MagAO-X 2019B Unpacking Day 11: These Kids Can Ball

In the gym today I noticed a bunch of new trophies. Check it out:

the trophy case
First place in futbol
And Tennis.
The full futbol

This is the clearly the best observatory.

These guys agree:

And they liked the weather today
As you can tell, the winds were below 20.

I missed the sunset, but came out of the cleanroom in time to catch this:

The post sunset.

Today’s song is Miley Cyrus’s version of Jolene (the Backyard Sessions one).

MagAO-X 2019B Unpacking Day 10: On The Correlation Between Viscachas and Windspeed

As Joseph reported yesterday, we couldn’t find any sign of our viscacha friends and we suspected it was due to the high winds and colder temperatures. Today I was able to gather more evidence. A correlation is seen between the local density of viscachas and the wind speed at their location. The following plot illustrates:

A viscacha was present at the cleanroom when I arrived shortly after breakfast. Upon my departure for lunch, no viscachas were found. (times are UTC)

We establish a working threshold of 20 mph for vischacha absence. The nature of this transition is unknown.

The vischacha hoping for a calm day. The direction of causality between vischacha absence and high winds has yet to be established. Further study is needed.

It wasn’t all science today. We also fixed some calibration issues with our new setup in the LCO cleanroom. This took some remote help from our real-time software guru.

Olivier Guyon waves to his grad students at Arizona.

Today’s song is “You Could Be Mine” by GNR.

MagAO-C 2019B Day 13: TUS home

MagAO-Classic has landed in TUS. This is the last MagAO-C 2019B post.

Here we are at the baggage claim in Tucson. We all made it and so did our bags! [Image description: Katie, Amali, Emily, and Laird are all smiling at the camera, we look happy to be reunited with Tucson and our luggage.]

And I am currently surrounded by cats, who are much better snugglers than vizcachas.

Spot the vizcacha.

Spot the vizcacha. [Image description a brown bunny-looking thing hidden on a brown hillside with some brown rocks and brown grasses and brown scraggly bushes in the reddish glow of sunset on my last night.]

On the day we left I checked that everything was safely stowed.

Clio and the NAS safely stored in the Aux. [Image description: A round black metal circle covers the NAS with its electronic boxes sticking out above like Mickey Mouse ears. Clio sits on its cart, with its electronics rack beside. Very important MagAO tools are also stored here.]

Amali said goodbye to her rock garden.

Amali with the rocks. [Image description: Amali is crouched down to put the finishing touches on an orderly arrangement of ~inch-sized rocks varying in color from black to orangey-red, next to the sidewalk by her room.]

We headed down the hill at 8:30am Chile time and got home to Tucson around 11am MST for a total of about 31 hours travel time.

Roadside shrine [Image description: A tiny house with a saint inside, and a cross and 2 Chilean flags outside. Along the road, with desert-y-looking brown/dry landscape and some hills in the background.]

The flowers were blooming at El Pino and the new dorms for our mid-day rest were really very lovely and extremely comfortable:

We saw Tyson in LSC and heard he had a nice stay at Hotel Enjoy. He was on the same SCL-DFW flight and was nice enough to get me into the club in SCL and Laird in DFW. It was nice seeing you Tyson, hope you made it home safely too!

Overall this was a good run, I think Emily did a great job learning MagAO and Amali did great working with her and refreshing her memory on the LBTI compare/contrast differences.

Jared, Amali, and Emily work to set up for the last night in the Clay control room. (Amali is there, you can find her.) [Image description: Clay control room, with walls of monitors, and AOistas sitting at desks and computers, working away.]
Jared giving Amali and Emily a tour of MagAO-X. [Image description: Everyone is wearing clean-room coats and hairnets; Jared is also wearing a face and beard mask. Jared is pointing at the back of the optics doll house while Amali and Emily look on.]
Good bye Clay and LCO, you did a great job! [Image description: The Izuzu that takes the ASM down the hill to the clean room is parked at the Clay telescope awaiting its cargo.]

