MagAO-X 2022B Day 16: “Tonight’s blog content is going to be amazing”

Hello! It me, back on the mountain finally. As stated yesterday, I arrived finally yesterday afternoon (after high-fiving the departing Warren and Joseph at the La Serena airport through the window). I managed to stay up for sunset, then quickly went to bed after sleeping not a wink on the plane the night before. I slept all through the night and all through the day, finally rising for good at around 4pm. (note: this was partially on purpose so I could switch onto a night schedule, but my body did not object).

One thing that is super nice compared to our last run is that the nights are much shorter and we have a good amount of time after dinner before the sun sets around 9pm. Last run the sunset was basically during dinner, so we had no time to enjoy it before the work began.

We begun this evening with a vizzy hunt. We have yet to see any clean room vizzies, which is disappointing, but we can climb down a smidge from the telescope to a vizzy wonderland in the rocks below. Tonight was epic vizzy spotting, with a vizzy family and a little vizzy baby!

We love vizz
double vizz

Laird caught an awesome video of the vizzy family! We decided the one is the mom and the little one is her baby.

You’re welcome for the audio btw.

But the fun didn’t stop there. We went to see the dome opening, and the TO was kind enough to put on a little show for us!

Eden filmed the time-lapse videos, I put ’em together. If you watch closely you can spot a little Jialin below the telescope. Note to whom it may concern: she went slowly and carefully, she didn’t jump and bounce like it looks in the time-lapse!
Can you spy Jialin in the secondary
“Damn she thicc” – Anonymous

But the fun doesn’t stop there. After it got dark Jared and Laird took us to the spoooooky tunnel under the telescope:

MagAO’s old plumbing
Fan tunnel SPOOPY
Interferometry tunnel that never interferometried
Lookin’ at the cable wrap
Cable wrap
A feet pic?
Checking out how it floats and rotates
Suction cups used to grab and transport the primary mirror for recoating

“Avalon there is a statistically significant number of pictures with your eyes closed that exceed what it should be for random chance.”

And Laird visited an old friend:

The MagAO cooling pump is still alive with some air pressure, eternally hoping in vain for another chance to live out its purpose.

Last night we did a little surgery on VIS-X. It seems that manufacturers think that it’s mandatory to put a blinking or blaring LED on your tech. One of the science cameras in MagAO-X has a bright green LED on the back that shines right into VIS-X’s optics. It was giving ~700 counts just from the LED alone! Bad for science. So we activated VIS-X’s ghost mode:

Problem solved!

Now onto some science. Sebastiaan spent the first half with VIS-X, the integral field unit (IFU) spectrograph. He observed the huge and close giant star R Doradus. This guy is sooo big and soooo close that we are able to spatially resolve the star. That means that we can observe the surface of the star, instead of just a point source like pretty much every other star!

A spatially resolved R Dor. The full-width-half-maximum, which is the size of a typical point source on the image, is shown by the green circle. R Dor is so big!!
And there she is on VIS-X. Sebastiaan happy. “Damn she thicc” – anonymous
A close up of the VIS-X images. The red on the right is R Dor, the blue on the left is a hot B-type star taken earlier that is not resolved. You can clearly see the difference! In the background is a published paper of earlier R Dor observations; the red arrow is pointing to a star spot they observed. When we squint we can convince ourselves we see it too! Marked with the red arrow again.

Unfortunately the seeing is terrible tonight and the wind is HOWLING. Bad for science! Jialin and Laird took over around midnight, and we spent the next many hours fighting the seeing and getting terrible AO corrections.

But it wasn’t quite bad enough to foil VIS-X, our champion for the night. Sebastiaan hopped on and did another spatially-resolved star, Betelgeuse! He has now gotten 3 of the 4 spatially-resolved stars with VIS-X. Soon he’ll be first kid on the block to collect the whole set!

Look at all the science.

Despite our vizzy-blessed night, Jared once again banished our lucky vizz from the desktop. Hope that doesn’t bode ill for our observations.



But wait! There’s more! In a moment of triumph, Avalon got her much-labored-over low-order wavefront sensor closed and controlling 16 modes!! WOOO! She can now use past-tense in her phd applications and finish up her masters thesis.

Woozah it works!

Let’s end with some sunset telescope + Jupiter pics

Some quotes:

Damn she thicc

On several things tonight…

I had the flipaqc in again! It’s flipping me out!

On flipping out the flip mirror

There’s nothing like a pack of wild dogs to ruin your day at the beach

There sure isn’t.

I should have watched Super Troopers between the last run and now so I’d be briefed up on my quotes.

On inside jokes on runs.

We had nubbins. Now we don’t even have subnubbins.

On the poor seeing and it’s effect on our observations.

Observing runs are fueled by coke.

For legal purposes this is clearly about coca cola.

“<slightly judgementally>How long do you want to be on this target Laird?</slightly judgementally>”

“It was your dumb idea to go to it Sebastiaan”

Difficult seeing makes for strained interpersonal relationships.

“Avalon don’t listen to this crap”

“Oh I have been, as they say, lost in the sauce.”

On the requirement of luck for impactful science.

I gotta go yell sh*t at Laird

On doing science.

Song o’ Day: