AO4ELT7 Days 2 to 5: Go Team!

Hello, it’s me again. For various reasons, more senior members are not available for extended comments on AO4ELT. (Notably either enjoying France or other vacation escapades.) So to keep Joseph from shutting down the blog in disappointment, here’s another Eden recap of a French conference.

Lecture Hall picture courtesy of Arnaud

Day 2: WFS, DMs, and phasing – Oh my!

How do you get a gainfully employed post doc to arrive on time to an 8:30am conference start time? You make him the session chair. Maggie and I might have been a liiiiittle late to the invited speaker, Roberto Ragazzoni, the origin of pyramid WFSs, gave an engaging talk on the 27 OTHER WFS designs he’s dreamed up over the years.

The DM vendors gave their talks the second day as well, and it was nice to hear someone outside the team bragging about us for a change.

Thanks BMC for the shout out!

Just to prove their point and show how to use a BMC DM in a truly extreme AO system, Laird followed up with our GMagAO-X

HCAT design overview, waterwheel and all.
Photo credit Guido.

We concluded the day with dinner in the very same halls the palace of old used to dine in. Whats more, they gave us a light show of projectors to display the hall in its different eras. Rumor has it Jared has a video of the light shows, even though he prefers the hall in its more natural lighting.

The 300 of us filled out the dining hall quite well!
Someone is not amused

In true french fashion, this dinner took around 4 hours and multiple bottles of wine. Sebastiaan did not eat the offered cheese.

Day 3: XWCL past present and future

Wednesday, midway through our conference days, we had our largest number of XWCL talks yet! Especially if you include the once and future lab members. We started with Lauren Schatz, recently graduated and now a critical member of space force, give her invited talk on LASSIE – Laser guide Star Sensor Integrated Extreme adaptive optics.

How do you make extreme AO cooler? Add lasers.
Image credits to Guido.

Sebastiaan Haffert, current group postdoc, gave the first talk of the evening session, with a hot-off-the-press presentation on more novel WFS designs.

Listen up, he put on a button down for this.

What you might not know is that he finished the last simulation mere minutes before we had to turn in our slides:

Upon successful completing on the last plot.

We then got to see a future XWCL-er, Josh Lieberman, present on his implementation of iEFC with the KPIC instrument/testbed. We’re so excited to have Josh be a part of our group next spring!

KPIC works with coupled planet light, making speckle nulling that much more important.

Last of the day, bringing up the other half of the MagAO-X sandwich, was me! I got to give my talk on my sparkles work that I took on over the last year. Having multiple people I cite in the crowd was new, usually I have to fight to get people to care about optical gain. This talk I got good feedback and even more to think about once I’m back.

Dr. Joseph long and his rendering abilities there with us in spirit.

After surviving the stress of presenting to some of the most knowledgible people in the field, we all relaxed by having cocktails on the Bridge of Avignon, courtesy of First Light and ALPAO. It was something special to see the bridge in such beautiful golden light.

I can see the conference room from here!

Day 4: Last talk!

Jared, giving the invited mid-morning talk, finished up the MagAO-X talks with an overview of what it’ll take to get us to the contrast of the planets we care about, and what MagAO-X is doing to get us there. Of course the whole team sat close to be sure to show our support. We weren’t the only ones who liked Jared’s talk though, younger scientists later reported it to be very accessible, which is a win among some of the other update talks we listened to.

Our fearless leader presents the MagAO-X update
You become a PI to guarantee audiences to your talk, right?

During the coffee break, we finally got our group photo! Feels good to know our group did so well. “Go Team!” – Jared

Our whole team got the chance to present! And we did pretty darn good.

We also had some of our friends from MAPs present later in the day, (see Joseph’s and I’s MAPS posts last month to see this group photo in full color). Jacob gave voice to the struggles that adaptive secondaries and bad weather can can give observers. The next MAPS talk will get to be much more triumphant though, I can feel it.

Jacob on MAPS and trauma bonding.

Some of the best parts of this conference happen when you aren’t last minute cramming for your talk and you can just appreciate the good company of your science peers. Cheers to the Arizona team!

Cheers to the presenters!
Serious beer for serious scientists.

Day 5: We all gave our talks, what do you mean there’s more conference?

Even after we finished XWCL talks, turns out there were still things to stick around for! Sarcasm aside, the last day of the conference wasn’t one to miss, with plenty of atmospheric simulations to go around. Plus, we got a free tour of the Papal Palais with our badge!

All too soon though, it was over. Personally, I got so much from being around this international group of instrumentalists! After being inspired and motivated by all the various project people have been working on, I know I have a lot more too look forward in the rest of my PhD.

Conference Group Photo!

Farewell France! Thank you for treating us so well.

Last views of the southern countryside after we all scatter on Saturday.

Song of the Days

Putting respect on the Avignon name with:

“Bridge of Avignon” in English and French by Barney and crew