MagAO 2018A Day 2: Shell Set w/ All 64 bits!

The ASM and NAS are on the telescope, but, alas, we aren’t quite ready to go on sky. The big news is that, with our usual indispensable help from Alfio Puglisi, we managed to turn on and control the adaptive secondary mirror using our brand new 64 bit computers. Welcome to 2003 or so MagAO! For those of you that didn’t stay up all night, Alfio fixed the Housekeeper_gui bug, and we closed the loop on read-noise with 1e-4 gains. Everything appears to be working.

Here’s the ASM being installed:

Laird and Andrew cabled the ASM today.

The theme of this run is modernization. The work on Clio continues:

Phil and Katie hard at work on the Clio modernization.

Last time we were here, it was very green, almost lush. Not so much now.

LCO has returned to its brown and dry self.

But there’s still plenty of life around the mountain.

A tree at the Babcock Lounge.

A tree and century plant at the Babcock Lounge.

There are still flowers making a living here.

A different yellow flower coming through this brushy thingy.

We’ve seen these guys before.

These purplely pods look like they were once pretty too.

Flowers past their prime, but they must have been gorgeous.

No actual animal pictures today, but here is evidence that the Zorros are about.

Life, and flowers, grow wherever they can and everyone just lets them.

Tonight’s sunset.

Since I started my changeover to the night schedule, I went to bed and didn’t get up until lunch. I slept for more than 13 hours.

R.I.P. Avicii.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on MagAO 2018A Day 2: Shell Set w/ All 64 bits!

MagAO 2018A Day 1: Surprise mystery guest

Our surprise mystery guest arrived — it’s Phil Hinz, the PI of Clio, who has handed it off to us for these many years. He came down here this time, for the first time since 2012 or 2013, because we got a new computer and are running new software and we have a lot of installing and testing and debugging to do. He and Clio had a very touching reunion — and then we got to work on debugging:

Our surprise mystery visitor is Phil Hinz who came to see his long-lost instrument Clio.
[Image description: A collage. Top: Phil gives Clio a warm hug (literally). The black cylinder is the dewar and it’s full of 77-Kelvin liquid nitrogen, thanks to a successful feeding day yesterday, I mean cooling day. Bottom: Phil leans over to look up some code on his laptop which is balanced on a step ladder, and my laptop is on the background on a tool chest with Paul on Skype, and the Clio electronics rack is open and on top of it is the new Clio computer, with quite the rat’s nest of cables coming out the back.]

Phil is very happy to have finally arrived — he had to stay the night in Santiago because his original flight was cancelled due to the LATAM strike, and the Sky flight Laird managed to get on yesterday was sold out when Phil tried. Laird’s new grad student Andrew Sevrinsky also arrived today on another Sky flight.

In the morning, we brought the Adaptive Secondary Mirror (ASM) from the cleanroom to the telescope. The ASM is the thing we move at a frequency of 2000 Hertz and at 585 locations on the back of the mirror, to counteract the effect of blurring from the atmosphere so that we get sharp images. We store it wrapped in plastic in the clean room so that we don’t get any dust in its 50-micron gap, and we store it on its side so that if there’s an earthquake hopefully the magnets will hold it. But for all that nice safe storage down there, then we always have to put it on the back of a truck and drive it up the hill.

Laird and the Izuzu driver make a caravan of 1, transporting the ASM from the cleanroom to the telescope.
[Image description: Another collage. It’s a sequence of 4 pictures of the truck carrying the ASM up the mountain. Laird is walking alongside the truck (because we ask the driver to go about 5 mph). The sun is shining and it’s a beautiful place with the valley and the distant mountains. In the last picture the telescope domes are there.]

In the afternoon we installed the NAS (the housing that holds our wavefront sensor and our visible-light science camera “VisAO”) attached to the Nasmyth port of the Clay telescope. This was the first time we’ve installed it when there’s still another night of science to go — tonight is a MegaCam night. But our NAS doesn’t get in the way of MegaCam, and we had a full crew today, and tomorrow it will take a lot longer than normal to get our stuff installed, because it takes a long time to remove MegaCam and the f/5 and the f/11 — so it was great we managed to get the NAS installed today! Thanks to Juan, Felix, Miriel, Juanito, Victor, and the rest of the hard-working day crew!

