Unpacking Day 15: All Wrapped Up

Over two weeks in and we still have plenty to do.

In the morning we mounted the calibration return optic (CRO) truss and the CRO itself, to make sure they still fit.

The CRO truss mated to the windscreen.

In the afternoon the ASM was unplugged, and wrapped up for safe keeping while waiting for our turn on the telescope.

Marco and Armando wrap the ASM in plastic to keep it dust free over the next 5 or 6 months.
The ASM will stay like this, waiting for us to come back.

Glenn and Jared connected our software to the telescope network today, and tested our communication protocols on a real telescope control system (not connected to a telescope, of course). We found a few error handling bugs on our side, but otherwise it went very smoothly. Our software works!

Glenn Eychaner making the change that allows MagAO to connect to the system.

And finally, after dinner Laird and Jared spent some time playing with the VisAO camera. We have only ever found time to do this a handful of times – we are usually too busy worrying about the WFS or the ASM or some plumbing issue.

We put a new fiber on our alignment laser, which passes the laser’s 630nm light. Previous fibers have corrupted the light too much at this short wavelength. This one worked great, and we were able to take 2.7 pixel images. This is exactly what we expect for our camera imaging a 4.3 micron wide fiber. This corresponds to 20.0 milliarcsecond FWHM on sky at Magellan with our system – amazing!

After that, we started playing with our coronagraph. We have small a metal dot which we can place almost right in front of the CCD47, which we use to block the bright core of starlight.

This screenshot shows our 630 nm source aligned on our occulting spot. (The yellow line is from our image viewer). Note that this is in the lab with no AO.

And returning to our obsession with repeatability, we took a video of slewing our gimbal mirror off the coronagraph and back on. This stability will be extremely important on sky so that we don’t spend time re-aligning on the spot.

We don’t have any animals tonight. I tried to get some bird pictures, but couldn’t get close enough and it would be hard to top the Vizcacha from yesterday. Here’s a shot of LCO from the west.

From the left that's a small telescope used to monitor seeing, the shadow is the 100" inch, the Magellan telescopes are on top, and then we have Telescopio Polaco, and the 40 inch.