Comm2 Day 9 – Spiders, spiders everywhere.

We started off the night trying to track down the mysterious source of a perfectly symmetrical spider (literally a spider!) that kept popping up in the Clio viewer (see Jared’s post from earlier today for more details).  Luckily, Povilas was working on the pointing model at the time, so we were able to indulge in tracking down the source of the April Fool’s joke. It turned out to be none other than Clio PI and advisor for half of the observing team, Phil Hinz. Nice one, Phil!

The new Clio “spider”

Shortly thereafter, I spotted this guy in the bathroom downstairs. Some squabbling ensued about what to do with him. He was eventually removed from the bathroom, and was not harmed in the process.

Tarantula-esque spider that at first was thought to be part of the April fool’s joke. Turned out it was real.

It took the first half of the night to finish the pointing model tests, and then we spent some time doing  engineering calibrations. Clio did more focusing and tested the prism, nodding and image quality. By the way, Clio has real “spiders” all the time, not just on April Fool’s. See image below.

The four telescope spiders and two cold stop spiders make some gorgeous diffraction spikes (the long lines extending out from the stars)  on Clio. (The bright star is saturated pretty far out, but you can see some beautiful Airy rings on the faint 4” companion.)

Meanwhile, VisAO did some spectrophotometric standards and tested the symmetry of the coronagraph.

Towards the end of the night, we were also able to do a little bit of engineering/science by looking at a nice bright disk with both cameras. We’re particularly eager to characterize how well we can image extended objects with VisAO, so we’ll report back on this.

We said goodbye to Marco and Povilas tonight. Thank you both for all of your hard work! Before Marco left, we managed to take one picture of the full commissioning team.

From left: Marco, Alfio, TJ, Laird, Jared, Katie, Vanessa and Kate

“Believe me, we aren’t hiring friendly people.” — Laird

“Guys, I have bad news. We are out of cheese.” — Marco

“I do not like spiders. I don’t like them.” — Vanessa

“It’s so rare that I can teach a student something that has to do with computers.”– Laird

“You can’t say that Clio is boring.” — Alfio