NAS Fitcheck Day 0: Empanada Sunday

Lunch on Sunday is always empanadas here at LCO, and it’s cold enough that a big bowl of hot soup hits the spot.

My lunch today.

Today was spent rebuilding VisAO after the cooling box interference and the motherboard fiasco from unpacking. It’s almost back together (and I have 2 spare motherboards just in case). But sadly that meant it was time to say goodbye to vizcacha, the stand-in VisAO computer. As if to mark the occasion, our old friend the cleanroom Viscacha said hello this morning.

He still seems pretty skeptical of me.

Here’s the VisAO cooling box, modified so it can stay installed on the handling cart. It used to be a rectangle.

The VisAO cooling box, with modification to fit on the handling cart.

Tonight’s pretty picture:

The moon at sunset from outside the cleanroom.

The grown ups arrive tomorrow, so I guess that means we’ll start using positive numbers.

NAS Fitcheck Day -1: Back To Work

MagAO is back at LCO. Jared arrived yesterday (Day -1 on the schedule) to begin preparing for a “fitcheck” where we will bolt the NAS to the telescope and test our communications and plumbing. The NAS (=Nasmyth Assembly because it goes on a Nasmyth port of the telescope) is the big black ring that holds our cameras.

The trip to the mountain from La Serena had some excitement. An accident on the highway caused a long traffic jam, so we followed some locals and took an offroad shortcut.

We followed this truck on the "alternative" route around the traffic jam.
Looking back at the backed up highway after we'd circumvented the mess.

Everything is just how we left it, waiting for us to come back.

The NAS.
The secondary in the clean room, wrapped up to keep dust out.
A familiar view. Still gorgeous.
A nice moon after dinner.

CCD Cooling Build

Jason finished assembling our new CCD (and shutter) cooling system in the mirror lab yesterday. After several tries, and finally replacing the threaded cap that wouldn’t hold pressure, the system passed a pressure and operational test. It’s on its way to Pasadena, and from there to Chile.

Here Jason is installing the drain valve on the tank outlet.
These are our CCD cold plates, and the famous shutter, with coolant flowing through them.
Just after pressurizing the system.
And after about 10 minutes, with the pump running.

Getting Ready

We have settled on dates for our upcoming “NAS Fitcheck” run. We’ll be back at LCO for the last 2 weeks of August, and during the last few days we plan to bolt the NAS on the telescope and test as many things as possible.

Jason and I are working on assembling and testing a new cooling system for the W-Unit here at the Mirror Lab, and plan to have it ready to be installed with the NAS next month.

Jason Lewis stands next to our new cooling system's tank and pump.