MagAO Commissioning Day 30: Local minimum

Well, we are almost home… we made it to the Dallas airport. When we left in early November, the election had just concluded and I was still eating Halloween candy. Thanksgiving has come and gone. And now that we are back in the US, we are hit with the usual full-blown American Christmas with music, trees, and poinsettias overstimulating our tired traveling brains. We were trying to find the Admiral’s club in DFW and were talking very nerdily about MCMC algorithms to help us find it, and Laird said “I hope we don’t get trapped in a local minimum!” So here we are in a local minimum, and will be getting back to Tucson in a few hours. So let’s look at some highlights from the run.

The trip started with a solar eclipse on Nov 13th
We played some ultimate frisbee to unwind and for team comraderie.
The control room was packed -- but we never ran out of cookies!
We saw some beautiful sunsets
Saw some great vizzies
And had some touching advisor-student moments
We asked for more cowbell, and Simone wavefront-sensed by eye and figured out that we were phase-wrapping at the pyramid ... and that it could be fixed with a sign change in the interaction matrices
We made some pretty pictures
And made the highest angular resolution image in the universe -- Theta 1 Ori C in the optical. We later beat this by a few mas on the same binary. Better images are on the way.

Last quote of the run:

“Is it finally safe to say things around you two?” – Laird, to Jared and Katie.

MagAO Commissioning Day 29: The After Party

We’re off the mountain! Laird, Katie, Jared and TJ finished putting MagAO to bed yesterday, and made the journey down to La Serena. We spent one night there, and with Laird’s folks took some time off to celebrate.

We stayed in the beach town Coquimbo, right next to La Serena.
After a relaxing day of snoozing, exercising, and enjoying the beach, we headed out on the town.
After a wonderful dinner, Laird asked if anyone had extra sugar packets for his te'. The entire table contributed.
The official MagAO hotel in Coquimbo is the Casino Enjoy, which is right on the beach. None of us are big gamblers (Tyson left a week ago), but we did visit the floor to see what was going on. Here Katie poses next to a patriotic slot machine.
After a good party and a long sleep, we went into La Serena and played at tourist. Here we're waiting for Laird's dad Nick to park the car.
We hit La Recova, a place to buy local wares. Lots of Christmas shopping was accomplished.
The Plaza de Armas of La Serena.
We are on our way home now.
We've made it as far as the admiral's club in Santiago. TJ and I are looking a little fried here - been a long trip.

Katie Morzinski, Sagan Fellow, passed out in Santiago.

The PI catches some z in the Santiago admiral's club. Might as well start catching up early.

We have a long overnight flight to Dallas ahead of us, but we’re almost home.

Some quotes from the last couple of days:

“Can you guys stop talking?” – Katie (to Laird and Jared)

“I gotta admit, I like strawberry margaritas…yes, I want a margarita, but do you have strawberry? Damn. Ok, just give me the fruit.” – Laird

“We all have these subtle emotional IQs, and because we’re astronomers we’re all a little screwed up.” – Laird

“Laird is a bright boy.” – Jared, quoting Tibor, a friend of Laird’s dad and occasional MagAO fellow traveler.

“LCO is a great place, if you’re into guys, right Katie?” – Laird

“What are you doing in my room?!?! I’m El Presidante!” – Laird (the maids at Casino Enjoy can be . . . persistent)

“Between scotch and fruit cups there are many layers. And one of them is raspberry mojito.” – Katie

“It’s ok. I’m American.” – TJ, to a policewoman.

“Bear Down!” – random stranger, to TJ and his A jacket.

MagAO Commissioning Day 28: Going home

The last of the MagAO team left LCO today. So long and thanks for all the spatial resolution! Since we didn’t all overlap, here are the 3 group pictures we took that captured everyone who came on the commissioning run:

Back row: Armando Riccardi, Enrico Pinna, Alfio Puglisi, Simone Esposito, Jared Males, Tyson Hare, Phil Hinz. Front row: Marco Xompero, Alan Uomoto, Laird Close, Katie Morzinski. Not pictured: Derek Kopon
Back row: Derek Kopon, Ya-Lin Wu, Enrico Pinna, Phil Hinz, Laird Close, Tyson Hare, Kate Follette, T.J. Rodigas. Front row: Alfio Puglisi, Simone Esposito, Alan Uomoto, Katie Morzinski, Jared Males.
Back row: Enrico Pinna, Ya-Lin Wu, Simone Esposito, Laird Close, Alan Uomoto, T.J. Rodigas, Jared Males, Tyson Hare. Front row: Runa Briguglio, Alfio Puglisi, Kate Follette, Katie Morzinski.

LCO Style

Hola, it’s Vizzy!  I work hard to keep my fur fuzzed, so I was asked to do a special guest post on LCO style.  MagAO has been immersed in the culture of LCO for a month, and they are a stylish bunch indeed.  Here we go!

