2015B Telescope Proposals
The 2015B run will probably be ~mid November — ~mid-late December 2015. We offer these provisional dates for planning purposes only; we cannot guarantee the final dates at this time.
Proposals are due to Arizona TAC on Wednesday April 1st at noon MST (https://www.as.arizona.edu/telescope-proposals)
New ADC info for fixed PA (non-ADI) VisAO observers
NOTE: This affects VisAO only. The ADC does not impact Clio observations.
The Atmospheric Dispersion Compensator (ADC) that feeds the PWFS and VisAO camera has one of its wheels (wheel 1) mechanically restricted to 0-180 degrees of rotation. This affects only the non-ADI mode of VisAO. If you need a fixed PA (in other words “observing with the rotator following”) for your VisAO observation — as long as you can have a 180 degree “flip” in your image PA (e.g. either a fixed PA=90 or 270 will work for the observation) there is likely no issue with the ADC fully operating for your observation.
However, for very rare observing conditions, the restricted ADC range might matter. The only case where this is likely to matter is if a PA is required for Clio observations (e.g. slit alignment) AND VisAO data are also desired. NOTE: If only Clio data are desired, then this issue does not affect your observations. We note that none of the VisAO programs executed in 2014B were affected by this issue.
However, if (for some rare reason) you have an absolute PA that must be exactly set for your VisAO observation (e.g. PA=90 is needed and PA=270 absolutely cannot work), then there is a ~50% chance that you will have to observe without ADC correction — depending on the exact time of the observation. None of the 2014B programs needed this rare mode. In fact, the ADC correction is working better than in previous runs thanks to new ADC “fine tuning” software from Jared Males and Alfio Puglisi. If you think your observations might be affected, please contact Jared Males.
MagAO is a facility instrument at a classically-schedule telescope, which means that PIs are responsible for executing their own programs. Because of the complexity of the AO system, we have MagAO team members available on-site and remotely who assist as much as we can. To come prepared, please read the VisAO and/or Clio manuals, create your star catalog according to the LCO format, and be generally ready to take your data. Please refer any questions about the details of this policy to Laird Close.
- Latest SPIE papers:
- L. Close et al. (2014) Proc. SPIE “Into the Blue: AO Science with MagAO in the Visible”
- K. Morzinski et al. (2014) Proc. SPIE “MagAO: Status and on-sky performance of the Magellan adaptive optics system”
- J. Males et al. (2014) Proc. SPIE “Direct imaging of exoplanets in the habitable zone with adaptive optics”
- Other publications here.
- VisAO visible-light camera (600 – 1050 nm)
- User’s manual
- VisAO is a fast, low-noise visible CCD (the VisAO camera). The VisAO CCD is 1024×1024 E2V CCD47 which can be read at high speed if desired (details here (PDF documentation)). The platescale is 0.008″/pix. The VisAO camera has broadband r’, i’, z’, y filters and narrowband Hα, Hαcont, [SII], [SII]cont, [OI], and [OI]cont filters. It also has a r~0.1″ 0.001 transparent coronagraphic mask that may (must) be used with the broadband filters for deep bright star VisAO science. The PIs of VisAO are Laird Close (lclose at as.arizona.edu) and Jared Males (jrmales at email.arizona.edu ) — please contact them if you have any questions about VisAO.
- Clio2 near-IR camera (1 – 5.3 μm)
- User’s Manual
- Clio2 is a 512×1024 1-5.3 um imager with two cameras, either 15.85 or 27.49 mas pixels (Narrow camera FoV: 8×16”, Wide camera FoV: 14×28”). It has J, H, Ks, L’, M’, and 3.1, 3.3, 3.4, and 3.9 um filters available. There is also a low resolution (R~130 at 3.5 um; R~30 at K) prism-based spectrograph, not yet fully commissioned. Clio2 is currently sky-limited longwards of H, with readnoise of 70 e- that dominates at J and H, hence, J and H are offered as shared risk in 2014B. The Clio2 PI is Phil Hinz (phinz at as.arizona.edu ) please contact Phil or Katie Morzinski (ktmorz at arizona.edu) for questions about Clio2.
- Wavefront sensor: Modulating Pyramid
- 36-400 modes
- 100-1000 Hz
- Deformable Mirror: Adaptive-Secondary Mirror
- 564 illuminated actuators
- d = 23 cm
- Modal gain: tip/tilt, low-order, and high-order gain settings
- Selectable subaperture size via CCD pixel binning
On-axis: Please allow ~15 minutes overhead for slewing, collimating, and setting up on a new target. It is possible to acquire targets faster than this when the subsequent guide star is the same approximate brightness and location in the sky as the previous guide star (and if sky conditions haven’t changed), but 15 min. is a good rule of thumb.
