2015A Day 39: Don’t you have anything 8th magnitude or brighter?

Imagine you’ve got an invisible treasure in a shopping cart with two broken wheels. You’re blindfolded, and you can only keep the treasure if you can push the broken cart to an exact location on a giant noodle flopping in the wind. That’s MagAO/Clio spectroscopy.

Since I want to take spectra of “faint” companions to nearby young stars, I have to carefully set the angle of my targets to be parallel to the slit. The slit angle changes a lot.

What angle should you rotate your binary?
The slit position, angle and offset, is not repeatable

Throw clouds and power-outages into the mix, and suddenly trying to limp a star onto a moving target becomes quite the challenge.

I did get some good photometric data and perhaps some usable spectra. I’ll have to wait and see how the spectra turn out.

Maybe I’ll learn to compile target lists of 0th magnitude stars and observe without the rotator. But until then, I’ll be pushing instruments to their limits!

Here’s a video of the Clio Slit:

And here’s a video of Clio’s star nudger:

Edit by the Blog Administrators to comply with The 2015A Blog Rules:

Dress classy, Dance cheesy.

2014B Day 21: A tale of two seeings

I go back down the mountain and begin my journey home tomorrow. I had a successful night and a half with some pretty good seeing, and I’m quite pleased with my data. As Jared mentioned 2 posts ago, my observations required pushing Clio and the MagAO system to their limits. While we identified a few hang-ups (under-powered stage motors…), most of the observing proceeded pretty well. I present this video as a rebuttal to Jared’s Captain Jack video:

(If the video doesn’t load for you, click here.)

Pretty much sums up my experience.

In addition to having some good data in-hand, I’m also excited that I now have a much more well defined algorithm/approach to observing in prism mode with MagAO/clio2. A big thanks to Katie for her help in developing the prism mode routine: future runs will be as efficient as possible.

Also thanks to Jared for his help in bypassing the normal active-optics steps at the telescope. I got on sky an extra 30 mins early and was able to add an important target.

I’m just hanging out tonight since my time is done. Kate and Jared divided the night. While Kate waited for her targets to rise, Jared was observing with visAO. The stars aligned for Kate, it seems:

scren grab of a screen grab
Seeing vs. Time

Other events include the arrival of Kim from Santiago and the consumption of the last coconut cookie.

I went for a walk and found some pretty purple flowers.

remind me of some orange ones I see in Tucson
found these on a walk

I’m obliged to include a song. Since I’m leaving tomorrow, how about this one:

2014A Day 9: A Blue World

Hello everybody, I’ve been enlisted to write the blog post tonight. I take it that I’m supposed to post a picture of a horse:

The daily horse picture, today with domes and Jordan.

To get started, here’s a few images from last night’s engineering. The first is a VisAO image of Baade’s window. Check out all of those stars!

VisAO is able to detect many faint stars within 3″ of this 8th magnitude star in Baade’s window. The faintest stars shown are z’=21.5

Next, here’s  a picture of an asteroid and its little satellite.

MagAO resolves the main-belt asteroid 45 Eugenia, and detects its satellite, the Petit prince. Non-sidereal tracking is facilitated by the AO system.

We also did a bit of engineering on Clio’s spectroscopic mode. Here’s the dispersed L-band image of an A-star. The prism provides R~200.

We spent some time engineering the spectrometer mode yesterday in preparation for tomorrow’s science time. This L-band spectrum of an A star shows 3 Airy rings.
VisAO got into the Brown Dwarf companion game tonight too. This is a z’ image of a BD companion well inside 1″ from its star. The only image processing was unsharp mask and smoothing.

Lot’s of thin cirrus clouds in the sky, but the AO loop remained closed for most of the night. We did lose some time when the power went down briefly in the dome. Everything restarted smoothly and not too much time was lost.

I hope these clouds leave, science time starts tomorrow!

Tonight’s song is, according to Jared, the official VisAO theme song. I present it here in honor of the beautiful blue images produced by VisAO: