Today, we present the eyepiece of MagAO-X!! Back in the day, astronomy was only ever done with an eyepiece. But now, we have far better technology than our own eyeballs to do science. If Galileo or Edwin Hubble were looking down at us, they would probably be jealous.
Nowadays, telescopes rarely have eyepieces, because the instruments use science cameras to take data instead. But if an instrument does have an eyepiece, it is probably just for fun, so we can feel like Hubble looking through a telescope with our own eyes. That is pretty much why we have an eyepiece for MagAO-X! So that we can see the power of extreme adaptive optics with our own eyes…it’s pretty cool!
The MagAO-X eyepiece was generously donated by the Close family, and it is a work of art. It has a shiny plaque that mimics the traditional tailpiece of a classic telescope.
Today, Laird, Maggie, and I tweaked the alignment of the eyepiece optics to make sure it is ready for our next nights on-sky (December 7 and 8). We are planning on using it to see the power of MagAO-X with our own eyes! I took a picture with my smart phone through the eyepiece with our internal light source on. The rainbows you see in the image are due to our 2,000 actuator deformable mirror. There are so many actuators over a small distance that the mirror acts like a diffraction grating!
Jared and Joseph did some work on the electronics rack today. Now we have one additional GPU in the RTC specifically for predictive control calculations.
For the rest of the night, Jared and Olivier continued working on closed loop calibrations and predictive control while Laird, Maggie, Kyle, Joseph and I worked on other MagAO-X stuff.
It is officially Christmas in Chile! They put up a Christmas tree in the lodge.
Also someone has been feeding one of the zorros, so we have a friendly fox that hangs out by the lodge now. I managed to capture a picture of him hanging out.
And of course, a picture of the sunset for the beginning of our “day.”