The Robert Stobie Spectrograph (RSS) came down from its spot on the top of the tracker yesterday for its biennial service.
No matter how many times we've done this, it's still a stressful thing to see a spectrograph dangling on a dome crane!
Having a cryo-cooler compressor (the white box below RSS) travel down with the instrument allows us to keep the detector cold, which means we can get the preliminary on-the-ground tests done much faster.
It's always a big relief once the RSS is bolted to its "terrestrial receiver" frame & it can be wheeled into the spectrometer room.
Here's something of a star-light view of the "new" RSS guider that was installed during the last shutdown - somehow that means it's 2 years old already?!
With RSS on the ground, the top of the telescope looks quite strange. The blue tube provides protection for the disconnected HRS fibres & the payload's rotating structure in the centre of the ring will also come out soon.
But first SALTICAM had to be extracted from its bay inside the payload.
Then packed in its escape pod & attached to the dome crane.
Before being lowered down through the hatch to the ground floor, to join RSS.
The big, heavy atmospheric dispersion compensator (ADC) also made the trip down from inside the non-rotating structure - it too will get some TLC over the coming days.
Meanwhile, we've been interacting with some of the local wildlife... Here's the adorable & amazingly tame little Karoo bush rat that lives out behind the hostel.
& then a rather large, fast-moving scorpion that decided to join us in the hostel lounge last night - seen here after it was politely escorted out of the building. Not sure if it was the same one that later made its way into our room, or if that was this one's mate? Either way - that's a lot of scorpion in a 12 hour interval :<