Off-axis: Please allow ~30 minutes overhead for set up on a new off-axis guide star target.
The J and H filters are readnoise, not sky, limited — due to the 70 electrons of read noise that the current (soon to be replaced) Clio2 detector suffers from. This not an issue at the longer wavelengths where Clio is optimized. Hence J and H are offered as shared-risk in 2014B.
|Natural guide star (NGS) limiting magnitude||I~14 (I~16 for Clio2 at K, L, M)|
|NGS angular resolution (λ/D at Pyramid, in good conditions)||~20 mas|
|NGS offset from science target||up to 40” for Clio2, up to 8” for VisAO|
|AO performance – Bright NGS (R~8)||Strehls: 30% i’ – 80% H (see plot below)
|AO performance – Faint NGS (R~13)||Strehls: 13% z’ - 40% H|
|Elevation lower limit (ASM safety)||30 degrees (airmass 2)|
|Diffraction limit||20 mas (r’) to 30 mas (z’)|
|Field of view and plate scale||8” x 8” FoV with 8 mas pixels (~Nyquist r’)|
|Filters (filter curves)||
|Diffraction limit||38 mas (J) to 168 mas (M)|
|Field of view and plate scale||
|Filters (filter curves)||
|Las Campanas Observatory||29.0° S, 70.7° W, 8000′ high|
|Telescope||6.5-m Magellan Clay|
|Seeing, 75th %ile||0.8”|
Predicted Strehl Curves
Target list – LCO catalog format
- Prepare your starlist according to this catalog format; you will upload it to one of the computers in the control room where the telescope operator can access it.
- Example: example.txt
- Here is a little IDL program that will convert a space or comma separated file with the following columns into the proper Magellan catalog format: (1) target name, (2) RA, (3) Dec, (4) rotator mode and (5) comments
Specifying Guide Star Magnitude
It is helpful if you have an accurate estimate of the magnitude of your guide star in the MagAO PyWFS bandpass. This is a critical parameter for optimizing the AO loop setup for your science, and being close will save time on sky. For most objects, standard I band will be the closest approximation. Note that we have found that SIMBAD reported magnitudes are typically ~1 magnitude bright, especially for redder stars. We find much better agreement using the USNO UCAC4 photometry.
Here is what the MagAO WFS bandpass looks like:
This plot gives some idea of how to transform magnitudes in V,R, and I to the WFS filter, based on spectral type.
- Rotator angle is relative to the telescope axis. A position of 0 is aligned with the telescope.
- To track, use one of the three “on” rotator modes. Offsets can be made from an initial rotator position by request to the TO in any of these modes.
- EQU – this mode will set the initial rotator position to maximize the amount of time you can track before you hit a rotator limit.
- HRZ – keeps the rotator angle = parallactic angle.
- GRV – keeps the instruments in a constant orientation relative to the platform. May not have as much range as EQU, but will allow you to keep the instruments vertical if you’re worried about leaks.
- To NOT track, set the rotator to OFF (for ADI, etc).
- Travel Planning
- Check the telescope block schedule to verify your nights.
- And please fill out the run report when you’re done!
- Travel Arrangements Form — Fill this out to get picked up at the airport, and to have a dorm room. A few days before your travel, check the LCO transport schedule to make sure your name is on it, at the right time.
- Network Connection Request — Fill this out so you can use wi-fi and ethernet at the observatory (give several days advance notice). You need your hardware MAC address for each connection you wish to make, i.e. both wi-fi and ethernet for all devices. Note that if you have a new MacBook Pro, the MAC address is specific to the ethernet dongle (since it’s assigned to hardware), and you have to plug that in to even find the MAC address. You want to have both wi-fi and ethernet enabled, because one or the other might work better in your dorm room, depending on which room you’re in.
- Check the telescope block schedule to verify your nights.
- What to Bring:
- Only limited quick-look capabilities are available in the control room. You will want to have your own laptop with a data-transfer capability (rsync, scp) and a FITS analysis capability (IRAF, IDL, Python, Matlab, whatever you prefer) so that you can monitor your data quality and make on-the-fly decisions as you take your data.
- You must copy your data over to your own storage. Bring a USB drive or harddrive with enough space. Typical data quantities:
- Clio: ~5-15 GB/night
- VisAO: ~1-10 GB/night (up to 40 GB in extreme cases)
- Flashlight/torch, coat, etc.
- Other notes on physical comfort:
- Dorm rooms have en-suite bathrooms. Provided for you are sheets, blankets, pillows, towels, toilet paper, paper towels, and bars of soap. LCO is dry, even to the Arizonans, so you may want to bring hand lotion and lip balm.
- There is a clothes washer and dryer, with laundry detergent, under the stairs when you enter the lodge/diner.
- If you want to get some exercise other than walking up and down the hill, you can run along the road which has both asphalt and gravel sections, or you can go to the (limited) gym.