Jared, Felix, and Juan install the NAS.
[Image description: There is a large blue circle that is the side of the telescope. Attached to it is a black circle with 4 boxes standing up off it at 2:00, 5:00, 7:00, and 11:00 — those are the electronics cabinets. Jared is standing to the left side apparently tightening something or maybe checking some cables. Felix is standing on the step ladder wrangling the crane cables. Jaun is standing off to the right operating the crane. A beam of light is going across the image, from some bright spotlights that are not in the picture.]

And now Laird and Jared have gone to bed, but Phil and I are working in the Aux, with software engineer Paul Grenz on Skype, working on getting the new Clio code to work on the new computer. We’re starting the switch over to a night schedule.

I guess today is Day 1 because Laird and Phil are here. Or maybe because it was Laird’s first full day. And finally, we saw some great wildlife today!

I saw this guanaco on my way down to dinner.
[Image description: A photo with a guanaco standing in profile except looking at the photographer in the center, some desert and mountains in the background, and some scrubby brush and a guard rail in the foreground. The guanaco has a long neck, stand-up ears, a short curled-over tail, and some nice fuzzy legs. It is colored a mix of browns.]

Laird saw this wild vizzy on his way down to dinner.
[Image description: A vizcacha on the rocks. It looks sort of like a large rabbit, but it has a black stripe on its back, and its tail is very long and bushy like a squirrel. If you could see it hop, it is also reminiscent of a kangaroo. The rocks are big boulders, very angular, probably metamorphic.]

Song of the day:

[Song/Image description: “Shaman’s Call” by R. Carlos Nakai]


[Song/Image description: Flute cover of “Shaman’s Call”]

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on MagAO 2018A Day 1: Surprise mystery guest

MagAO 2018A Day 0: Cool Clio Code

Well I’m here. My trip ended up being 27 hours and it was great to get here and sleep and wake up to a delicious telescope breakfast:

Strong tea, dos juevos fritos, oatmeal, fresh squeezed strawberry juice, and 2 major astronomical telescopes closed up to sleep for the day.
[Image description: Photo of 2 telescope domes on the top of the mountain, with a breakfast chair and some half-drinken tea and juice in the foreground]

I found this fine literature in the desk drawer in my room, left from a previous inhabitant:

Literature in my room (not left by me).
[Image description: The fine literature includes The Economist, Physics Today, and an ApJ paper by the author]

Today we worked hard on cooling and code. Clio code, AO code, DigiPort code. The mountain internet was down for about 4 hours. Laird arrived safely and the mystery guest got stranded in Santiago and will be here hopefully tomorrow.

Code and Clio cooldown day
[Image description: A collage of Jared working on AO code, Paul Skyping with Katie on Clio code, Jared and Laird by the NAS, and Katie with Clio]

I did manage to get Clio down to almost 77 K in one day! Clio drank his liquid nitrogen very well today.

The blue line is the outer dewar that I started filling first, at 10am. The red line is the inner dewar, that I started filling after lunch, when the outer dewar got below 150 K.
[Image description: A line plot with a red and a blue curve, showing the temperature dropping. The x axis is time in minutes and the y axis is temperature in Kelvin. Both dewars start flat at the ambient temperature, around 295 K. The curves drop exponentially, but the outer dewar drops at a faster rate than the inner dewar. There is a point of inflection in the inner dewar curve, at the point where the outer dewar got below 150 K. This is where I started filling the inner dewar too; before that it was only cooling passively. Both curves asymptote to around the temperature of liquid nitrogen, 77 K.]

And here’s the Clio cooldown plot in “XKCD” style. You don’t even have to import anything, it’s already included in matplotlib, it’s just one extra line: “plt.xkcd()”.
[Image description: The same line plot as above, only I decided to put the x-axis in hours, and I used the “XKCD” style in MatPlotLib so that it looks like my plot was hand-drawn by Randall Munroe]

And we saw a herd of 5 guanacos running along the hillside as we were heading back up after lunch:

Herd of guanacos
[Image description: Guanacos on a hillside in Chile. They are kind of like llamas. They are pretty far away in the picture.]

Today’s song:

[Song/image description: “Come” by Jain]


[Song/image description: cover of “Come” by Esteban and Laura]

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on MagAO 2018A Day 0: Cool Clio Code