MagAO-X 2019B Day 10: The Blog Must Go On

Last night was our fourth on-sky night. It also ran right in to our instrument removal/moving day. So, we went from taking a nice long dataset of beta Pictoris directly into taking off cables and connectors for our electronics. I’m still awake, despite feeling like someone dropped a truck on me, so I might as well ensure the blog gets done. Our dozens of readers are no doubt itching to hear about MagAO-X’s performance on its final on-sky night of 2019B.

I’m happy to report things went pretty smoothly! We observed Trapezium, a set of bright and well studied stars that will give us our astrometric solution (by knowing where they are, we can figure out how far apart and what orientation other stuff is). We observed beta Pictoris for a few hours on either side of transit, obtaining a vAPP + ADI dataset. We started off by optimizing our image quality and took Strehl measurements in a few different filters, resulting in some exceptionally sharp z’ band images of HD 9053:

Photo by Laird Close

Kyle worked on focal plane wavefront sensing, following the work of XWCL alumna Dr. Kelsey Miller (now at Leiden Observatory). The basic idea is using a little bit of the star light at the focal plane of your science camera to provide information on the real, honest-to-god wavefront error as experienced by the starlight at all optics downstream of the main wavefront sensor and correcting deformable mirror. In other words, yet another way of pushing light back where it belongs to make the sharpest possible images.

In unadaptive optics news, we captured Sirius A and B on our acquisition camera. Just for fun. Here they are:

Laird and Alex worked the first half of the night, but went to bed earlier so they could supervise the crane maneuvers to remove the MagAO-X optical table and legs. The PFS instrument is taking our place on the Nasmyth platform after lunch, so we need to get everything squared away before then. For my sake, and the sake of the instrument, I’m glad it’s in the hands of people who have had some sleep.

Jared, Olivier, Kyle, and I decabled the electronics rack and the AO Operator Computer, and got them safely stowed away until this afternoon when we’ll get them ready for shipment and/or storage. We rode down the hydraulic lift with our computers and rack of electronics. Someone made a comparison to going down with a ship.

Fortunately, we are led by a submariner, so we’ll resurface in May.

After which, we all agreed it was time to collapse into bed.

Except for Dr. Olivier Guyon, who had to call into a meeting.

I should be sleeping right now, but according to your MagAO-X song of the day there ain’t no rest for the wicked…

“Ain’t no rest for the wicked” by Cage the Elephant