s observers, we had to close the telescope early. Not only was seeing making it quite impossible to produce any useful data, but the TO went outside at about 4am and noticed condensation on the sides of the building.

Nonetheless, the night was not a waste as we got to squeeze in a bit of Engineering and were able to use our lab source to continue testing after the dome had closed. Dr. Sebastiaan Haffert and I have been working on a knife edge Lyot coronagraph (inspired by him and fabricated by me), and we got to take our first on-sky data with this earlier in the night. Not only was it exciting to see my handy work in action, but I even got to close a tip/tilt control loop on the reflected psf!

Etched, coated, and lithography doted!

Before the night began, we got to enjoy our last sunset with SO PhD student Jailin (she heads back to the States this morning) and our first sunset with Dr. Alycia Weinberger.

Always candid!
I swear there was actually a green flash this time…

Shortly after sundown, P.I. Dr. Males was able to capture a pretty cool shot of the Clay primary as it was aiming low on the horizon.

Those stars are a reflection off of the 6.5m primary mirror. The telescope isn’t usually pointed so low as to where you can capture a viewing like this.

Thank you for reading my short and sweet update. We leave you, as always, with the song of the day!

MagAO-X 2022B Day 8: Our Last Day Without MagAO-X

MagAO-X is coming to LCO! We received news late last night that the trucker strike that has left our team on the mountain with no instrument has come to a conclusion. MagAO-X is scheduled to arrive tomorrow morning/early afternoon wherein our team will be eager to greet it and start preparing for out first night on sky (Dec. 2).

In other news, non-bubbled members of the team enjoyed sorting pants and watching the USA vs. Iran match of the World Cup in the lodge.

You can’t have the blues in blue-jeans!
Go team USA!

Eden, Jialin and I tried to escape bubble mode early this morning, accidentally making our way to the medical tent for bubble-ending covid tests a day too early. Upon realizing the medical tent wasn’t open and checking the informational email after we made it to the bottom of the hill, we chalked the experience up to a good way to get the blood moving before returning to our rooms to continue on our coursework expeditions. We did however return to the great outdoors for another walk after lunch, this time visiting the Magellan telescopes.

Jialin’s first encounter with a 3m+ sized telescope.

Per tradition the team met up outside of the dorms for sunset, tonight’s being accompanied by some lovely cloud formations.

There are more mountains out there somewhere.
True candids are the best candids.

And last but certainly not least, Dr. Laird Close spotted our cleanroom Vizzy this afternoon!

MagAO-X must certainly be on its way now!

To end my first blog post of the trip, I leave you with the song of the day.