Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Amazing seeing when we least expected it!

The seasons are changing up here...  Not only are the leaves turning, the telescope's developing a whole new attitude as well!

Unfortunately, huge thunderclouds threatened at sunset & the night looked sure to be a write-off.

Amazingly though, the clouds dumped their rain & the sky completely cleared up around midnight so SALT was opened up & the primary mirror aligned. 

The humidity remained above 80% but (against all odds!), the DIMM consistently measured sub-arcsecond seeing - the best reading we saw was 0.66"! :)  A full frame RSS image was quickly taken to check the position of the RSS guide probe.

The probe was found to be well represented by the blue graphic, seen here on the SALTICAM frame.  But the sky was so good, Janus kindy declined doing further guiding tests in favour of getting some pretty pictures!

The average FWHM of ~150 stars all over the RSS field was 0.98" for an open cluster (NGC 4052) that we looked at.

Duty SALT Astronomer Paul had his hands full scrambling to get images on both instruments through multiple filters before the dew-point & humidity limits shut us down for the rest of the night.

Great stuff though - uniform, sub-arcsec FWHM over the full field of view :)

The SALTICAM images were run through the IQ pipeline & yielded the following impressive results!   These plots are for the I-band data.
Thanks to Janus for the 4 control room photos - I'd left my camera down in my room as I came up to the telescope when there seemed no chance at all of going on-sky!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, this is just great! After SO many years with so many people involved, we are finally seeing an almost clear run from start to finish; proposal creation through to data delivery!

    I feel totally proud and happy to have been part of it all and so absolutely stoked for all you astronomer types. Finally you can play!!! Well done everybody.

    Have fun and do keep up with the blogging. It really is a great idea and a superb example of external communication!

    All the best from Germany.