Unrelenting humidity kept SALT closed last night, but today the weather's been perfect so it was Game On for on-sky testing of the FIF... The image below shows the FIF acquisition camera view of the first out-of-focus star observed through this system! :)
|First starlight into the FIF system!|
Changing the telescope focus (rather than manually adjusting the FIF's position in the payload - a job for another day - revealed that the bright star was in fact a double (upper right panel in the pic below). Once the star was centred up & the FIF stage moved to the appropriate station, the image dutifully landed on the star fibre (lower left panel)!
|Light focused onto the test star fibre.|
Then the sky fibre stage position was selected & the starlight again appeared as required :) Janus tweaked the software to refine the centroiding & the stage moves, but everything really did just work Beautifully, first time! Very Well Done guys, especially to Janus & Ockert :)
|A stage move & then the light falls on the test sky fibre...|
We even caught a glimpse of SALT dancing a celebratory jig as progressively fainter stars were observed to guage the sensitivity of the FIF's acquisition camera...
|SALTICAM captures the excitement of the moment!|
The fact that the little Lodestar camera works brilliantly bodes well for the FIF autoguider which will also use one of these. & since we already have a bunch of them lined up for various applications (both on SALT & the SAAO telescopes), this really is great news!
|One of the Starlight Xpress Lodestar cameras in our collection.|