Comm2 Day 6: Nighttime Edition

You might have noticed that our server redirected you to https. This will help ensure that MagAO continues to be a source of good, clean, family-friendly fun. Thanks to Paul Hart for helping Jared get a certificate set up.

KT saw the Zorro by the dining hall mid-morning. He was not shy at all, and let her get pretty close to get a good picture. Our telescope, the Clay, is in the upper right of the photo, it’s the left-most telescope of the big pair.
If you are worried about Vizzy when a fox is out and about, note the size of Zorrito as compared to the cars here — he’s very very small.

Thanks to our loyal readers, Jared has found a new source of funding for Arizona’s various AO endeavors:

A comparison of MagAO and Zero (Clio/LBTI/CAAO) domain names. Curiously, though MagAO is ranked lower than Zero, it’s worth more.

Alfio and Marco have been hard at work building bigger and better interaction matricies. By enabling or disabling rings of ASM actuators around the central obscuration, they are able to create more robust, higher quality calibrations. They create different sets of shapes (different “modal bases”) to apply to the mirror, based on which actuators are enabled. The new interaction matricies they’ve taken today have improved the VisAO image quality by ~20%! They also took a full suite of calibrations which will allow us to observe very faint targets.

Alfio and Marco building away. Laird and Jared weigh in.

Today we also moved the Clio solid nitrogen pump down to the basement, to reduce telescope vibrations. The optical alignment of the CRO is so sensitive that we can easily see a 1 micrometer (10^-6 meter) displacement. So we need to take as many sources of vibration off the telescope as we can; pumps are especially bad. The telescope staff routed a ~150ft hose from Clio to the pump’s new home in the basement.

Vanessa and Laird work on removing the Clio pump from the rack. Katie and Victor attach the new vacuum hose.
We explored the basement after installing the Clio pump in its new home. Upper left: Various cables have to be routed up to the telescope chamber. Lower left: Pato shows off the telescope bearings. The whole telescope floats on a cushion of oil (the blue ring behind Pato). He’s pointing out the bearings and encoders that control the telescope’s motion. Right: To keep the telescope temperature equilibrated, huge fans circulate the air.

We’re T -1 day from going on sky. The whole gang is hard at work finishing preparations to the AO system, VisAO, and Clio.

The Clio gang. Katie writes pipelines for Clio calibration and data reduction. Jared works on VisAO performance analysis tools. Alfio and Marco build a library of AO calibrations. Laird oversees it all.

Tomorrow, two more team members will be arriving: TJ Rodigas and Kate Follette. Just in time for the big debut!

Now it’s time for me to follow Povilas’ lead…

Povilas lazes around.

“You drive me to caveats” — Povilas
“Now the entire blog is staged” — Katie (after Povilas admitted that he said that just to get on the blog. He loves us.)
“Nature throws thing at you that are not Kolmogorov. That’s a major caveat.” — Laird
“Maybe we should go back to the old interaction matrices. If the Strehl is too high, it might melt VisAO’s CCD” — Jared
“Cheese helps me to concentrate” — Marco
“Well… is the Clio pump on?” — Laird (asking completely sincerely!), blaming Clio for vibrations even after we stuck its pump down in the bowels of the telescope
“I have control over everything” — Alfio
“If you can’t focus a camera then you shouldn’t really be going on-sky with it” — Laird