MAPS Sep. 2023B Night 1: Field trip!

Hello Extreme Wavefront friends, I’m back! Tonight was the start of our first MAPS run after the summer shutdown and it’s the usual packed control room, multi-tasking team, full moon, and beautiful mountaintop observatory!

[Image description: Gallery of photos showing the MMT Observatory at the top of Mount Hopkins, the telescope overlooking the valley, and the moon and clouds through the dome slit.]

MAPS is the MMT AO exoPlanet characterization System and is an ASM-based third-generation AO system with two pyramid wavefront sensors and a suite of science cameras. Our primary focus is on exoplanet science, although the broader diffraction-limited/enhanced-seeing MMT community will also benefit from the return of AO.

On this run we are starting with general system checkout and alignment, then focusing on AO software tasks such as offloading and pupil real-time alignment, as well as on-sky calibration of our interaction matrices.

It was a fun first night with Grant announcing “Field trip!” everytime we asked him and Dan to go up to the dome and adjust something in the Top Box.

By the end of the night we had nicely aligned PISCES and the pyramid pupils.

[Image description: Gallery of photos showing astro-engineers in the control room operating AO software or looking at the sunset; line drawing of telescope and camera optics; and photos of various guis showing starlight manipulated in various ways to show PSFs, pupil images, and pyramid pupils.]

For the blog rules, we’ll stick with the classic/basics: One post per night, one song of the day.

Tonight’s song of the day is a cover of the Cranberries’ Zombie by Bad Wolves:

[Media description: High-production-value music video of the group “Bad Wolves” performing the song “Zombie” as a cover and tribute to the original by the Cranberries.]