MagAO-C 2019B Day 13: TUS home

MagAO-Classic has landed in TUS. This is the last MagAO-C 2019B post.

Here we are at the baggage claim in Tucson. We all made it and so did our bags! [Image description: Katie, Amali, Emily, and Laird are all smiling at the camera, we look happy to be reunited with Tucson and our luggage.]

And I am currently surrounded by cats, who are much better snugglers than vizcachas.

Spot the vizcacha.

Spot the vizcacha. [Image description a brown bunny-looking thing hidden on a brown hillside with some brown rocks and brown grasses and brown scraggly bushes in the reddish glow of sunset on my last night.]

On the day we left I checked that everything was safely stowed.

Clio and the NAS safely stored in the Aux. [Image description: A round black metal circle covers the NAS with its electronic boxes sticking out above like Mickey Mouse ears. Clio sits on its cart, with its electronics rack beside. Very important MagAO tools are also stored here.]

Amali said goodbye to her rock garden.

Amali with the rocks. [Image description: Amali is crouched down to put the finishing touches on an orderly arrangement of ~inch-sized rocks varying in color from black to orangey-red, next to the sidewalk by her room.]

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.

Roadside shrine [Image description: A tiny house with a saint inside, and a cross and 2 Chilean flags outside. Along the road, with desert-y-looking brown/dry landscape and some hills in the background.]

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.

Jared, Amali, and Emily work to set up for the last night in the Clay control room. (Amali is there, you can find her.) [Image description: Clay control room, with walls of monitors, and AOistas sitting at desks and computers, working away.]
Jared giving Amali and Emily a tour of MagAO-X. [Image description: Everyone is wearing clean-room coats and hairnets; Jared is also wearing a face and beard mask. Jared is pointing at the back of the optics doll house while Amali and Emily look on.]
Good bye Clay and LCO, you did a great job! [Image description: The Izuzu that takes the ASM down the hill to the clean room is parked at the Clay telescope awaiting its cargo.]

The song of the day: Taylor Swift’s Perfect Fight Song by Andy Wu Musicland featuring Pink, Ellie Goulding, and Rachel Platten:

MagAO-C Day 11: Clay to clean room

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.

Sunset called for some frisbee. [Image description: In the pink glow of sunset, a pink PI throws a flying disk towards the photographer. The Baade dome is basked in a warm sunsetting glow, and the mountains are shown in high relief]
Vizzy and a local bird at sunset, one basking up the sun, one sheltering in shadow. [Image description: A vizcacha in the light, a bird in a shadow, sitting on some rocks and masonry structure.]
Here’s a fox from last week. No reason. [Image description: A fox on the road by the dining hall.]

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?)

MagAO-C 2019B Day 10: Last Closed Loop

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.

Emily, Amali, Jared, and Katie enjoying the last catwalk sunset of MagAO-C 2019B. [Image description: 4 AOistas smile in the soft light of sunset.]

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.

Katie, Alberto, and Amali in the Clay control room. [Image description: A Clio/VisAO operator, a telescope operator, and an AO operator sit in chairs and examine electronic screens, in a control room filled with screens.]
It was a 2-vizcacha day at the clean room this afternoon! Here is a close-up of Vizzy 1 in a cute pose. [Image description: A vizcacha sits up on its hindquarters, on a rafter beam, with its fuzzy tail hanging down. Its ears are back and its paws are held out in front of it.]

The song of the day is Gangnam Style by Psy:

MagAO-C 2019B Day 9: Amali wins the blog (again)

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:

Jared gives the citation and Amali graciously accepts the award [Image description: Amali and Jared stand on the Clay catwalk with the setting sun behind them. Amali is holding a metal item.]
Here is the blog award close-up. [Image description: The metal item turns out to be a failed hard drive from the adsec supervisor computer, the very computer that Alpaca was impersonating in IP address. Writing on the harddrive in black sharpie in Jared’s handwriting says “adsecsup / Failed, replaced / 11/15/15”. The harddrive has been decorated with the 2019B Mission Patch sticker, and labeled “MagAO 2019B Blog Award / Awarded to Amali Vaz / 2019/11/11 [not shown]”.]

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 MagAO-C and MagAO-X teams and observer: Emily, Katie, Laird, Kyle, Jared, Amali, Joseph, Alex (v. 2.0), and Blake. [Image description: A group of AOistas stand on the Clay catwalk in front of the setting sun]. Photo by Alberto Pasten.
Blake didn’t get to do his targets to the North because of the wind. Also, the seeing got pretty non-LCO-ish at the end of the night, with a couple spikes above 1.5”. [Image description: Screen grab of the LCO weather plot showing seeing, temperature, wind, and pressure vs. time.]
Moon set at dawn. [Image description: Foreground: A ridge with telescopes. Background: Purple mountains majesty. Sky: Band of Venus, orange of dawn, and Full moon setting.]

