Comm2 Day 5: Bear Down

Well the Wildcats lost to the Buckeyes this evening, but take heart, Arizona, things are looking up for us MagAO’ers down here.

MagAO says “Bear Down”

The main highlight of today is that the AO system is running closed loop on 0.8″ simulated seeing at 1 KHz sample speeds (where we were at the end of Comm 1). We have 300-325 modes running with a brand new (better) basis set of Fernando that will hopefully work on sky (which would be an improvement over the 200-250 modes achieved on-sky in comm 1). We’re going to keep the CRO on tomorrow night to take the time to get our interaction matrices and camera focus positions right… but everything seems to working well.

The loop closed with beautiful Pyramid pupils on the right and a beautiful red-optical PSF on the left.

There was also a VIP guest tour of AO operations today, and the guests were “more excited than undergrads” (as Vanessa put it) when we demonstrated closing the loop.

Jared wows the crowd with a closed-loop demonstration, and some exciting images
KT impresses the crowd with her planet image.

Vanessa and I have been working on all sorts of housekeeping and optimizing Clio tasks…

Vanessa and I standing by Clio after it was mounted the other day

Of course the zoo is still hopping here:

A guanaco gazes at Las Campanas Peak, visualizing the future GMT on the now-flattened mountain
Marco caught this awesome shot of Vizzy curling his tail, squeaking, and watching the sunset. We call this a “wild vizcacha” since he’s not at the Astronomer Support Building as is his wont, but is hopping about the landscape.

“You should show them the chaos that is MagAO” –Dave
“Sitting through an earthquake here feels like observing at the MMT” –Laird
“It’s the Wild West — It’s Cowboy astronomy” –Katie & Vanessa