2015A Day 21: Insusceptible to Shame

If you read carefully between the lines of yesterday’s blog post (which were mostly complaints about me trying to do science – hmph!), you may have noticed that we didn’t say anything about using Clio. Because we didn’t. At all. All night long.

We didn’t want to panic any of our upcoming observers, but Clio was down for the count yesterday. We started with mild instrument shaming to try and get her back up and running.

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Unfortunately, it appears that Clio is insusceptible to shame.

The good news is that since we’re fessing up on the blog, that means we fixed it eventually! There were a few rabbit holes and false starts, but in the end we were able to bypass a faulty motor controller and get Clio back to work. Here are a few highlights from the process, which involved taking apart most of the motor control box and using tools of various levels of sophistication to test communications between the six Clio motors.

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Once Jared and Katie identified the faulty motor (I mostly held stuff and made coffee, but it was fun for me to learn about hardware… and software… and firmware… and motor instruction manuals), they were able to bypass it and get all the other motors spinning again. The bypass makes operating Clio a bit more of a hassle in that Katie now has to run out to the platform and move the field stop wheel by hand. Luckily, this is one of the less common motor moves for Clio.

At this point, I feel that it is my duty to point out to all future observers that Jared and Katie have gone to heroic efforts to keep MagAO up and running in 2015A. Since I arrived, they’ve foregone sleep and breakfast (which involves fresh squeezed juice, so is a tough thing to give up!) most days to ensure that we maximize time on sky.  And they’re only a third of the way through a loooooong run of loooooong winter nights. So take this as my admonition to be nice and to be grateful when you arrive. Perhaps signs of gratitude are in order. They claim to be all set on wasabi peas and instant coffee, but I’m sure you can think of something.

I’d also like to correct my statement from yesterday. Jared doesn’t hate science. He just hates MY science. Because tonight, when it came down to one of HIS targets, he changed his tune quite a bit about the wind. So here’s another “find the problem” blog challenge. I will happily mail a MagAO sticker to the first blog reader who e-mails to tell us what’s wrong with this picture.

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In other news, it was empanada Sunday today, so that brightened things up considerably.

We ended the night with some astrometric calibrations, which included taking very pedagogically interesting images like these. So here’s another sticker-winning opportunity. Tell us what (a) camera we’re using, (b) observing mode we’re in and (c) star we’re guiding on (the right one or the left one?). If you get 3/3, we’ll send you a sticker!

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I’m headed home tomorrow, which is bittersweet. It’s always a lot of fun to be here, and I got some awesome data, but I’m anxious to get home to this guy.


So here is the song that he wakes up singing every morning, which has been blissfully out of my head for a few days, and is solidly reimplanted now that I decided to post it to the blog.

Quotes of the Day:

various unrepeatable comments about Clio

“I’m just going to go move the telescope” -Alberto, running out into the dome
“Wait, WHAT?” – Jared
“Is he gonna push it?” -Katie

“USNO is a Joke! …. The catalog, not the organization” -[former naval officer] Jared Males

[4:52:54 AM] Vanessa Bailey: i’m headed home. thanks so much to all of you for working so hard to get the motors working! i hope the magao uptime clock is monotonically increasing from here on out!
[4:53:09 AM] Jared Males: uh no
[4:53:14 AM] Jared Males: we just broke the telescope
[4:53:28 AM] Vanessa Bailey: oh no, really???
[4:53:31 AM] Jared Males: yep
[4:53:48 AM] Vanessa Bailey: i’m sorry
[4:54:07 AM] Jared Males: at least we don’t have to troubleshoot this one
[4:54:11 AM] Jared Males: it’s kinda nice to get to watch
[4:54:19 AM] Vanessa Bailey: i know the feeling
[4:54:30 AM] Vanessa Bailey: guilt and relief at the same time
[4:54:48 AM] Jared Males: Unbelievably, this is possibly Clio’s fault.  It all started when KT went out to hard reset the electronics.
[4:55:01 AM] Vanessa Bailey: bah
[4:55:09 AM] Vanessa Bailey: she just walked too loudly
[4:55:49 AM] Jared Males: this is kt – no i didnt!
[4:55:59 AM] Jared Males: we were transiting at like 89.2 deg and the limit is 89.3
[4:56:18 AM] Vanessa Bailey: that’s pretty damn high
[4:56:58 AM] Vanessa Bailey: https://imgflip.com/i/lnfvg
[4:58:09 AM] Vanessa Bailey: well, i hope it gets resolved quickly
[4:58:16 AM] Vanessa Bailey: good luck!!
[4:58:36 AM] Jared Males: thanks.  we’re back.  Alberto just told us he had to use [redacted content]
[4:58:40 AM] Jared Males: this is getting awesome
[4:58:47 AM] Vanessa Bailey: heck yeah