MagAO-X 2024Aa Day 14: A Happy Accident

Every MagAO-X morning begins with a hearty breakfast.

Jialin and Logan enjoying their pigs in a duvet. Jialin constructs a finderscope.
Jay constructs a breakfast hot dog.
Sebastiaan makes an interesting face.

Following a scrumptious meal and a full night of observing, I entered hibernation.


While I was in my state of low activity, the other group members observed a wild horse and some Vizzies.

“If I were meant to be controlled, I would have come with a remote.” ~ A common wild horse quote
A high pixel count Viz.


I emerged from a long day’s slumber just in time for dinner. Unfortunately there were no food action shots this time.

Eden had an opportunity to experience the LCO flora and fauna before heading back up to the telescope.

The culprit.
A PSA from the desk of Eden ‘Sparkles’ McEwen: Cacti do not make a good chair substitute.

Tonight’s observing run got off to a bit of a dramatic start when the operator discovered a strong amount of coma on the telescope. Although I forgot to collect photographic evidence of the events that immediately followed, I constructed an artistic depiction for everyone’s benefit.

Trouble at the telescope!

After we recovered from the early evening drama, the night progressed very smoothly. In fact, things were going so well that Jared began regaling some MagAO-Xers with tales from his seafaring youth.

“When I was a young warthog…”

And then…a happy accident occurred! Twins!!!!!

We discovered two companions within this image. Can you spot them? Hint: Look to the upper left.

To close out this fine day (or evening…I have lost all sense of time), I have included a song by my high school band (per Jialin’s request) that I feel is aptly named.

Song of the Day:

MagAO-X 2024Aa Day 2: The stars are (almost) aligned.

Gary Guanaco gazing into the abyss.
Gary werkin’ it for the camera.

Hello and welcome to my first ever blog post! Day 2 began with yet another Gary sighting–our good luck charm for the DM cabling and optical alignment to come. Following our daily dosage of guanaco, we got to work in the clean room.

Me wearing sunglasses in the lab because the future of MagAO-X is looking bright (they were actually hiding the heavy bags underneath my eyes).
Jared debugging a USB issue before we could start DM cabling.

Here at the MagAO-X secondary HQ, we always make sure to ground ourselves (both physically and emotionally) prior to handling expensive electronics.

Eden and Katie checking their grounding wires.
DM cabling requires a lot of concentration. This exercise is not for the faint of heart.

While the MagAO-X youth were hard at work cabling, Maggie and Laird were busy prepping the optical table for its lengthy stay on the Magellan telescope.

Maggie installing velocity sensors underneath the optical table. These sensors will help to keep the table stabilized when it experiences wind at the telescope.

Following a busy morning of cabling, some of us took a short-ish break to veg out in the Magellan library, while others remained busy at work.

Sebastiaan, Maggie, and Katie enjoy the peace and quiet of the Magellan library.
Jared got very upset with the observatory for replacing the cereal in the break room with nuts.

By late afternoon, the optics were aligned and the DMs were cabled, allowing us to close the loop! Laird, in particular, was very excited.

Jared closing the loop at 2kHz with 2400 modes as Laird looks on.
Our first on-off AO loop video of the 2024 Aa run! Narration by Laird.
A happy instrument makes for a happy Laird.

With the AO loop closed and the majority of the day’s work completed, we had ample opportunities to enjoy the sunset amongst our furry friends at LCO.

Katie and Eden taking a sunset selfie.
Bizzy–a busy viscacha.
YACS (Yet Another Carlos Sighting).
A slice of pie because today is Pi Day (I wasn’t going to forget).
Closing out a productive day 2 at LCO.

Tomorrow, we begin our instrument calibrations. Stay tuned!

Song of the Day:

Letting the Cables Sleep by Bush