Sunday, September 4, 2011

Commissioning SALT's high-speed modes, + a wedding!

Darragh's taken over from Eric & the goal now is to commission the various high-speed modes for RSS & SALTICAM.  Both instruments have frame transfer masks which can either be used to blank off half of the detector (so that the exposed half can quickly be shifted into the hidden section & then read out without delaying the next exposure), or an even smaller area can be exposed using slot mode, allowing even faster sampling (up to 10 frames per second).

This slit-viewer image on the SALTICAM display shows the specially modified longslit that's been masked off (with pieces of black tape) for the purpose of slotmode spectroscopy.  The target star is just visible near the bottom end of the slitlet.

This image shows a RSS detector image of the star on the slitlet, as seen through the slot in the frame transfer mask.

Inserting a grating into the beam produces a spectrum, seen here in the centre of the slot.

Nic's had to enlisted the help of a mini-SA in the form of Jack in order to cope with all this excitement!

Here he is running off with the MOS hat...

Jack finally went to sleep in the kitchen & we couldn't afford to risk waking him so here's Chef Darragh preparing our gourmet night lunches in the control room!

On a totally different note - the blog's long overdue for some photos from Ockert & Elsabe's thoroughly brilliant wedding that took place in Tulbagh on 27 August.  

Several members of the SALT team attended, having cleaned up rather well for the big occasion!

Within seconds of the bottles of bubbly being placed on the table, Eben set about scoring the neck of one of them with a knife, in preparation for an extremely impressive demonstration of "champagne flute sabrage"...

The party finished more than 12 hours after it started - a truly memorable day & a great start to their married life!

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