Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Second Light for SALTICAM!

Yesterday was a classic Blue Monday with various things going wrong - from an O-ring popping out of one of the Cryotiger hoses & sending our CCD cooling efforts back to square one, to a potential train-smash with the SALTICAM auto-guider...

The guys did, however, manage to baffle the whole payload, connect SALTICAM up to everything, establish comms between it & the control room, fix some RSS hardware issues & sort out the glycol for the igloo that will house the 2 Cryotigers.

Then, by about 9pm, we were authorised to proceed with SALTICAM tests, even though the CCDs weren't cooled & the dome hadn't been conditioned.  So there was nothing pretty about the images, or the stack, but some good progress was made in verifying instrument & software functionality none the less.

Today's been a *much* better day.  The best news of the morning was finding that the fibres from SALTICAM's auto-guider are ok afterall - a Huge relief!  Later Darragh & Luis talked to everyone about the workings of SALTICAM & its software, including background about all the tests to be done & their relevance in the grand commissioning scheme of things.

The good news for the evening was that the CCDs had cooled down as required & that the weather was Perfect, so the stage was set for SALTICAM's proper Second Light...

The substantial crowd gathered in the control room was treated to beautiful images of the globular cluster NGC 2808 - uniform stars over the entire field of view :)

Happy Day indeed & great to have so many people around to share it with!

BVRI images were taken & Petri combined them to produce this wonderful BVR colour version of the cluster.

The crowd slowly dispersed, but the show went on with Petri & Zolisa running the telescope while Darragh & Luis worked through their list of tests & software fixes.

The novelty of consistently getting such stunning images seems unlikely to wear off any time soon! :) :) :)

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