2014A Day 24: Planning

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 answering questions.

The free-time also means I can take leisurely walks up to the telescope and watch the sunset.

Baade at sunset
I’m no good at wildlife spotting, but Vanessa saw our friend the caballo

I’ve been hanging out in the control room, watching the operation of the telescope and the instrument, and generally trying to absorb as much information about the system as possible.

The team in the control room gearing up for observations
Watching Clio and MagAO in action
Here are tonight’s observers with the instrument — Katie and Jared of MagAO, and Francois Menard and Sebastian Perez of the University of Chile
Francois and Laird — the two Canadians observing with MagAO tonight
A beautiful photo of Magellan taken by Jan Skowron.

Practical tidbit: I’ve been working on a way to implement a 9-pt dither pattern on Clio.
This turns out to be non-trivial since the available ways to move are either to do an AB nod (which only gets you 2 points) or to move in X or Y (moving in both is a two-step process). Katie came up with a clever way to combine different AB nods so you can move efficiently, which saves time overall if the integrations are long. The trick is to split the exposure at each nod position into two, so you can repeat the last ‘B’ position as the next ‘A’ position. So the sequence is nod AB, nod BC, nod CD etc.

An example 9pt dither pattern
An example 9pt dither pattern

(I’ve also been spending a lot of time sampling the contents of the cookie cabinet).

The cookie cabinet

Because I’m feeling silly and haven’t really been doing too much over the past few days: