Congratulations to Dr. Miller, MagAO-X’s newly minted PhD!

This is a late post, but on November 16, 2018, Kelsey Miller successfully defended her Ph.D. dissertation! Congratulations, Dr. Miller!

Kelsey and her Ph.D. Committee – Olivier, Jared, and Michael

Kelsey’s research is on Linear Dark Field Control (LDFC), a focal plane wavefront sensing technique where she monitors the bright field speckles and uses their linear nature to maintain stability in the dark hole. She has been developing LDFC using the MagAO-X pupil and vAPP coronagraph design. You can learn more about Kelsey’s work in LDFC (JATIS, arXiv) and how LDFC will work with MagAO-X (SPIE, arXiv).

Kelsey is off to cooler climates at Leiden Observatory in the Netherlands, who have been our collaborators with the vAPP coronagraph. She will be a postdoctoral researcher with Frans Snik, continuing her work on LDFC to get it working on sky. We will miss you tremendously!

MagAO-X @ SPIE Astronomical Telescopes + Instrumentation 2018

This past week, the MagAO-X team attended the SPIE Astronomical Telescopes + Instrumentation conference in Austin, TX. Here’s a recap of all of our presentations at the conference.

Let’s start off with the talks. Jared kicked off our presentation collection with a talk on the MagAO-X update:

Starting it off with the MagAO-X PI

Laird gave an update on MagAO:

We love MagAO!

Kelsey gave a fantastic talk on the vAPP for MagAO-X and Linear Dark Field Control:

Kelsey’s awesome presentation with excellent use of pictures

Lauren gave an awesome talk on her PyWFS PYRITE sims:

Lauren’s talk stepped through PyWFS really well, great job!

Justin presented PIAACMC designs for SCExAO/GMT/MagAO-X:

Despite being the last talk of the conference, it still had great attendance!

The rest of us had poster presentations:

Joseph presented on his CLIO data analysis
Maggie presented on her work with the MagAO-X kinematic mounts
Alex R (v1.0) presented his simulations work on Fraizen’s paper
Rachel Morgan (MIT) presented her work using the data Ewan collected with MagAO on 2017B
Alex H (v2.0) presented his work with the MagAO-X K-mirror mount
Laird presented the MagAO-X optomechanical design
Kyle presented his work characterizing the MagAO-X DMs
Jhen presented her work using POPPY to characterize the MagAO-X and LGS testbeds
Jared made a poster for GMagAO-X

Here’s some shenanigans from the conference and in Austin:

Jared’s talk crashed several times once during his presentation. It turns out, LibreOffice and the SPIE talk upload system disagree with each other, particularly with how to handle Lauren’s 700 KB flaming logo. When transitioning to the next talk, MagAO-X refused to leave the screen.

Free advertisement for MagAO-X!

According to Laird, later in the week, Lauren’s MagAO-X logo came back to shutdown another talk. The computer tried to “recover” Jared’s talk and so the solution was to kill it outright. MagAO-X came back with a vengeance it seems.

Laird is the best science dad

In accordance to the SPIE Astronomical Telescopes + Instrumentation 2016 conference, this time Jared and Olivier were sitting together as opposed to being in the same room at the same time:

They showed up together for Kelsey’s talk!

Despite the heat and humidity, Austin was a great conference location.

I observed some Texas locals
Sunset dinner by the Colorado River
I did the millennial thing and ate avocado toast for brunch one day

And so concludes SPIE Astronomical Telescopes + Instrumentation 2018. It was a fantastic time seeing everyone, meeting new people, attending talks, and presenting research. To close off, here’s a quote from the MagAO-X PI:

Jared: “All deficiencies in your presentations have been noted and will be addressed in due course.”

Greetings from LBTI AO!

UA’s fall semester is done and the campus is nice and quiet. This means… time for an LBTI run!

I’m posting from the LBTI AO remote room in Steward Observatory. I’m helping out with driving the first shift AO for 3 nights. LBTI has two eyeballs (to use Amali’s terminology), so it requires 1 AO operator per eyeball. Tonight, I’m on SX (left eyeball).

Yesterday was the first night of the run and we were closed out due to nasty humidity. The best value last night was 99.8%. There was rain over the weekend and the clouds didn’t clear out until today.

Tonight is the second night of the run and it’s been going pretty well (so far)! I’m pretty rusty with the AO, so Amali has been bringing me back to speed. Amali made a really awesome cheat sheet for AO operations, and it’s been extremely helpful. Data collecting began at 6:30 PM. It’s been a smooth run so far with seeing below 1″ and very few problems. Hopefully this sets the tone for the rest of the run.

Clear skies ready for tonight!

The best part of observing is in the snacking. We have some fringe cookies as a good luck charm for getting null fringes. We also have these really good star sandwich cookies, just like how LBTI works!

Holiday cookies are best cookies.

We also saw something strange on the all sky cam!

CIA UFO sighting?

Anyways, a Christmas post is not complete without showing MagAO-X’s festive cheer! We have Christmas stockings pinned up on the board in front of the MagAO-X PI’s office. Isn’t it super cute???

Next year, we’ll have a fireplace, too.

And of course, a quote for tonight:
Phil: What’s going to happen to the observation run when the fringe cookies are gone?

Good luck LBTI on the rest of your run! Have a very merry christmas, everyone! Until the next blog post. 🙂