We’ve departed the mountain. Thanks for hosting our first full science run, LCO, and we’ll see you next time.
We packed everything up and left the mountain, and now I’ve gotten enough sleep I’m finally awake enough to post some pictures for you.
The crew spent most of the day putting MegaCam on the telescope, which uses the F/5 they put on the day before. It’s a big job, being one of the biggest ...
Today Laird got up at 8am while Jared and I went to bed after our Last Star last night. Laird and the crew took down the ASM, then Laird and Jared de-cabled the NAS and I de-cabled Clio with their help. Here are some pictures:
The song of the day is inspired by the ...
We have observed our last target star of the 2014A run. It was another great night, with half arcsecond seeing almost the whole way.
We now have 2 days of packing and storing and inventory to do, and then we start the long journey home. Laird and Katie got started as soon ...
Only one more night to go — I think we’re going to make it! Tonight was fun in a crazy busy kind of way. We did about 20 targets total, most of them were faint Clio targets. Vanessa had left at the end of the previous night, so this kind of a ...
After another busy night, I didn’t put together a substantive post. Thankfully, today was a beautiful day, with plenty of both literal and eye candy for the blog.
Francois played Easter bunny and hid chocolate eggs around the control room for all to enjoy.
Jared spotted our friendly local Easter “bunny”
And Jen had a new roommate when ...
I’m guest blogging for MagAO tonight.
I came out on Thursday for Subo Dong’s run, and then I’ll be observing again on Monday. In the meantime, I’ve got some down time for a few days. Mostly I’ve been planning like crazy for Monday’s observations. A big thanks to the MagAO team for all of their help ...
Hi everyone! With the beautiful weather and amazing avocados for every meal, it’s good to be back on the mountain again!
Because MagAO is now open to the public (so to speak) and we’re executing a variety of programs, I’m learning about a wide range of science projects.
Of course, there’s the “run of the mill” high-contrast ...
The big news of today is that our favorite Viscacha made an appearance at the clean room wall today. We’ve been missing him!
After a few days of Engineering and Arizona science, we welcomed Subo Dong from Peking University to the Clay telescope. Jennifer Yee (Harvard), who is observing in a few nights, was ...
A closed feedback loop is when you are monitoring some output so that you can control some input. How many closed loops does MagAO run? Here we present: The Loops of MagAO.
1. The AO System’s Pyramid WFS and ASM
The top-level loop is the adaptive optics (AO) loop. This is the loop that all the others ...
Vanessa arrived safely today after boarding 6 planes (but only traveling on 3) to get here. We are happy to see her! She is helping with Clio2 engineering as well as AO operations. We also had 2 of our observers arrive today; their run is in a couple days but they wanted to get up ...
T.J., Alycia, and Kate left us yesterday. Vanessa was supposed to be here, but her flight was delayed. So, it was down to Laird, Katie, and Jared to carry on the MagAO mission tonight.
Our day started early. We had to get up before dinner to do some maintenance on our shell wind ...
Have you ever heard that pigeons are the rats of the sky? Well, tonight we were contemplating that binaries are the vermin of the sky. The binaries we are talking about are “stars” that are actually two stars, only they are so close together that they weren’t discovered to be 2 stars by ...
Tonight we are happy to present you with the first release of the official trailer for the MagAO movie, directed by Alycia Weinberger.
Coming soon to a theatre or scientific journal near you.
We’re still here at LCO, observing star after star, seeing disk after disk, maybe a high contrast close separation point source or ...
Greetings everyone! Long time no blog for me, but I’m happy to be back.
In between running the VisAO camera to give Jared a bit of a break, I’ve been working on quick reductions of the data that we’ve been getting for the past few days. It’s useful to reduce the data at the telescope because ...
Tonight was an interesting night. We got on sky pretty quickly and proceeded to taking science images with ~1″ seeing. Everything was working well until the seeing blew up to >3″ for about an hour, essentially killing our first target.
The AO fought admirably throughout the horrible seeing bursts but eventually we just had to wait ...
