MagAO Commissioning Day 17: Back on Sky With A Fever

The unofficial battle cry of the MagAO project over the last few days has been “More Cowbell!” as we try to get a high-order basis set that keeps our actuators happy.

Will this basis set work? Stay tuned.

To get the truly amazing image quality that our system is capable of, we need to find a set of shapes for our mirror that is stable on sky. We aren’t there yet, but we also need to test what we have on real stars to make sure we are on the right track. So we went on sky again tonight, but first we had to pull the CRO.

Laird removing the CRO optic from the CRO truss. It's very precisely aligned, so it's a slow and careful process.

Laird and Povilas mounting the plexiglass cover that protects the shell when we remove the CRO truss. Sometimes putting the cover on is the most dangerous part.

The night started with an in-the-dark checkup on the Clio electronics. Here Katie is opening the rack.

Ya-Lin and T.J. hard at work on Clio astronomy -- 100 hours

The control room of Clay - actually doing astronomy.

Since our main goal right now is to test the AO system, we can't predict where we're going to be pointing and what we'll be ready to do, so picking targets is a full time job. Here Katie and Kate are combing the digitial sky for interesting places to look.

We're getting our acquisition sequence down. The telescope operator first finds the star, and uses Alan and Tyson's guider to setup the telescope. Then we do a slight offset to put the star on the pyramid. To do this we first use Clio's wide field of view to get the star onto VisAO, then we use VisAO to guide the last few arcseconds. Here Katie is selecting our next target, and Povilas is supervising the telescope setup.

Kate found us a nice quadruple system to check our closed loop image quality:

Closed loop image of a quadruple stellar system on VisAO. We resolved the 4th component at only 0.1 arcsecond separation.

Simone and Enrico are leaving this morning. Right before he left, Simone showed me this. Maybe it contains the answer to the riddle: “how do you simultaneously minimize force and maximize rejection?”

The answer.

“I got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell.” – Laird Close

(If you don’t get the cowbell jokes, click this link.)

“I put my pants on, just like the rest of you — one leg at a time.
Except once my pants are on, I make extreme AO systems.” – Simone Esposito

Simone's next project.


“All that brain power concentrating on the same thing – how can it go wrong?” Marcia Males (Jared’s Mom)

I’ve already looked up “Strehl’s,” and I’m on my way to “modes.” – Morzinski family friend, and fan of the blog

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