- Before You Go:
- UPDATE 2015 January:No More Daylight Savings
Time changes: During an “A” semester (i.e. northern spring), it is sometimes necessary to set your phone or computer to Buenos Aries time upon arrival in Santiago, because the “Santiago” time your operating system picks will not know about the updated schedule for Daylight Savings time. e.g. for 2014: Check here for google-translated information from Chile’s Department of Energy about the winter schedule. The Chilean Government has adjusted the daylight savings dates to conserve energy. Winter starts midnight Saturday April 26th 2014, and ends midnight Saturday Sept 6th 2014. (Hat-tip to J. M. Fernandez on Astronomers FB group.)
- Please read the LCO Visiting Observer Guide. Print it out and carry it with you when you travel, as it contains many useful phone numbers and other detailed information that you may need if your flight is delayed or there are other issues while traveling.
- LCO Mountain Phone List — Note that “Sala de reuniones” is the Meeting Room in the ASB — it is a Vonage internet phone and the number is a California area code so you can call from the USA. There is also a Clay internet phone #. Note that these phones don’t work if the mountain internet connection is down, which happens on order of once per month (due to things like construction cutting a cable).
- Please read the LCO Basic Safety Guide
- NOTE: The Reciprocity Fee was discontinued in March 2014, reciprocally after the U.S. rescinded the Chilean Visa Fee. We retain this paragraph so we can tell you it’s rescinded now, in case you hadn’t heard. And the historical information:
Reciprocity fee — (NOTE: This is NOT official information!) — US citizens are required to pay a one-time reciprocity fee (kind of like a visa fee), upon first entry to Chile. This is currently (2012) $160. You get a stamp and receipt stapled into your passport, and it is good until your passport expires. If you pay with cash you have to have perfect-looking US bills. I recommend paying with credit card, so that you get a little credit-card slip you can use as a receipt to get reimbursed, because the real receipt is stapled into your passport. (Although I heard it’s OK to remove the receipt after you return to the US from your first trip, it’s always iffy to have anything non-standard during border entry.) Note that you have to go stand in an extra line to pay this fee, upon entry at Santiago and before you go through the regular Customs line, before you catch your flight to La Serena. You also get an entry slip at the border that you need to show when you exit the country, so don’t lose that.
- Other Info:
- Power outlets — You will most likely be okay with your USAmerican power plug adaptors. Up at the telescope control room there are plenty of US-based power attachments, and the dorm rooms given to observers are usually the ones with USAmerican power plugs too.
- Food — LCO has an amazing team of chefs and the food is varied, delicious, and healthy. This is at the dining hall down by the dorms. Up at the telescopes or in the library/astronomer support building, there are little kitchenettes stocked with fruit, cheese & crackers, and cookies. Note that during MagAO’s first commissioning run, we had at least a dozen team members in the control room, and it got quite crowded and supplies were running low… but we never ran out of cookies!
- Meal times — Breakfast/Desayuno = 7:30-8am, Lunch/Almuerzo = 12:30-1pm, Dinner/Cena = 6:30-7pm
- One shared wall in each dorm room is a bit thin, so please be quiet in the rooms.
- Payment: Observers are required to pay all charges associated with their stay at LCO with credit card when departing the mountain. This is all charges including but not limited to: room & board, transportation, and masks if any.
- LCO weather page
- Precipitable Water Vapor (PWV) at nearby La Silla — First line is measured, following lines are predictions:
Object visibility (courtesy La Palma)
- This is an excellent tool for making nicely visualized airmass charts, from the Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes.
- Enter observing date and observatory [Las Campanas Observatory (Chile)]
- Coordinates: Upload file or enter like: (no spaces in object name)
- [HD4375] 00 45 59.2 -16 39 09
- Click [Retrieve] and your airmass chart will load in a new tab
Guide star tool (courtesy Keck)
- This is an excellent AO guide star tool from Keck. It finds different options than clicking [query around] in Simbad, so try that too.
- At upper right: Enter your target name and resolve with Simbad, or enter RA & Dec. Click [Load Target].
- At lower right: Digital Sky Survey image will appear.
- At lower left: List of possible guide stars will appear (from USNO catalog). Length of list can be quite short, depending on number of possibilities found. Look at last few columns for bright stars (Rmag) and nearby stars (Dist — in arcsec). Find a good one and click on its RA or Dec.
- At lower right: A green box will appear showing where the star is on the DSS image (your target is at the center with a yellow N/E arrow coming out). If you like the guide star, click [Add Guide Star].
- At upper left: Your target and the guide star will now appear in the Keck starlist format. Keep adding guide stars as you like. You can also keep adding new targets and their guide stars too. When you are done, click [Download List] and now you have a starlist to edit to the LCO format!