I’m very happy about how we switch between our target of interest and its point spread function (PSF) star, so I’m guest blogging about it. We want the same AO correction on both objects, even if they are slightly different magnitudes (usually we choose a slightly brighter PSF). We also want to be very efficient, ...
One of MagAO’s specialties is high contrast imaging in the visible using simultaneous differential imaging (SDI). For this run we bought a new H-alpha SDI filter set, and tonight we really put them to use. This image compares our on and off H-alpha PSFs. These are formed from 1 hour of 45 ...
Our first non-Arizona visiting astronomer was taking data with Clio and VisAO tonight. His name is Brett Addison of the University of New South Wales, Sydney.
Also Alycia arrived safely today.
Today the seeing was bad to very bad for almost the whole night.
Alfio made a new mirror diagnostic last year that shows the mirror commands ...
We had another somewhat so-so night. Some high winds made it interesting, but there were few to no clouds and seeing was at least mediocre. But right at 4 am, when we switched targets, seeing blew up to more than 1.5 arcseconds. Sorry DZ — we aren’t doing this on purpose.
There have ...
Today was our first official science night! The previous nights were engineering, but tonight we had a visiting astronomer here at the telescope, and he was calling the shots for his observations. He took logs while we helped him take data, and the operations went pretty smoothly.
The night started out well, with Alfio ...
Hello everybody, I’ve been enlisted to write the blog post tonight. I take it that I’m supposed to post a picture of a horse:
To get started, here’s a few images from last night’s engineering. The first is a VisAO image of Baade’s window. Check out all of those stars!
Next, here’s a picture of an asteroid ...
We spent almost the whole night with the loop closed, with a few exceptions. For instance, we had to open the loop during an earthquake! Not a big one, but the floor rumbled and the loop went a little crazy because of the vibrations.
One of the fun things about observing with AO is ...
Today we went on sky and closed the loop! The first half of the night was cleaning up final guider problems, but then just before midnight we acquired our first AO setup star and were able to close the loop with an audience and everything! I’m glad we showed the GMT folk some ...
You may have heard that a magnitude~8 earthquake struck northern Chile after dinnertime. Thanks for all your checking-in emails, and we are happy to say that we did not feel the earthquake at all; it was up in way way northern Chile and we are approximately central:
Our thoughts and well-wishes are with the people ...
Let me remind you of how cruel a mountain can be:
“Caradhras was called the Cruel, and had an ill name,” said Gimli, “long years ago, when rumour of Sauron had not been heard in these lands.” — J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
We may not have wizards against us, but when it decides to ...
First, an announcement: this is blog post #200! How long can we keep this up?
Today’s big accomplishment was driving the ASM up to the summit.
Best question of the day: “Is it still one piece?” — Juan Gallardo, after the ASM rolled off the lift.
We also reorganized the cables and hoses in the W-Unit. ...
Today I worked with Mauricio and Laird on evacuating the air out of Clio’s cryostat, which involved cleaning the o-ring and then hoping for a good vacuum. Laird did some fixes to the ASM, removing the alignment laser and making an alignment fiducial instead, and fixing some of the protective covering on the back to ...
VisAO and the WFS got a much needed spring cleaning today. We also installed some new filters.
Jared and Alfio installed a new more powerful Y-stage motor. This motor has to lift the W-unit against gravity, and the old one was under-powered and so was failing. These motors are very powerful, even the old ...
Hello, MagAO fans! Laird and Alfio arrived today so it is officially Day 1 of our 2014A science run!
T.J. and I successfully swapped in/out/around 8 filters plus more blockers, spacers, and slits inside Clio today. This involves cracking open the dewar which is a complicated mess of screws and insulation to keep everything cold ...
MagAO is back! Katie, T.J., and Jared arrived at LCO last night to begin preparing for our first official science run. Our instrument was offered to the Magellan wide community, who came up with more great ideas than we have time for. We’re taking data for astronomers from all over the world. ...