Tuesday, August 23, 2016

All-night SAMS tests

After all the attention received during the optical service, the collimator optics are now also getting some better baffling to protect the lenses & suppress stray light within the instrument.

The collimator doublet gets a lens hood
A new gear for the camera articulation was installed & extensively tested.  This is a crucial part to allow the entire RSS camera barrel to reliably swing around to the appropriate angle (twice the angle of the grating with respect to the light beam) to suit the grating setup being used.  The camera articulation angle can be up to 100 degrees for the spectrograph's highest resolution setting.  So yes, that whole section above Eben's head in the pic below can sweep out a huge arc when configuring the instrument for a given wavelength range & resolution.

Setting up the new articulation gear
An historical quirk, very much in keeping with the way astronomy works - is that the control PC for RSS is non-intuitively called PCON.  This is a hangover from the days when the instrument was called the Prime Focus Imaging Spectrograph (PFIS), & so the PFIS Control machine became, & remains, PCON...

Ant's baby - complete with lots of warnings due to various mechanisms being in pieces or undergoing testing
So much for all the daytime action...  This week we've also had our Zen Master Telescope Whisperer Fred up here to run SAMS tests with the telescope pointing to CCAS all night (weather permitting).

Captain Fred at the helm - sensing edges!
Since the telescope is offline, it can happily stare at the CCAS tower from dusk till dawn.  That makes this a perfect time to monitor the corrections being applied to the 91 mirror segments by the edge sensors running in closed-loop.  This sort of data helps Hitesh to characterise & evaluate the system's performance.

The CCAS instrument's fine microlens array produces 7 spots per segment - the spotless region in the lower right corner of the mirror is due to the shadow cast by the tracker

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