MagAO 2018 Day N: Still Not Home

We left LCO 48 hours ago.

When we got to La Florida airport in La Serena, it was foggy. And it got foggier. So as we waited for our plane to land so we could board it and travel home, we slowly lost sight of the runway. Then we heard the plane as it buzzed the runway and decided it couldn’t land. That’s a bad feeling.

The official hotel of MagAO, the Casino Enjoy, was full. So we had to downgrade and check into the Costa Real — a.k.a. the GPI hotel.

At the Costa Real Hotel bar, working on getting flights for the next day.

We got complementary empanadas con queso, at least

We ended up with essentially the same itinerary, 24 hours later. So we got some time for a walk around La Serena.

The view of our La Serena street corner

It’s actually been 5 or so years since we bothered to spend time in La Serena. La Recova is the same.

We remembered the La Recova fountain.

La Recova

We are now in Dallas. As we landed at 5 am this morning we were greated to notifications that our flight to Tucson was delayed 20 minutes. The delay has continued to grow.

The text messages received by Joseph in the span of a few hours

Our next major problem was that the first officer’s chair was broken. We were actually buckled in and ready to go, then they kicked us off to repair the chair. Deplaning number 1.

Here we are in an Airport restaraunt, after deplaning.

So. Next. We got on the plane, a little faster having rehearsed once. Everything looked good. Pushed back, taxied for a while, and then stopped. After sitting for a bit, the skipper got back on and started with “Well folks, I guess it’s one of those days . . .” Apparently a fuel gage problem, so we pulled back to a (different) gate.

And then the cops boarded the plane. Yeah.

So we aren’t home yet. We’re back in the terminal in DFW, waiting to board a different plane and try again. We are making lots of friends here in the refugee camp, and AA is giving out free food.

Refugee camp A21. The free pretzels made Laird unreasonably happy.

I don’t know where I’ll be tomorrow. I’ll probably still be wearing the same clothes though.

Update:

I’ve been trying to make it home
Got to make it, before too long
Oh I can’t take this, very much longer…

We finally made it:

Your intrepid adventurers in Tucson at last, with luggage in hand.

I’ll admit that I expected my Uber to break down the whole way home.

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MagAO 2018A Day 18: All Packed Up

Hi All,

As is tradition the PI will finish off the run with the last blog. This run marked our 7th year operating at LCO making great images and science. This run was no exception with great science delivered (despite the many clouds we encountered as winter is definitely coming). I’d like to thank all the LCO staff that did a great hosting us and I’d like to thank all the observers that came out to work with MagAO.

I’d like to show some great photos of the packing up process that was done in just one day (a new record).

Below is the ASM ready to be packed up and driven down to the clean room (where it will wait a year for us to come back — but we will come back).

ASM in Daylight

ASM in Daylight

ASM coming off

ASM coming off

Joseph fixes the stuck pin in the ASM cart

Joseph fixes the stuck pin in the ASM cart

Jared and Joseph with th ASM -- end of run!

Jared and Joseph with th ASM — end of run!

Admin Edit:
Post failed to include a song of the day, please see 2018A Blog Rules.
Therefore the admin will choose a song of the day:

And the cover gave me goosebumps:)

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MagAO 2018A Day 17: The Wrong End of a Telescope

Proto3 has been detached from MagAO, and now MagAO is fully put away. Since this (northern hemisphere) fall will extremely busy with work on MagAO-X, it’ll be a whole year before we’re back here.

My check list for today:

  • Switch back to a day schedule all in one go
  • Take the last final exam for my first year of graduate school
  • Remove a 1000+ lb piece of scientific equipment from the top of a three-story tall machine

I’m happy to report that I accomplished all three, though it may be more accurate to say that I was a minor contributor to the last task. It takes a whole crew to remove the adaptive secondary mirror from the Magellan Clay telescope, and my main contribution was to help Laird keep all the various power, data, and coolant lines from getting away during the disconnect process. (Pink zip ties are the astronomer’s best friend.)

Since I was not operating a crane or lifting 80 lb load spreader bars by hand, I was able to document the process. Enjoy!

It's fun to stay at the Ell Cee Oh, yay!

The author, looking like a member of The Village People, prior to ASM decabling.

I felt like one of the monkeys my sister studies, climbing up there.

To swap secondary mirrors, the telescope points parallel to the ground. There’s a crane that rotates as part of the dome which can very gently lift the ASM out and transfer it to a storage cart while the static secondary is in place.

Tomorrow, we leave LCO for La Serena (and Santiago and Dallas and Tucson, hopefully without issue). We’ll be back next year!


Last, but not least, here’s a song of the day about looking through the wrong end of a telescope.

(Lucius – Turn it Around)

And here’s a cover version I dug up by someone with cool hair:

(Kaela Sinclair – Turn it Around (Lucius cover))

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