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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MagAO 2018A Day 16: Day 365

Today was the 365th day I’ve spent at Las Campanas Observatory. You only have to go back to May 18th, 2012 to find the first. So 16.7% of my life has been on this mountain over the last 6 years.

It was an interesting 1-year day too. Of course, it was Empanada Sunday. According to my records, my average length of stay has ben 21 days, so ~3 Empanada Sunday’s per visit X 17 visits = 51 total Empanada Sundays in my life so far. Here’s what just one looks like:

It takes a lot of empanadas to feed the GTM Proto3 phasing team, and the MagAO crew.

My longest stay here has been 44 days. That was what I call the “Death Run”. Late May and early June, telescope open for 13+ hr a night, horrific winds, 5 weeks straight of observing. When Katie reminisces (not fondly) about it, she says “you could sleep, eat, or shower. Pick 1.” Well, to commemorate that on mine and LCO’s 1 year anniversary, here’s a picture from the wind gauge tonight:

Not the highest tonight. I saw 46 a few times.

We managed to open a couple of times. But when we did it was pretty crappy

This is a crappy weather page. The trifecta: high winds, high seeing, high humidity.

I’m pretty sure this is fake news (probably a spurious measurement while Baade closed), but it captures how bad tonight has been.

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