MagAO Commissioning Day 5: Fiber of the Dog

Alfio’s here! Despite the flu and flight delays, the captain of our software team made it to Las Campanas. Now we just have to get our system ready for him to operate.

We started the day with a plan, and got most of the way through it, but there was a snag (maybe literally). The main attraction is currently the ASM now that it is at home on the Clay telescope. The first order of business was to correct the 3-phase power connection for the ASM electronics rack, as Marco describes in his post. Once that was done, we connected cooling, power, and data cables to the ASM.

Laird and Armando went up on the scissor lift to cable the ASM.
Laird by the mounted ASM.
The fully cabled ASM. We use pink zip ties for anything we remove at the end of the run - that way we know what to cut when we haven't slept for weeks.

Next was checking the fiber optic network cables between the ASM electronics rack and the ASM itself.

Marco operating the ADSEC supervisor, which is the software that talks to the ASM.

Then we hit a snag – one of our BCUs wouldn’t communicate. There is a bundle of fibers that runs straight from the ASM rack up the mirror, and after much testing we narrowed the problem down to a single fiber. Fibers are delicate, and it’s possible we snagged it yesterday while moving things around in the dome, or a connector might be loose. In any case, without that communications link, the ASM testing is on hold. We have several options for repairing/replacing/bypassing the bad fiber, so we expect to be back at it sometime tomorrow.

While the ASM was getting most of the attention, there was a side show going on in the Aux building. Jared conducted a little surgery on the W-Unit, replacing the famous shutter. The original shutter was getting a little long in the tooth, and was starting to operate a bit slow, so we decided it was time to start fresh.

Replacing the shutter requires removing the vibration-isolated mount and cooling system. The heat sink also has to be reattached, including smearing on fresh thermal paste.

I wasn’t just us – LCO was a happenin’ place today.

Tyson and Jared had quite a breakthrough on the Viscacha front – they saw three at once hanging out at the ASB! Here we thought there were only two – and some doubted that there was more than one.


And later, a dog came wandering up the mountain from behind Clay.

Opinions vary - it does look well fed. Could this be the Chupacabra that Mark Chun warned us about?
While careening down the mountain to take dog pictures, Jared had a run in with another lizard.

Quotes of the day:

Laird: “We want to use the ladder not the scissor lift.  With the scissor lift you can hurt the telescope, whereas with the ladder you can only hurt yourself.”
Povilas: “And that’s the way we like it. OK so we also don’t want you to hurt yourself.”

Armando: “In Italy, between allowed and forbidden, there are several layers.”

Though we didn’t get as far as we wanted today, we are still basically on schedule, and the beautiful LCO sky gave a nice show after dinner.

The setting sun highlights the Baade telescope, Vizzy, and assorted MagAO team members.
Armando and Marco making the trek to the top right before sunset.
The setting sun. That's the door to Clay's control room on the right.
You might have heard that there was an eclipse the other day, which we observed from here. Since we know exactly where the moon was on Tuesday night at sunset, it's fun to watch it move away from the sun. We're Astronomers, after all . . .