It has been a busy day. We were searching for planets hidden in young disks but suddenly got attacked by another DSP board failure. Luckily we quickly fixed the problem and closed the loop at an amazing 0.35 arcsecond seeing. Wonderful night.
It was cloudy and windy and foggy, so we stayed in the control room waiting for the clouds to go away. Laird felt bored at the beginning of the night, but he immediately realized the adaptive secondary mirror was in danger. The ASM is very delicate, and even a single raindrop can potentially destroy it. So, we need to build a giant umbrella.
The umbrella is just a big plastic sheet about the size of the HST primary mirror to cover the back of the ASM.
So the ASM was saved and we were happy. Time to have some girl scout cookies!
Although we built an umbrella, I hope we will never listen to the rhythm of the falling rain here at LCO.
I was told I should follow the rules for the song. The twisters in yesterday’s song remind me of this song from Jay Chou:
It is rare for MagAO to carry out extragalactic observations because suitable natural guide stars are hard to find.
But this time we have got some luck. A week ago (February 8), a bright supernova, SN 2016adj, appeared in the active galaxy NGC 5128 (Centaurus A). Classified as Type IIb, its progenitor is believed to be a very massive star in a binary system, undergoing a significant mass loss before explosion. However, direct identification of the progenitor remains challenging, even though astronomers have been constantly detecting supernovae in imaging surveys.
Since SN 2016adj is only 4″ from a bright foreground star, it is an ideal target for our visible AO camera. Prompted by Prof. Nathan Smith, we used MagAO to observe the supernova on February 13, and successfully took ~2 hr deep exposures at 0.9 micron. Comparing the new MagAO image to archival HST and VLT data, we and our collaborators were able to identify a possible progenitor star. Notably, this is the 5th Type IIb progenitor identified in pre-explosion images over the past 20 years.