MagAO Commissioning Day 9 – Nighttime Edition: Incorporating Clio

Today was a busy day, and we began splitting MagAO’ers into day and night crew.  See Derek’s awesome post for the bulk of the day’s tasks: aligning the CRO and ASM.

The next major happening was mounting Clio to the NAS.  Even though we didn’t play the theme from Top Gun as we did it (sorry Phil!), it was an exciting moment.  This is the first time our infrared camera officially met our optical camera and our AO system!  They are together at the telescope at last!

Clio, VisAO, W-unit, Nas, ASM, Clay: So happy together!

Here’s how it happened:

Removing Clio from the support cart with the crane — under PI Phil's watchful care
Attaching Clio to the NAS ring — under Phil's watchful care
Clio at the Nas, flanked by Phil and Katie
Left: Phil and Clio instrument. Right: Clio electronics rack and Phil.

Phil, Katie, and Laird then aligned Clio’s cold pupil stops to the ASM.

Heave-ho: Shimming Clio to align the cold stops
How's it look, Phil?

LCO crew were busy as always, making everything work smoothly for the run.  Here, Mauricio brings up LN2 to fill Clio’s dewar, and Pato optimizes the PID loop that rotates the Nas while the telescope tracks and slews:

Mauricio brings up LN2 to the Nas platform to fill the Clio dewar
Pato feels for vibrations as he optimizes the PID loop tracking and slewing the Nas rotater


Alfio: “What is this mirror cover?”
Laird: “Oh you’re so cute Alfio.”

Phil:  “I don’t lean on Clio.”

Phil:  “Used to be, we only had 1 actuator.”

Povilas: “Can 14 mm be considered a shim? That’s more like a structural member.”

Simone has a key to Galileo's house.

Katie: “Hey Jared, how’s it going with the CRO?”
Jared: “I dunno. It’s all in Italian.”

Jared: “The number of Illuminati asking me questions is daunting.” (That would be Simone Esposito himself, as well as suspected members Laird, Phil, and Armando — see our paper for more info.)



Jared: “I’m pretty sure I would throw myself off the catwalk if Armando thought it would help.

MagAO Commissioning Day 8: Shim shine.

Today was the first day with all the big guns:

From left: Laird Povilas Simone Phil Armando

We shimmed the ASM to put it in the middle of the range for collimation and focus.

Laird checking the shim calculations

Alfio and Jared tested the Bayside stages for collisions with the telescope — all clear.

Screen shot of VisAO working on the Clay telescope. This is our 1 micron PSF behind our occulting spot.

Phil has been checking Clio out in the clean room, testing the motors, homing, and taking internal pinhole images.

ASM (upper left) and as viewed through the NAS

Tonight – Povilas is working on the pointing model for the telescope.

This is to satisfy requests from our various mothers to see the dorms.


Derek: And then we make a real-time Zemax model.  I was born for this.

Laird: Hey Jared… while you’re looking at the blog… remember to look at your data!

MagAO Commissioning Day 6: To Shim Or Not To Shim

Today was almost a terrifying, cutting-into-the-ASM kind of day… but a bit of organizing and sparing saved the day! See Marco’s lively post for the gory details — but we can now talk to the ASM from the control computer!!!  🙂

Happy DM fans!
Povilas, Dave, Marco, and Emilio working on putting an SC connector where the damaged LC connector was, so that we can connect to an SC-LC patch cable. Got it?

What happened was we thought we didn’t have the right connector to repair the damaged fiber (from yesterday), but Jared was organizing some tools for mounting the NAS tomorrow and came across the necessary replacement part!  Phew, what a relief!  So now we can talk to the ASM, again just read all about it here courtesy Marco.

What else happened today?

Well, we always start with an 8:30am meeting in the library — every day, even Saturday and Sunday — to make sure everyone is on board for the day’s events.

8:30am meeting --- every day. Clockwise from lower left: Laird, Frank, Emilio, Jared, Gaston, Armando, Juan, Jorge (sitting at table), Miguel, Nelson, Gabriel, Povilas (sitting on shelf), Marco (you can just see his back), Derek, Alfio, Katie, Dave, Tyson.

The days events were: Gabriel lead the charge to collimate the telescope, Derek and Laird aligned the laser, the crew worked on balancing the telescope, and we took over the Clay control room.  Also, we played some frisbee, this may be a regular Sunday MagAO team bonding exercise.

The PI on his way to Clay after our morning meeting. If you aren't a little stressed out, you aren't paying enough attention.

After figuring out that we didn’t have to tear into the back cover of the ASM, the big happening was opening the primary mirror covers. We first turned on our alignment laser, which tells us whether the ASM has any tilt to it as mounted. Incredibly, the alignment laser landed in the collimating eyepiece on the first try. It was a little off center, but so close that we can’t be sure that the laser itself isn’t the problem. We have some more testing to do tomorrow, so we may still have to shim a little bit. That means we’d loosen some bolts on the ASM mounting structure and insert some metal to change the angle of the ASM. But we might not have to – it looks like we’re good. Keep your fingers crossed.

Juan and Derek on the scissor lift --- and the ASM and the control GUI

Tyson completed the finishing touches of his cable wrap:

Tyson and the cable wrap

Alfio and Jared knocked out a bunch of tweaks to the control software today, including fully integrating some custom wavefront sensor camera controls that will make it easier to work on bright stars.

Alfio at work on our AO control software. They're making a few adjustments, but the nerds appear to have everything under control in software land.

After we convinced ourselves that the tilt of the ASM was as good as we could measure, Laird and Jared measured the distance to the thin shell vertex from MagAO’s nominal focal plane (with some offsets for how we took the measurement). It isn’t exactly right, but (as with the tilt laser) it’s likely that we aren’t actually measuring the thing we want to measure. We’ll have to look at a star to really understand it. This could also lead to some shimming, but we’re confident that we got it right.

Laird contemplates the Mike Nasmyth port.
The laser tape says were a little off, but it's probably because we aren't exactly measuring the vertex of the secondary mirror. We won't know for sure until we point at a star.


Overheard at LCO today:
Laird: “Why don’t you guys go play in the intersection!”  (Frisbee time)

Laird: “I have a Telecon with my daughters.”

Marco: “Hey Alfio, I found a bug today.”
Alfio: “A Bug!”  (Seriously alarmed—What in the world could it be???)
Marco: “Yes, in my code.”
Alfio: “Ahhh, in yourrr code.”  (Sigh of relief—the Universe makes sense again)

Jared: “I’m so happy Alfio is here! We’re getting stuff done.”

Our nightly LCO sunset courtesy of the MagAO Ultimate Frisbee squad (in the intersection).

MagAO Commissioning Day 5: Fiber of the Dog

Alfio’s here! Despite the flu and flight delays, the captain of our software team made it to Las Campanas. Now we just have to get our system ready for him to operate.

We started the day with a plan, and got most of the way through it, but there was a snag (maybe literally). The main attraction is currently the ASM now that it is at home on the Clay telescope. The first order of business was to correct the 3-phase power connection for the ASM electronics rack, as Marco describes in his post. Once that was done, we connected cooling, power, and data cables to the ASM.

Laird and Armando went up on the scissor lift to cable the ASM.
Laird by the mounted ASM.
The fully cabled ASM. We use pink zip ties for anything we remove at the end of the run - that way we know what to cut when we haven't slept for weeks.

Next was checking the fiber optic network cables between the ASM electronics rack and the ASM itself.

Marco operating the ADSEC supervisor, which is the software that talks to the ASM.

Then we hit a snag – one of our BCUs wouldn’t communicate. There is a bundle of fibers that runs straight from the ASM rack up the mirror, and after much testing we narrowed the problem down to a single fiber. Fibers are delicate, and it’s possible we snagged it yesterday while moving things around in the dome, or a connector might be loose. In any case, without that communications link, the ASM testing is on hold. We have several options for repairing/replacing/bypassing the bad fiber, so we expect to be back at it sometime tomorrow.

While the ASM was getting most of the attention, there was a side show going on in the Aux building. Jared conducted a little surgery on the W-Unit, replacing the famous shutter. The original shutter was getting a little long in the tooth, and was starting to operate a bit slow, so we decided it was time to start fresh.

Replacing the shutter requires removing the vibration-isolated mount and cooling system. The heat sink also has to be reattached, including smearing on fresh thermal paste.

I wasn’t just us – LCO was a happenin’ place today.

Tyson and Jared had quite a breakthrough on the Viscacha front – they saw three at once hanging out at the ASB! Here we thought there were only two – and some doubted that there was more than one.


And later, a dog came wandering up the mountain from behind Clay.

Opinions vary - it does look well fed. Could this be the Chupacabra that Mark Chun warned us about?
While careening down the mountain to take dog pictures, Jared had a run in with another lizard.

Quotes of the day:

Laird: “We want to use the ladder not the scissor lift.  With the scissor lift you can hurt the telescope, whereas with the ladder you can only hurt yourself.”
Povilas: “And that’s the way we like it. OK so we also don’t want you to hurt yourself.”

Armando: “In Italy, between allowed and forbidden, there are several layers.”

Though we didn’t get as far as we wanted today, we are still basically on schedule, and the beautiful LCO sky gave a nice show after dinner.

The setting sun highlights the Baade telescope, Vizzy, and assorted MagAO team members.
Armando and Marco making the trek to the top right before sunset.
The setting sun. That's the door to Clay's control room on the right.
You might have heard that there was an eclipse the other day, which we observed from here. Since we know exactly where the moon was on Tuesday night at sunset, it's fun to watch it move away from the sun. We're Astronomers, after all . . .

MagAO Commissioning Day 4: The Adaptive Secondary Mirror is installed!

Today we installed the Adaptive Secondary Mirror (ASM), a critical and exciting event!  This is our 1.6 mm thick 85 cm wide fragile thin shell that was transported to the summit yesterday.  It is now hanging up high above the primary mirror in the dome of the Magellan Clay telescope.

We woke up this morning to clouds in the valley to the west — the marine layer.

Marine layer

First, LCO staff removed the f/5 and f/11 mirrors, finishing all that before lunch!  In the afternoon, we transported the ASM to the dome from the aux, and the entire installation process took until dinner or later.

We brought the ASM into the Clay dome using the handling cart (“CartRaptor”).

Bringing the ASM into the telescope dome from the Aux building

Once on the dome floor, we attached a harness, removed one bar of the handling cart to fit the ASM through, and attached a crane to raise it up out of the cart.

Armando demonstrates raising the ASM
Removing one of the bars of the handling cart so the ASM fits up through it
The ASM up on the crane

Juan directed the LCO staff doing the heavy lifting.

Juan Gallardo directing the operation

Armando supervised handling of the ASM.

Armando Riccardi supervises handling of the ASM

Derek installed the CRO (Calibration Return Optic — pretty much a retro-reflector) and laser:

Dr. Derek Kopon, first PhD from the MagAO project, installs the CRO and laser.

Then we lifted the ASM to the level of the secondary truss, and rotated the dome around until it was lined up with the tipped-over telescope.

Rotating the dome and crane to line up the ASM with the secondary truss of the telescope, which is pointed at horizon

Finally, we installed the ASM to the secondary truss of the Clay telescope!

The ASM on its way to the secondary truss of the Clay telescope
The ASM attached to the secondary truss!


And our quote, now that we’ve gotten the ASM safely from Tucson to Florence to Tucson to Florence to Chile and up to the Clay:

“If I’d known how much shipping we were going to do, I would have picked a different project” — Laird Close