The song of the day is Michael Franti & Spearhead – Say Hey I Love You — a classic from MagAO 2015B:

MagAO-C 2019B Day 5: Alycia and the Baysides

Tonight was Alycia’s first night. I told Emily it would be more relaxed than last night with all Jayne’s weird rotations because Alycia’s observations are more in MagAO’s wheelhouse — Alycia is searching for faint companions; keeping the rotator off for ADI mode; and is a Clio and general observational expert. But… hah.

So on the first Pre-set of the night, the Bayside-X stage decided to not work. There are 3 “Bayside” stages — they are the motors that move the AO system around so that the star is always on the tip of the pyramid WFS even when the star needs to be nodded around the detector on Clio for sky subtraction. We have replaced the X and Y stages with higher-power versions after we had observers who wanted to keep the rotator on and tracking, which caused the stages to overheat and fail. So I wonder if it’s a coincidence that we spent all last night with the rotator on, putting weight on the X-stage, and then tonight the X-stage refused to move…

Laird and Jared are now on pseudo-day schedules (see Alex’s great MagAO-X post about the unpacking today!) but this happened at the start of the night so Laird was still at the summit and Jared was down in the clean room with MagAO-X but he came up to help post-mortem. Laird went out to the platform with a walkie-talkie and we did the usual dance of moving the motors from the control room and Laird telling us what he saw or heard in the Nas. The current would spike but the motor wouldn’t move. Small movements and homing didn’t work; eventually we power-cycled them and in the end the X-stage did start responding again.

WFS hardware GUI, on the Bayside Stages tab. Each stage can be moved manually here, and the position is reported in mm and current in amps. The Bayside X and Y stages nod in Y and X on Clio, respectively, and the Bayside Z stage moves the W-unit towards or away from Clio, effectively producing a focus movement for Clio. Amali edited the code to enable “Control always active” on the X-stage after a nod rather than “Stage” (brakes). [Image description: A GUI on a Linux computer with status and function boxes and buttons.]

But Laird heard a noise that made him think there was some friction affecting the motion of the X-stage. Since the stage worked normally after the power-cycle, we started thinking about all the work we have done on the Baysides over the years. Originally we used the setting “Control always active” as that would position them precisely to the micron. But this was thought to contribute to the over-heating problem when we had high currents at strange rotator angles with all the weight of the instrument on the Y-stage. So we swapped the original out for the higher-power version, but we also started applying the brakes and turning off the active control after each move (“Stage” check box). But now we are thinking… maybe the brakes themselves are starting to fail, and the friction was the X-stage rubbing along its own brake. So tonight, Amali went into the code and reverted the procedure for the X-stage to now enable “Control always active” rather than enabling “Stage” (applying the brakes) after each move. And all stages worked perfectly for the rest of the night.

This is the “Board GUI” that shows the current state of the various subsystems on the W-unit, which includes the WFS (left) and VisAO (right). The rectangle at the bottom shows the current position of the pyramid with respect to the telescope center. The Bayside X, Y, and Z positions are listed. The entire W-unit is moved relative to Clio when we move the Bayside motors. [Image description: An optical diagram of the WFS and VisAO. Light from the telescope comes in from the top center, goes through the ADCs, and then is split by the selectable beamsplitter such that some portion goes to the right to VisAO and some portion goes to the left to the WFS. The WFS arm includes a rerotator that keeps the pupils aligned to the actuators, and a camera lens that keeps the pupils registered to the pixels on the CCD39. The VisAO arm includes science filters. Below the optical diagram is a rectangle with cross-hairs and a red dot showing the relative position of the pyramid.]

After Jared and Laird went to bed, at one point our TO Alberto went down to get some coffee, and I snapped this pic of the all-women control room. What a big difference from when I was the “Only Girl In the World” at LCO!

Astronomers hard at work. From left: Alycia, Logan, Emily, Amali. [Image description: Alycia is on her phone (don’t worry, Clio and VisAO are actively taking data). Logan is analyzing some data on her laptop. Emily is studying the telescope system to make sure she understands the big picture of MagAO. Amali is on her laptop debugging MagAO software, probably the FITS headers of Clio that aren’t being fully populated with the correct AO parameters.]
Vizzy by the library on my way up to the top. [Image description: A Vizcacha sits on a window ledge in the diffuse glow of pre-sunset.]
The Clay telescope at sunrise. [Image description: Photo taken from slightly downhill of Clay, the dome is to the side glinting in the sunrise while the sky has a beautiful stripey glow.]
Walking back to the village at dawn. [Image description: A cluster of terracotta-roofed buildings down a slope with a winding road. Beautiful mountains and hills. Quiet and still.]
The telescope ridges at dawn. [Image description: A stripey glow on the horizon. A mountain peak and a ridge are both covered in telescopes that are closed up to sleep for the day.]

Classic MagAO song from Day 40 of the super long cold winter run with so many technical problems and such long nights that I actually worked, really worked, 112 hours a week (trouble-shooting all afternoon, observing all night, and choosing each day either a shower or dinner): This Must Be the Place/ Naive Melody by the Talking Heads: