Friday, September 6, 2013

All Optics Go For Launch!

A perfect spring day in the Karoo - here's how SALT Environmental Display System summarised the conditions:

We've even got the flowers going out here!  This is the view from the SALT control room, at least when the north-facing emergency door is open.

Over in the cleanroom, the mission was to complete the process of mounting all the optics in their respective cells...

 David got the red & blue fold mirrors done.

Then we attacked the 2 pupil mirrors...

First the red one & then the blue.

Next up - the Awesome dichroic!

Some tricky spring-loaded dowel pins to deal with, expertly handled by the guys in blue.

Is this not an incredibly cool optical element?!

Shiny bits everywhere!  See if you can spot the blue & red pupil mirrors, the collimator, Jürgen's parabolic test mirror, the échelle grating & 2 SALT primary mirror segments in this photo...

Here's the red pupil mirror - ready for action!

& now with its protective plastic cover in place.

Ditto for the dichroic.

The other major HRS things happening at SALT today included the installation of the insulated floor panelsThis includes one panel with a cut-away section below to allow all the cables to go through to the electronics room next-door via a hole in the wall.

4 other holes were also cut in the back wall for the connection of the air-conditioning system.

The aircon unit could then be attached.


The contractors also completed the 2 big removable doors for the instrument enclosure.

HRS sat waiting quietly while people buzzed around getting these important jobs done.  No point opening the tank up with so much messy work going on so patience was the order of the day :|

Back in the cleanroom we decided we needed a family photo of all the re-assembled optics.  We didn't include the VPH cross-dispersers though as they'll go straight onto the bench in the tank when we're ready for them.  Here's the rear-view - from left to right: the échelle, the 2 pupil mirrors, the dichroic & the collimator mirror.

From the other side we can also see the 2 fold mirrors & Captain Optix!

While carefully putting these away again after taking the photos, we felt strangely compelled to tuck a blanket around "the kids" & read them a story...

After such a beautiful clear day, the setting of an infinitesimal crescent moon was a treat for all.  Thanks to Jürgen for this wonderful pic taken with a 300 mm F/4.5 Maksutov lens - even if it was shot with a Canon ;)

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