2014A Day 5: Cerro Manqui the Cruel

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 blow here, it really blows.

The winds today on the summit of Cerro Manqui, where the Magellan telescopes sit.

60 mph winds put almost a complete stop to our operations today. We were supposed to move the ASM first thing, and support the f/11 secondary change out. Instead we had to wait until the winds died down enough. Even still, we ended up waiting for a temporary lull and rushing the ASM across the gap (a.k.a. “The Wind Tunnel”) between the Aux and the Clay elevator late this afternoon.

The vans are lined up to try to provide a wind break (I’m not joking). It didn’t really help.

Once the ASM was safely in Clay, the crew proceeded with the changeover. Here’s our delicate shell swinging through the air.

The ASM being craned into position
Almost there

The crew skipped dinner to get this done for us. Muchas gracias guys.

Katie and Laird cabling the ASM.

A few other things were dealt with in the mean time.

Sometimes you have to call in the master. Alfio made a house call in the clean room to help fix a weird bug in Clio.

After all that bluster, we ended up with a nice calm sunset.

It calmed down a bit at sunset.

The winds have picked back up late tonight. We’ve noticed that there are a lot of airplanes in the skies of LCO. Implications for the GMT laser guide star system aside, this song gives some hope that they might be useful. If it doesn’t stop blowing soon, I’ll be willing to try anything.