MagAO-X 2022A Day 13: Farewell, Empanada Sunday

Full disclosure: empanada Sunday is not going anywhere – that was just clickbait to lure in readers. However, this is my last empanada Sunday since I leave the observatory in just a few days. I think the chefs knew as much because they baked an enormous party-sized empanada for all to enjoy. And all of us who received a night lunch (sorry, Laird) also enjoyed individual-sized empanadas of the strictly meat or cheese variety.

After the post-empanada excitement haze wore off and we were headed up to the telescope, I was again beset by the reality that last night the guider in front of MagAO-X had absconded away with several hours of engineering time; the hope for tonight was that wasn’t a repeatable event. After some team introspection inside the telescope dome, we agreed that a sighting of a mountain vizzy was a good omen, as it had been for MagAO-X’s move up to the telescope.

Alert mountain vizzy blending in with the rocks.
A good omen.

While I was outside of the telescope dome trying to change our luck, Logan, Joseph, and Avalon were inside watching it open up!

The telescope dome opens.
The Clay dome opens, and MagAO-X prepares to start its night.

At some later point in time in the night after loops were being closed and ADC movements were being correctly sent without offsets (not featured in any images, but just know that stars were walking away, seemingly on their own, from Jared for a while), the MagAO-X operators wanted to show everyone how to perform coronagraphic alignment. Sebastiaan went through the process of aligning the ‘bump mask’ in the coronagraphic entrance pupil which covers the dead actuator from the tweeter DM, then the larger opaque focal plane mask, and just as he was about to demonstrate positioning one of the Lyot stops, well, he couldn’t. Why? Because he couldn’t move the filter wheel of course!

Sebastiaan teaching everyone how to align the Lyot coronagraph. Featured in this image is the alignment of a focal plane mask.

The lack of fwlyot movement initiated a fair bit of troubleshooting: first in software, then with respect to the hardware. In the case of hardware, Jared and Laird, then separately Jared again had to go out to MagAO-X to give the filter wheel a stern talking to about its performance. In the end, there could be some controller issues, but the big resolve in aligning a Lyot stop was re-seating a cable which had a bent connector pin.

After this hiccup the night was relatively smooth as the next two images clearly demonstrate.

camsci1 and camsci2 imaging a star at H-alpha.
A PSF core of a star and its first Airy ring at H-alpha.
Screenshot of mega desk showing an aligned Lyot coronagraph image.
First light through the aligned Lyot coronagraph. Thanks for the screenshot, Sebastiaan (and Joseph).

Very nice PSF and coronagraphic PSF images were taken with more and more modes used in closed loop, so MagAO-X is well on its way. Moreover, empanadas were enjoyed by all throughout the night, although at least in my case, there was a slight complication from eating an empanada and wearing a face mask right after: my mask smelled like fried pastry dough for a while. Nevertheless, a successful night in all regards, yet perhaps it wasn’t only the mountain vizzy, but also the empanadas yielding better outcomes for us.

Not to dwell, but last night there was a LOT of talking between the TOs and those in charge of the telescope, and not so much science or engineering. Tonight we’ve definitely moved forward, so one might say we were a little less talk and a little more rock: (Less talk more rokk, Freezepop)

Less talk more rokk by Freezepop.