Tuesday, June 12, 2007

First Light!!!

These last couple of weeks have been extremely busy, a lot of work and not much sleep, yet it was all worth it as around 10 p.m. on the night of Friday June 8 (Chilean Local Time) we achieved First Light.
This image of Jupiter was taken while scanning the telescope at constant 60 degree elevation over a 2 degree azimuth range every 4.4 seconds using CCam: an 8x32 bolometric array.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Back in San Pedro

After spending a couple of weeks back home I now returned to San Pedro. Nothing has changed much, it's just a lot colder: during the night the temperature drops below freezing even in town and up the mountain gets colder than -10 C.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

CCam is here

CCam, our prototype instrument, arrived today together with a load of other miscellaneous items in a "brand new" gray container from Princeton. The truck that was transporting it up the mountain encountered some problem negotiating a soft-soil section of the road but a backhoe-loader from ConPax came to the rescue and pulled it up through the rough section. Unloading went smoothly and, at first inspection, the cargo looked in perfect conditions. While I was supervising the container delivery, Adam and Rolando went to pick up Judy and Toby in Calama

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Something different

This afternoon Rolando, Adam and I decide to take few hours off and went to Termas de Puritama to soak in the warm, mineral waters that form a series of cascading pools at the bottom of a canyon about 30 Km north of San Pedro. It was indescribably pleasant and visually stunning: the view of the ribbon of luscious vegetation at the bottom of a canyon carved through barren land comes at you completely unexpected.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Cheshire Act

Few more panels and the telescope will no longer be visible, hopefully we will all have smiles on our faces. While ConPax is working on finishing the ground screen we are trying to get the mirror panels aligned and Mike and Jeff (Kuka Robotics) are working on getting the azimuth and elevation servo systems tuned.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Panels & Panels

Since the ground screen frame has been completed ConPax has been working on installing all the panels that form the actual ground screen; it's a slow process often hampered by strong winds. Furthermore this week we had a work-crew change on Tuesday, Friday was a holiday and we have only a reduced crew for the Easter weekend. In the meanwhile we worked on aligning the 71 aluminum panels that form the primary mirror and the 15 that form the secondary one.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Eppur si muove...

After reconnecting all the control electronics we tested both azimuth and elevation motion; it was a very smooth first test.