MagAO-X gets sporty

As originally reported on the Steward Observatory website, and archived here for posterity:

On Jan 17, NBA Hall of Famer, one of “50 Greatest Players in NBA History,” and iconic Deadhead Bill Walton came to town to be the color commentator for the UA-Oregon men’s basketball game. Whenever Walton is a commentator ESPN has a 2-minute feature called “Walton’s World.” In this episode, Bill visited the MagAO-X lab at Steward!

Congratulations to Dr. Miller, MagAO-X’s newly minted PhD!

This is a late post, but on November 16, 2018, Kelsey Miller successfully defended her Ph.D. dissertation! Congratulations, Dr. Miller!

Kelsey and her Ph.D. Committee – Olivier, Jared, and Michael

Kelsey’s research is on Linear Dark Field Control (LDFC), a focal plane wavefront sensing technique where she monitors the bright field speckles and uses their linear nature to maintain stability in the dark hole. She has been developing LDFC using the MagAO-X pupil and vAPP coronagraph design. You can learn more about Kelsey’s work in LDFC (JATIS, arXiv) and how LDFC will work with MagAO-X (SPIE, arXiv).

Kelsey is off to cooler climates at Leiden Observatory in the Netherlands, who have been our collaborators with the vAPP coronagraph. She will be a postdoctoral researcher with Frans Snik, continuing her work on LDFC to get it working on sky. We will miss you tremendously!

Taking delivery of the MagAO-X vAPP coronagraph

On September 17, 2018, we got our first look at the MagAO-X vAPP (that’s “vector apodizing phase plate”) coronagraph optic. Kelsey Miller had been working with the phase pattern for a long time, but there’s something special about holding it with your own hands. Or, at any rate, watching the P.I. hold it with his own hands.

Jared and Kelsey pose with an image taken through the vAPP coronagraph.
The vAPP slotted right into Kelsey’s coronagraph testbed, and we got the predicted pattern on our camera! Fourier optics works.