Yours truly, guest blogger

LCO is a pretty stylin’ place.

Caution: Style ahead.

What with the jumpsuits,

Nelson and Miguel watch in style, as the ASM is trucked up

clean room attire,

Marco, Armando, and Katie working the clean room look. Note the fine Italian booties.

ASM-handling accessories,

Laird and Juan accessorize their ASM-handling look with an of-the-moment face mask and purple gloves

hard hats,

Hard hat style -- Jared and Katie. (Note laser for alignment at upper center.)

and steel-toe shoes…

Most colorful steel toes

MagAO worked at LCO in style.

LCO staff always inspire me to keep up my look:

Emilio Cerda, style inspiration
Miguel Méndez and Nelson Ibacache style their jumpsuits with colorful harnesses
Juan Gallardo works the striped and color-blocked style
Pato Jones has great style -- I love the creativity in his scarf! He also donated his clean-room jacket to the cause of sun protection for the ASM
Povilas Palunas kicks it in my favorite steel-toe boots

Laird Close, the PI of MagAO, is a style leader as well.

Laird Close keeps it cool

Laird brought with him a plethora of Italians, Arizonans, and Californians to put together MagAO.

Armando Riccardi is the leader of ASM style
Simone Esposito leads Pyramid style
Alfio Puglisi, software style
Runa Briguglio, ASM and tea style
Enrico Pinna, Pyramid style
Marco Xompero, ASM style
Alan Uomoto, tech manager style
Tyson Hare, all-round engineering style
Phil Hinz, Clio PI, shows his LBTI pride
Katie Morzinski, Sagan Postdoctoral Fellow, styles her steel-toe sneakers with stripey/plaid/color-blocked looks and an HR 8799 T-shirt
Derek Kopon, first MagAO PhD, goes for a crisp clean look, while carrying a delicate optic for pizazz
Jared Males, VisAO Instrument Scientist and MagAO Real-Time and Networking Software Engineer, styles his hat like Robin Hood
Kate Follette, Astronomer, has a versatile look, from cool to angelic, in her range of headwear and spot-lighting
T.J. Rodigas kicks back in his UofA track suit, Rocket Scientist T-shirt, and carries a must-have MacBook Pro
Ya-Lin Wu, MagAO's newest team member, looks slick in modern observing wear

In conclusion, I will miss this stylish team when the last of them depart LCO tomorrow.  Thanks for always taking flattering photos of me, guys!  And see you in 2013A!

Laird, Alan, Alfio, Simone, Jared, Armando, Mauricio, Phil, and Marco

MagAO Commissioning Day 27: Time for Bed

This is my least favorite part: packing everthing up, getting organized, finding all of our lost allen wrenches, and taking a zip-tie inventory.

The PI stumbles into breakfast after our last night on sky.

The ASM came off the telescope yesterday, and rode down the hill first thing this morning.

The MagAO ASM backs up to the clean room, where it will sit safely waiting for us to return in March, 2013.

The last major operation was to unbolt and crane the NAS off the telescope.

Juan reviews the NAS removal procedure before we start.
Laird untangles our NAS lifting harness. Every single member of the project has fought this contraption at least once, and lost . . . miserably.
The NAS weighs 1800 lbs (remember? that's why we buy C/75 steel toes) so the crane picks up that much weight before we remove the bolts.

Once the NAS came off, we got a look at the W-Unit for the first time in a few weeks. Here’s our wollaston beamsplitter, which helped deliver some amazing SDI science at visible wavelengths.

The VisAO SDI Wollaston beamsplitter. The elevator is voice activated.

Kate, who is using the VisAO SDI mode to study disks around young stars, had never actually seen the fully assembled instrument before. Here’s a picture of me and Kate after a quick tour of the components she’s been operating the last few nights.

Jared and Kate looking happy with VisAO as they help take it and the rest of the NAS off the Clay telescope.
The NAS heading down on the elevator, on its way back to its parking spot in the Aux building. See you in March!

We also cleaned up some of our, shall we say, less rigorous engineering solutions.

Katie with one of her many significant contributions to the project - our power cord protector. Alas, this has been scavenged and returned to service as packing material for Vizzy's monitors.

Laird’s folks happened to wander by today (why are you surprised? it’s not like we’re on a mountain top in a remote area of South America or anything). As is his wont, Laird put them to work settling the ASM into the clean room. I hear they helped flip it back to zenith. Perhaps even more appreciated was a chocalate fix for certain members of the team who didn’t plan very well.

A welcome change from Chilean oreos. Don't get me wrong, the cookies are great. But this is day 27.

Quote of the day:

“We should come up with something that looks less like garbage. I mean, it’s well decorated garbage. But.” – Povilas Polunas.