Big day today as the Robert Stobie Spectrograph (RSS) made its way down from the tracker to the spectrometer room! Over the next several weeks, the instrument will undergo a general service that will include an "oil change" for the collimator optics... The three collimator lens groups (the doublet, triplet & field lens) contain a coupling fluid that is severely compromising the throughput of the spectrograph. This fluid will be removed & replaced & the collimator optics thoroughly cleaned. A number of throughput tests will be conducted along the way to quantify the effects of these interventions before the instrument can be re-installed.
Eben & his team of Pete, Timmy, Etienne & Jono (left to right below) did a superb job of rigging RSS up to the dome crane & then safely detaching the instrument from the tracker.
With an anxious crowd looking on, Vic drove the dome crane & gently lowered the precious cargo.
It's a Loooong way down!
Here RSS is about to be lowered through the hatch in the observing floor to the support frame waiting on the ground floor.
With the spectrograph securely bolted to the support frame, the rigging could be detached.
Next it was wheeled into the spectrometer room where all the action will happen over the coming weeks.
Safe & sound, now for Keith & co to connect up all the life-support systems & get the whole lot working again. Tomorrow we'll start with the functional testing & the laser throughput tests before the removal of the optics can start!
Time for a braai to soothe our nerves & celebrate a great day ;) Happy Birthday Ted - hope you like the spectrograph we got for you!