The song of the day: Taylor Swift’s Perfect Fight Song by Andy Wu Musicland featuring Pink, Ellie Goulding, and Rachel Platten:

MagAO-X 2019B Unpacking Day 9: Pushing buttons

This was, incredibly, a zero-viscacha day. It was quite windy, a bit chilly, and there may have been a viscacha conference (¿visconferencia?) in the next valley over.

Dr. Jared Males stands on the mountain, overlooking the valley below.
Dr. Jared R. Males, MagAO-X field biologist, in search of the elusive wild viscacha. Or just stretching his legs after a long day of coding.

Meanwhile, in MagAO-X land, we continue pushing buttons on our computers and watching what happens. I promised a peek at the MagAO-X web interface, so here’s part of it… that no visiting observer will ever see!

Screenshot of the MagAO-X web interface showing rows of virtual power toggle switches
On-the-go power GUI, for when you want to try turning it off and on again from your room.

While most of the web-based interface will be designed for the needs of guest observers, this screen is definitely an “authorized personnel only” deal. With it, you can remotely power on or off anything in the instrument! I was authorized by Jared to toggle the acquisition flip motor power on and off during testing.

While it was a zero-viscacha day, it was also a one-snake day! Jared encountered a juvenile Philodryas chamissonis on his run. This species is known locally as la culebra de cola larga. In a juvenile spirit, I feel I should share that this could be translated as either “long-tailed snake” or “long-butted snake”.

A sandy gray-brown snake on the ground, snaking away from the camera
Also known as the “Chilean Green Racer”, according to some website, this species has actually made an appearance on the blog before! (Photo by Jared Males)

Following Emily’s theme of Firsts, and because I’m very unlikely to have the chance to attach this song to the actual first light post: “First Light” by Balmorhea.

MagAO-C Day 12 – “Well that’s never happened before.”

If we got a Chilean peso for every time that phrase was used this run we could build a new ASM. From network ghosts and hardware bamboozle-ments to empty Chilean airports and Katie’s missing sandwich, we encountered a lot of new scenarios. The most troubling and only one unresolved – Katie’s missing sandwich. Last seen in the main kitchen around 2300 last night, could it be a sneaky vizzy or a stolen late night snack. The world may never know.

Our driver from LCO was ready at 830 am sharp. It was hard say goodbye to LCO and our MagAO-X comrades who stayed behind (Jared and Joesph), but we will soon be reunited in Tucson. Our drive down the mountain was complete with burros, goats and even an owl. Our driver pointed the little one out to us – it was totally un-phased by the van!

Security checkpoint.
A cute little hoot! Perched on a Las Campanas Observatory sign. Photo by Laird Close.

First we headed to El Pino, the LCO La Serena offices. In town we encountered traffic lights and signs that were missing, presumably due to the riots and protests. Graffiti, broken windows, and destroyed gas stations were seen throughout the city, but we did not encounter any issues. In fact driving without operational traffic lights was rather calm. We were each given a room to get a nap and a shower before headed to La Serena airport for LAN 303 at 1541. By tradition, after checking our bags we waited for our plane with some salty papas fritas in the restaurant upstairs, after two weeks of healthy meals we were craving some junk food. Most of us had leftover night (day?!) lunches in our backpacks as well.

Salty goodness
Here’s Katie and Laird enjoying a pre-flight meal. Amali and I mooched off the fries.

Security and the famed PDI slip exchange went smoothly at both La Serena and Santiago, where we are currently waiting for our all nighter flight to DFW to board. Here’s Amali boarding at the hardstand for our La Serena to Santiago flight.

The best jetways.
Amali boarding the Latam 303 flight. Our random seat assignments placed Amali up front and Laird, Katie, and I all clustered in the back.

It’s almost time to board our 787, I’ll miss Chile and LCO, in just one visit I feel I’ve found a new home.

Keeping with the classic rule and the “that’s never happened before” theme here’s: Foreigner – Feels Like The First Time.