MagAO-X 24Ab Day 15: Time to roll out

Last time, on We were still having weather. Your AO operator valiantly tried to lock the loop on a 10th magnitude star through patchy cirrus before our observers took pity and let us switch to something brighter. But finally TO Hernán got the call, stepped outside for some professional cloud watching, and the dome closed at around 11pm. The first shift crew trickled out, the second shift trickled in, and I got caught somewhere in between taking calibrations on our internal source. I took the bright moon walk down the hill, appreciated what I could of the night and the cold before finally heading to bed at 2am.

The patchy clouds responsible for our WFS’ variable flux.
A moon bow! Just the right thickness of cloud to get a ring of scattered light from the full moon.

The take down crew (Laird, Logan and I) caught up with the returning night shifters (Jared, Joseph, Jay, and Josh) at breakfast. (Am I self-conscious about being the only violation of the first letter name crew segregation? A little.) Turns out we did reopen! Around 3am the clouds cleared enough for us to rush to the transit for Gabriele’s early morning target. Only for wind to spike and seeing go from 0.8 to 1.5as soon after. Just before sunrise, they called it, and started the decabling soon after. Gabriele, though not captured, helped out too. A champion among guest observers. You’re welcome back any time, Gabriele!

DM decabling in the wee hours of the morning.

Night crew, full of orange juice and toast (as per PI procedure), headed for bed while us day crew revved our way up to the mountain. We only realized how much we had to thank the decable crew for when we rolled up to the platform. They had made our jobs a walk in the park. Cables and electronics box already down on the dome floor, the cart ready to go, with the bumpers out of the way, MegaDesk completely dismantled int the control room. They won’t always tell you they love you, but there will be signs.

We still had plenty of work to do to get out of the telescope’s way by noon, when the next night’s instrument would be rolled into our place. Yesterday we met before dinner to go over the procedure, and this morning we expertly executed said procedure. Except a few bolts that felt especially sticky (*COUGH* legs side B outer bolt *COUGH COUGH*), the cart and lifting hardware behaved itself beautifully.

At the briefing yesterday, everyone was very briefed on the new lift position.
I hold the instrument steady as the cart gets assembled.
Laird and Logan reattaching the hardware that keeps pur instrument safe from earthquakes.

Juan and his crew helped us go from legs to cart, cart to elevator, elevator to 40ph wind tunnel, to the final tour town the hill. Laird was there to help oversee the careful maneuvers with our precious wheel-bound table of optics. He was also there to document just HOW MUCH WIND we’re talking about.

The wind was so strong it knocked over Laird!
Baade, snow capped mountians, an AO instrument on the move.
Movign the electronics rack back to the clean room.

Where were Logan and I? Frantically shuttling computer parts, cables, and all our other bits and bobs out of the telescope and down the hill. We try hard to be polite and get MagAO-X junk out of the control room ASAP. As it happens, ASAP turns out to take 3 car trips of stuff and gets us done just before lunch. And MagAO-X is back where we want it, cozy and protected from the elements in the cleanroom antechamber.

Everyone is back in the cleanroom, and room temperture.

AND POOF. We’re back! Actually after lunch I fell asleep for an exertion-induced nap, during which Laird, Juan and crew got us back on legs and back in action. The afternoon was full of unwrapping, dusting, power supply cursing musings, and positioning MagAO-X where it will live for the summer before we come back down for 24B.

MagAO-X positioned in the cleanroom to maximize 1) sharable space with other isntruments and 2) sticker visibility.

What does it take to get MagAO-X cleanroom ready? A lot of organizing, reshuffling, and repeating steps we did on the telescope platform. There were a few special quirks with the new placement in the cleanroom and making sure everything got the power it needed.

A timelapse by Jay of Laird floating the table. Watch that control loop work!
The mega desk downgrade, in which Joseph talks sense into AOC.

Some of the crew (Jared Jay Josh – J^3) will be staying an extra day to make sure everything is in good condition for our summer remote ops. As for the rest of us, this is our last night at LCO for the 24A runs! For the special occasion, we made sure that we took a last sunset as a team, with a special surprise for Jared.

The largest sunset group photo. See reflections for a captured Josh.

The glasses looked so good, how could we not take a few extra shots?

Best 15 minutes of the day? Finding out there was pizza for dinner, eating pizza, thinking fondly of the pizza, and getting a second serving of pizza. But of course, the pizza tastes better with the laughs shared at dinner with our AO family.

Song of the Day

Today’s song brought to you by the bitter sweet of leaving the mountain after a hard run.

Head in the Clouds by The Beths