MagAO-X 2024Ab Day 7: Chilly in Chile

Greetings from the downstairs lounge, where you can see exactly as many stars as upstairs. That’s right: it’s another cloudy evening here at Las Campanas Observatory, but one ray of bright starshine has broken through: Dr. Alycia Weinberger! She had to spend a night in Miami, and another night in Santiago, but she has finally arrived!

We all forgot to document her arrival for the blog, so have a condor instead.

Since the clouds stubbornly remained at sunset, we went on an expedition beneath the Magellans.

Okay, that’s enough natural beauty. (Photo: Alycia Weinberger)

There was a fad in the 90s for two-for-one telescope deals, along with vague plans for interferometers (some realized). True to form, the two Magellans are connected by a tunnel.

This is where I’d put my interferometer… if I had one.

We also explored the maze of twisty passages.

Reminiscent of her majesty’s navy?

We descended into the oubliette.

If someone messes up the instrument alignment, they will be confined below.

There are removable floor grates to confound your enemies.

Legend has it that a secret sub-sub-basement exists, hiding untold riches.

Here’s a view upwards through the central core where all the wires and hoses snake up to the telescope platform, eventually entering a cable wrap.

Don’t look up.

There is a two meter thermal exhaust port:

Ask not about the biblical mouse plague.

Evidence of researcher enthusiasm underneath 100 tons of telescope.

Evidence of Dr. Weinberger’s arrival, upper left in gray.

Maggie Kautz bid a fond farewell to MagAO-X, as she will be leaving in the morning. Maggie has graduated, which means she probably needs to defend her dissertation soon.

anTop? What’s an anTop?

Then she came back and replaced a picomotor that had gone on strike due to the cold conditions.

It could be Professor Laird Close under that getup, for all we know. (Photo: Jared Males)

Once she finishes up her doctorate, she will be starting a new job… as a staff engineer at Steward Observatory, home of MagAO-X! (And some other stuff I guess.)

After we bid our actual farewell to Maggie-O-X, it was time for Josh to drive. We found that all of Sebastiaan’s notebooks were still on the old ICC data drives, so some surgery was required to get them back into place on the new and improved SSD array.

Okay, keep an eye out: we’re looking for a 500GB folder called “SYH_notebooks”

As I write, there’s some serious disk pic analysis happening in the lounge, so maybe this night won’t be a complete bust…

Highlight of the Day

Per 2024Ab rules, the best part of the day… might be the underground Magellan tour, actually! So, you already read all about it.

Song of the Day

“Black Moon” by Screaming Females

(Technically a waxing gibbous, but I can’t see shit.)

Our semi-occasional recurring feature: “Overheard at LCO”

“We’re just roadies for a metal band called MagAO-X.”

“At least on the internal source I can’t break anything.”
Why would you say that?!

“It’s a dissertation. It doesn’t have to be perfect.”