In addition to the ongoing RSS commissioning work, another major development up at SALT is the conclusion that the new inductive edge sensors from Fogale meet spec & would thus be suitable replacements for the existing capacitive edge sensor system. Buttons for attaching sensors have now been glued on to two of the segments. Below we see the delicate process of flipping one of those 100 kg segments over.
Another milestone was the removal of the much loved/hated tracker access platform. The Tech Ops team was sad to see it go, but Astro Ops has long resented how much of the primary mirror it obscures. It's now been replaced by a draw-bridge style platform which ought to keep everyone happy (except maybe Amanda, who's yet to make peace with its ergonomic limitations) since it provides access to the tracker when needed, but folds out of the way the rest of the time.
Over on the Far Side of the plateau, two nifty new domes have mushroomed up! These will house a pair of 0.5-m robotic telescopes from Poland.
These are part of the Solaris project which will consist of four such telescopes, two in SA, one in Australia & one in Argentina.
Having passed its waterproof test, the dome was opened slightly to give us a better look at the hardware.
The team will return in October to install the second telescope & continue the commissioning process.
All the while, the tourists just keep pouring in up here - keeping Dave & co out of trouble :)
On the wildlife front - the hostel staff bravely trapped a huge "Koringkriek" (aka Wheat Cricket or Armoured Ground Cricket), affording us a great photo-op & a chance to stretch our tolerance for hideous creepy crawly creatures...
At first our sci-fi horror movie star was reluctant to venture out of the glass jar, but eventually it did do some tentative exploring - all the while being subjected to multiple camera flashes. Criiiinge...