MagAO-X 2019B Unpacking Day 7: I broke Megadesk.

Friends, this was supposed to be a celebratory blog post.

My web-based interface to MagAO-X is getting to the stage where it’s actually useful. My suitcase finally arrived from airline purgatory. I finished my SPIE 2020 abstract. I found out how to make the soda machine dispense plain fizzy water (my one non-caffeinated vice).

However, fate had other plans for this author.

One of the reasons for constant comings and goings of MagAO-C and MagAO-X personnel here at LCO is that the P.I. foresaw the need for periodic supply missions from Tucson, as the unpacking process gradually revealed what we’d forgotten to stuff in the shipping containers back in October. (Alas, that he could have foreseen what would befall poor Megadesk!)

Among my items to hand-carry was a monitor mounting plate from the exquisite quadruple monitor stand in our lab in Arizona to stand in for a missing part in the corresponding quadruple monitor stand in Chile.

Four monitors are suspended from a mount in an inverted T-shape arrangement at the desk in our lab.
Four computer monitors are visible, three sitting on a desk and one on a mount. The mount has positions for all four, but only one is occupied.

Of course, LATAM and American conspired to lose the suitcase containing this, replacement clean-room booties, 3/8″ plastic tubing, Fruit Snacks for Kyle, MagAO-X hats and stickers, and all of my clothes.

(I set out from Tucson on Saturday, and by the time the suitcase caught up to me Wednesday afternoon I was likely offending staff and scientist alike with my single pair of jeans that were last considered clean five whole days ago.)

Naturally, as soon as the bag arrived, I gathered up all the MagAO-X special deliveries and ferried them to the clean room. A viscacha was perched above the loading dock—normally an auspicious sign.

A viscacha perches under the eaves of the cleanroom building

In this case, however, it proved a dark portent—as I shall explain shortly.

This was also the end of the MagAO run, meaning it was time to remove from the telescope Clio2, VisAO, the MagAO Nasmyth unit, and the crown jewel—the MagAO adaptive secondary. Both extremely heavy and extremely delicate, its removal is a multi-person job involving many observatory personnel under the watchful direction of MagAO P.I. Laird Close. If you are concerned about the aforementioned omens, fear not—MagAO’s removal was a complete success! As I’ve blogged (and assisted) with this before, I’ll confine my comments to what’s new this time.

This afternoon was a first for MagAO-X and MagAO-C: two generations of Magellan adaptive optics systems (and their P.I.s) in the same cleanroom!

Jared Males and Laird Close, MagAO-X and MagAO PIs, stand next to their respective instruments in the LCO cleanroom
From left: MagAO ASM, Prof. Laird Close, Dr. Jared Males, and MagAO-X (behind the nitrogen tank) (Photo by Emily Mailhot)

But let us return to my shame, my downfall, the tragic demise of Megadesk-LCO. I slotted in the new brackets and attempted to affix all four monitors to the stand. The last one proved unable to fit, requiring some adjustment to the height of the arm that supports the three monitors arrayed horizontally.

The following conversation took place, somewhat portentously.

Me: “And this monitor stand—it’s not clamped to the desk, or anything?”

Jared: “No, it’s pretty stable with just the base plate.”

Me: “Wow, I need one for myself”

Jared: “Here’s the instruction manual. You finish up here; I have to go upstairs and finish a proposal.”

About five minutes later, the monitor mount was on the floor. You see, I made a classic blunder: forgetting about simple machines. When I removed the first monitor and turned to set it down somewhere safe, I didn’t consider the lever action of the horizontal mounting bar. With the mount in a partially disassembled state, its center of gravity went sideways… and so did it, slowly at first and then all at once.

There was one casualty, a 4K monitor in the lower right position that landed “buttered-side down”. Your author, appropriately mortified, informed the P.I.

Penance was assigned.

Anyway, we now have 0.75 of Megadesk. And an order for a new monitor.

To not end on a totally negative note, here’s a panorama I took on the road to the Magellans that would be ideally suited for a desktop background with the new three-up monitor arrangement.

A panorama of the Chilean desert at sunset with scattered purple clouds

The blog rules state today’s Song Of The Day must relate in some way to the last MagAO-C post’s song of the day (which was “Gangnam Style” by Psy).

They do not state the connection must be obvious.

Here’s “Essentially” by Japanese Breakfast (and no, I don’t think Psy is Japanese!)