In the days of MagAO-Classic, I would write daily blog posts 3-5 times per week. By the time we got to Day 29 in the run I would be so exhausted I was grateful for anyone to write blog posts. Now the tables have turned and here I am, belatedly showing up on the blog after a month on the mountain at home!
OK so what have I actually been working on? Well, the above picture is actually relevant.
Adaptive Optics (AO) for Exoplanets can be done in various different ways. One difference is the type of Deformable Mirror (DM) you use to control the wavefront. You can use an Adaptive Secondary Mirror (ASM) for better sensitivity to planets that are brighter in infrared (heat) wavelengths. Or you can use a Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) for better sensitivity to planets that are reflecting the light of their stars (like our Moon reflects our Sun).
MagAO-Classic uses an ASM, and while it has been successful with both infrared planets with Clio and visible-light planets with VisAO, its sensitivity was limited in the visible. Therefore MagAO-eXtreme uses a MEMS, for more precise wavefront control that allows for better sensitivity to reflected-light planets.
I have worked with both MEMS and ASM DMs. In ancient times (pre-Classical) I characterized many iterations of MEMS DMs for the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI), including holding the positions and monitoring what they do over time:
MagAO-X has a similar but more modern MEMS, and my expertise has come in handy. Now in the post-classical world I’m PI of the “MAPS” instrument (MMT AO exoPlanet characterization System). MAPS is using an ASM that we are building ourselves at Arizona. We are in the lab-testing phase and AmaliVaz (click to read her award-winning blog posts) is running similar tests of actuator stability on the MAPS ASM:
The MAPS ASM project was initially led by the original MagAO-C/Clio PI, Phil Hinz. He has moved to a new job to lead the Laboratory for Adaptive Optics (where the above MEMS work was done) and I am now PI of both MAPS and Clio. So this project has been a way back into DM and actuator characterization. Let’s look at some more pictures.
The song of the day is a Classic (that can be pushed to the eXtreme) that I first learned in high school band, Malagueña. I present a study of some of my favorite versions. First the Drum & Bugle Core version, representing ancient history:
Then the classical guitar version, a Classic:
Finally, a special treat, Fuego Malagueña by Esteban featuring Teresa Joy, is the eXtreme version:
MagAO-Classic has landed in TUS. This is the last MagAO-C 2019B post.
And I am currently surrounded by cats, who are much better snugglers than vizcachas.
Spot the vizcacha.
On the day we left I checked that everything was safely stowed.
Amali said goodbye to her rock garden.
We headed down the hill at 8:30am Chile time and got home to Tucson around 11am MST for a total of about 31 hours travel time.
The flowers were blooming at El Pino and the new dorms for our mid-day rest were really very lovely and extremely comfortable:
We saw Tyson in LSC and heard he had a nice stay at Hotel Enjoy. He was on the same SCL-DFW flight and was nice enough to get me into the club in SCL and Laird in DFW. It was nice seeing you Tyson, hope you made it home safely too!
Overall this was a good run, I think Emily did a great job learning MagAO and Amali did great working with her and refreshing her memory on the LBTI compare/contrast differences.
The song of the day: Taylor Swift’s Perfect Fight Song by Andy Wu Musicland featuring Pink, Ellie Goulding, and Rachel Platten:
Last night went great. Now today MagAO-Classic has been removed from Clay to the Aux and the clean room. Night schedules are switching to day schedules. It was a 3-viscacha day at the clean room and many NSF proposals have been worked on, and SPIE abstracts have been drafted and submitted to the extend possible.
Now it’s time for more proposaling and some packing too, so I leave you with the MagAO-Classic song of the day: Ylvis – The Fox (What Does The Fox Say?)
Tonight was our last night on-sky with MagAO-Classic in 2019B. It was my telescope night, and Amali ran AO after Emily went to bed around midnight. Tomorrow’s the big day for removing MagAO-C from the telescope, so we always do these staggered bedtimes. It’s nice to have Amali and Emily here to help with removal.
Alberto stayed an extra night with the rest of his turno, so this is the first time we’ve had him as our TO for the entire run. Thanks Alberto, you are a superlative telescope operator! Here are Alberto, Amali, and myself enjoying a quiet night of photon-gathering.
Amali’s blog post about the saga of the Alpaca was another creative expository piece that tonight we had a ceremony to award her the 2019B MagAO-C blog award:
Tomorrow there will be a general strike throughout much of Chile. The turno (shift changeover) that was supposed to happen will be postponed until Wednesday. That means those who hoped to go home tomorrow must stay 1 more day. We wish our colleagues all the best — they are all extremely professional and we truly appreciate working with them here.
The song of the day is Michael Franti & Spearhead – Say Hey I Love You — a classic from MagAO 2015B: