MagAO-X 2024Aa Day 8: Pigs in a Duvet

Well, that went fast. Maggie and I are the first team members of the run to embark on the long journey down the mountain and trade the Atacama back for the Sonoran desert. But, before then, we had one last night to make the most of our time here at LCO.

After some daytime calibrations (and some very interesting hot dog-based pastries at dinner), we headed up the mountain for a full night of observing. Per tradition, we officially kicked things off with a sunset photo:

Do not ask where Eden's left hand went.
Isn’t Clay just so pretty?
Don't worry, her left hand is intact in this photo
Clouds? in MY Atacama Desert? It’s more likely than you think.

Now, don’t get me wrong: the clouds put on a gorgeous show for sunset, but they are not generally harbingers of good astronomy. Nevertheless, we were determined to get as much good science done as we possibly could, and we were pleasantly surprised; clouds passed, and we saw seeing hold steady below 0.5 (and even dip below 0.4) arcseconds for a good portion of the second half of the night.

Maggie, Laird, and Sebastiaan started things off with our dear friend the HDFS, performing some of the first phasing tests on-sky:

Unfortunately, the timing worked out so that Maggie and I will be coming down the mountain at the same time that Logan comes up, so we won’t get the chance to have the whole team here at the same time. Tonight Logan joined via Zoom to observe some of her targets, with a white dwarf companion making a very exciting appearance:

As the night went on, Laird and Jialin got their turn to conduct cutting-edge science in the control room. What was going on in the “kids room” downstairs, you might ask? Only the most important of shenanigans:

This much science is exhausting for anyone, especially the PI of the project. Unfortunately for Jared, MaggieO-X saw the opportunity to usurp and seized it:

You heard her. She’s the PI now.

I’m about to follow the PI’s example and try and catch some sleep before Maggie and I head down. But, before I go, I’d like to share a bit of personal news in honor of my last night at LCO:

Soon my excuse of "but I'm just an undergrad" will be a distant memory

And to go with it, the song of the day:

Graduate – Third Eye Blind

MagAO-X 2024Aa Day 3: Lights Out!

I hope you enjoy content from the newbies! It was Josh’s first blog post yesterday, so naturally it was my turn for a blog debut today.

Actual footage of me when my alarm went off this morning
Gary came over again to say good morning (and strut his stuff)

With the loop having been closed at the end of the day yesterday, we were ready to start working with MagAO-X this morning. I had actually never seen someone close the loop before, so I got the chance to watch that for the first time. Maggie and Laird added in the flat-field mask, then tag-teamed with Sebastiaan for some more alignment:

Did you know that you can drastically improve your Hα throughput by playing a friendly game of telephone?

After lunch, some of us absconded to the library to do homework (and procrastinate writing a grant proposal). As I attempted to decipher my metrology assignment, the lights suddenly went out …

uh oh.

Not being too familiar with the way all the computers/electronics work, I wasn’t sure what the exact ramifications of the power outage were—but I did infer that it was, at the very least, wildly inconvenient. We did eventually get everything running again and were able to take some engineering data after dinner:

Look Mom, they let me drive!

Only a few of us made it out to watch the sunset, but those of us who did were rewarded with some beautiful views; plus, those of us who were watching closely saw the Sun’s green flash (I swear!).

A friend watching the sunset with us
I've become Eden's #1 photography fan
Some very pink mountains

Laird, Maggie, and I closed out the day by taking a quick look at the stars before heading to bed. I’m already in awe of how many there are, and I’m promised the view is even more spectacular when the Moon isn’t out. I can’t wait.

Song of the day: