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Old Jul 29 2008, 10:44 PM   #81
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Default Re: The VISTA Telescope Thread (VTT)

That's a really good picture Brenda. I've never seen the northern lights looking quite as spectacular as that. You've captured the green colour beautifully.

Thanks Ginnystar.

My rest is almost at an end. I'm going back up the mountain tomorrow morning. I heard they solved the primary mirror problems while I was away. The minor problems were caused by a communication error inside the electronics, which have been worked around for now by slowing down the communication speed (rather like working around a bad telephone line by shouting slowly). The major problem turned out to be caused by a cooling system failure which made the mirror support electronics overheat. So with any luck I should have a working telescope to go back to. :fingers crossed:

Goodnight folks.
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Old Jul 30 2008, 01:55 AM   #82
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*crosses fingers for Steven*

Good luck, Steven. Hope you had a good rest at a more 'normal' altitude.

That Steven is a nice guy, but he's really "a guy with an altitude"
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Old Jul 30 2008, 11:51 AM   #83
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Hans - duck!

Steven, that star photo is incredible! Hope your headache goes and you don't have to work as late tonight as you think. I also hope things go swimmingly at the summit - no, wait, that's the residencia - but they're working on the pool - arggh! too much information, amazing computer brain stuck!

Love you, my dear. Hope the work goes well. The cats say hi! (well, actually, they say 'mrrrroww!' and 'rrrrrrrrr' [they don't enunciate], but I'm taking it as them missing you. They won't mind.) That doesn't half look like Rowan...

Love you bunches, sweetie.

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Old Jul 31 2008, 01:12 AM   #84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lanen View Post
<Sinp>The cats say hi! (well, actually, they say 'mrrrroww!' and 'rrrrrrrrr' [they don't enunciate], but I'm taking it as them missing you. They won't mind.)<Sinp>
Lanen and Steve our two furball say hi. Our two are like watch-cats, they look for us too.

I hope things go going with the VISTA Telescope.

To the rest of our stargazing friend happy viewing of the night sky,

To animal lover our two cats say hi.

Lanen I hope you cats are keep you company till Steve get back

Our cats have act the same way.
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Old Jul 31 2008, 09:36 AM   #85
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Steven, I do hope that your brief rest in a much more normal for you altitude was restful...and perhaps a little fun for you. I have also shown this post to my girls...and they have also enjoyed very much getting to see the telescope that you are working on...and your other photos...especially your very odd looking domed residencia.
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Old Aug 2 2008, 01:49 AM   #86
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Hi folks. It's 2am and I'm about to go to bed. Sorry I haven't checked in for a while. I've been through an intensive work period (as if working 12-15 hours a day wasn't enough). For the past 2 days I have been one half of the team. Three of the others left the day I got back from my descanso, but two have returned now, so things here are back to more or less normal, i.e. instead of .

There's not a lot different to report - just several days of intensive debugging. We have had a few nights of poor seeing conditions which revealed some bugs in the image processing software. It doesn't work well in poor conditions. So I'm working on that at the moment.

I can report one victory so far. The telescope control system has a list of stars which can be selected and used to make calibration observations. The stars are randomly selected and scattered all over the sky. I discovered the selection procedure had passed over Rukbat, so I've inserted Rukbat into the list. This means every now and then VISTA might be pointed to Rukbat to make a calibration observation.

If anyone is curious, this is what my workstation in the VISTA control room looks like:

The workstation on the left shows the images coming live from the telescope. The middle screen has my control panels, and on the right you can see the active optics software display. The workstations over on the far right hand side are for telescope control. At the moment VISTA needs at least two people to operate it - one on the camera workstation (normally me) and another on the telescope workstation. When the telescope is fully commissioned it should operate almost automatically (i.e. with a single operator staring at a screen monitoring the status).

Goodnight everyone.
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Old Aug 2 2008, 01:59 AM   #87
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Nice images there SteveB It looks like you and your teamates are get it going. Keep up the great work and sending us images and update here. When you get time.
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Old Aug 2 2008, 02:00 AM   #88
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Goodnight! Looks like a lot of work with those stations... No wonder you're tired after a day's and half the night's work.
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Old Aug 2 2008, 08:40 AM   #89
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Sneaky sneaky, slipping Rukbat in....I approve wholeheartedly!

That is one heck of a work station! I think I may skip showing it to my husband (whom I've otherwise been keeping updated on the thread) -- he'll want more monitors!
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Old Aug 2 2008, 10:26 AM   #90
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Just wait until I show you a picture of the whole room, Cheryl. There are another 3 monitors off to the left of this picture (data handling workstation) and another 2 monitors off to the right (air conditioning and enclosure control workstation).

Breakfast!
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Old Aug 2 2008, 02:39 PM   #91
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It all looks terribly scientific, complicated and professional, Steven! A treat to see this, I can tell you. It's not like most of us will be in a room like that ever

Oh, I have to second Cheryl on the compliments of being appropiriately sneaky
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Old Aug 2 2008, 04:56 PM   #92
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Steven, keep being sneaky, it's a great trait
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Old Aug 3 2008, 12:18 AM   #93
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ok my Rukbat Pic
http://www.myslooh.com/data/teide/de...82530_6514.jpg
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Old Aug 3 2008, 11:36 AM   #94
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Steven...Good thing your sooooooooo delightfully sneeky...Rukbat here we come
Lord, it looks like you need another couple of arms just to work everything properly...or at least some very good casters on your chairs, to roll around quickly to each station, when you are needed there. Must seem like childs play,when you finally get home and only have the one computer to deal with...WHEW!!!




Old Wolf ...fantastic picture of Rukbat...nice to see your still keeping up with your wonderful picture taking.
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Old Aug 3 2008, 06:13 PM   #95
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Hmmm - another couple of arms, eh? Now *that* conjures up a few images!

(Sorry I know it's a family board, but he is my lawfully wedded husband and I miss him something rotten!)
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Old Aug 4 2008, 12:33 AM   #96
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my current project is imaging The Arp peculiar Galaxies

http://www.myslooh.com/OldWolf/Arp_P...o_League_award

enjoy
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Old Aug 4 2008, 02:19 AM   #97
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Success!!

I have two major successes to report:

(1) After days and days of debugging, yesterday night we finally managed to get the active optics system to work. We tried putting the most horrible distortions onto the telescope mirrors, which resulted in < shaped images. We let loose the active optics system and within 30 seconds it had worked out what to do, removed the distortions, and the images went O shaped again. Hurray!

(2) That was yesterday night. Tonight we were down to only two people again. We started the night by verifying the active optics still worked when the starlight was sampled at various places across the whole VISTA field of view. I was finishing up the last test when my partner went away to do something else - leaving me in charge of the telescope . When the last test finished I commanded VISTA to go and observe ... Rukbat! I managed to snap a quick image before we started the next set of tests. But as we happened to be pointing at a convenient bright star (Rukbat) we ran the next set of calibration tests using it (well, it was in the calibration catalogue after all ).

So the first image the VISTA telescope took after having its optics corrected properly was a picture of Rukbat. That's really made my night.

2:30am and time for bed. Goodnight everyone.
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Old Aug 4 2008, 02:25 AM   #98
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Oh, that sounds great, "I love it when a plan comes together" Thanks for that, Steven!

OldWolf, I love your observations as I did the ones before but may I respectfully suggest you start a separate thread for them? They do deserve their own topic (as before) and are a tad out of place in this one
If you start it I will move the two posts to it, OK?
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Old Aug 4 2008, 01:01 PM   #99
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Horrraaaay Steven, you are such a wonderfully sneeky guy, especially when it comes to Pern Skies/Rukbat....can't wait to see the photos. Congratulations on your two sucesses...heres hoping that things go well from here on out.

Lanen..., pat,pat,pat...think about a four armed...... hug...and hopefully Steven will be home soonish.
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Old Aug 4 2008, 02:16 PM   #100
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Steven - damn you're good! Congratulations on getting the first image with working adaptive optics for Anne! I know she's thrilled to bits.

You know, for such a kind, honest, thoughtful fellah, you really can be right sneaky, can't you?

Heh. I like that in a man.

Love you dear, and congrats again on your sneaky success. That's wonderful!
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Old Aug 4 2008, 03:26 PM   #101
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Congratulations Steven! Great sneaky job.
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Old Aug 4 2008, 05:18 PM   #102
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Great job, Steven! What did you put in the other guy's coffee to make him leave so suddenly?
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Old Aug 4 2008, 08:50 PM   #103
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All right, Steven!!!
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Old Aug 4 2008, 08:55 PM   #104
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Hurrah for Steven!

In honor of your Rukbat success, I've appended an appropriate title after Bitsmith/Starsmith.
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Old Aug 4 2008, 10:47 PM   #105
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From a few star watch people when they ge time to do it.

You know SteveB that reminds me in the Skies of Pern w hen F'lessan and Tai got the Honshu scope running. Anne should be very happy about that image.

Give the group two thumbs up ! Just when I need some to make I find your note.

GinnyStar, my family and friends who like to star watch when they can.
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Old Aug 5 2008, 02:40 AM   #106
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Thank you Cheryl .

Well, I did even better tonight. I managed four 20 second exposures on Rukbat instead of the meagre 10 seconds I took last night. We needed a convenient bright star to try something out and, hey, there it was in the catalogue again. I even managed to take some dark exposures to calibrate it with while we were shutting the telescope down.

As Lanen mentioned, I'm going to send this picture of Rukbat to Anne. I think she's really pleased a major new telescope observed her star as one of the first things it saw.

It's my last week here, but things are now begining to come together. We tried a lot of automatic procedures on the telescope, such as selecting a new target (Rukbat ) finding suitable guide stars automatically and automatically correcting the image quality. VISTA is looking much more like an operational observatory now than an engineering facility. We hand the telescope to ESO at the end of August, and I expect then you'll see the press releases (if they make it into anyone's news bulletin).

Goodnight again.
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Old Aug 5 2008, 02:45 AM   #107
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All sounds wonderful, Steven, and hurrah for all this sneakiness and especially, being succesful with it

Goodnight!
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Old Aug 5 2008, 09:48 AM   #108
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Congratulations Steven...I am sure that Anne will love having the new photos of Rukbat...especially from such a new and prestigious telescope as this one is.

Home in another week...WOW...that is great news for Lanen.
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Old Aug 5 2008, 01:20 PM   #109
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Oh grand and glorious Master Sneak (nice one Cheryl!) - well done yet again, even more images of Rukbat. Wow. You're a star! (sorry, couldn't resist...)

However, the best news is that in a week's time from this minute, assuming that all goes well, you'll be through customs etc. and in my arms at Edinburgh Airport. Hooray!

Sleep well, my dearest. Dream of working telescopes, and your wonderful software, and the glory of the stars in a winter sky - and think of me, as I think of you.

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Old Aug 5 2008, 05:57 PM   #110
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It's Tuesday evening, and I go to dinner in 10 minutes and then start another night's work. Here is Rukbat as it appeared on the VISTA acquisition monitor last night:

This shows you a raw image. It will be much better when properly reduced. The field of view here is about 10 arcminutes (one third the diameter of the full Moon) on just one of the 16 detectors. VISTA isn't designed for observing bright stars. They tend to be used to make calibration observations. The large halo you can see around the star is caused by the light reflecting back and forth inside the VISTA's filter. It happens with any large telescope when looking at bright objects.
By contrast here is a picture I took out of my bedroom window using my ordinary camera and a 70mm lens. It's a 20 second exposure:

The little upside down U of stars is Corona Australis. Rukbat is the star above this near the centre of the picture. My camera isn't quite as good as VISTA.

Must dash for dinner now and get back to work. (Everything happens in a rush around here.)
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Old Aug 6 2008, 08:48 AM   #111
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Wow! MoM members are pretty priviledged to see these I suppose Not because it's Rukbat but this result must be among the first ever seen by eyes other than those that have to do with the project itself

Thank you Steven!

Can I use it as a newsitem on my website The Pern Music & Archives?
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Old Aug 6 2008, 09:56 AM   #112
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These are marvelous photos to get to see Steven. It must be quite a thrill to actually get to see them through the telescope yourself. Thank you so much for sharing these very unusual and incredible photos.
I would hazard a guess that Anne has also been among the first to see them...am I right???
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Old Aug 6 2008, 10:49 AM   #113
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Hans, yes I expect there will be an official "first light" picture from VISTA released to the news media in a few weeks/months. What I've shown here is just a snapshot of the acquisition screen - a raw uncalibrated image from just one detector. Once someone has calibrated the images and pieced together the overlapping jigsaw puzzle from the 16 detectors the results are going to look really fantastic. I expect they'll choose some pretty, wide field but scientifically significant region for the first light picture.

As for publicising this more widely, I'm not so sure. I'd rather wait until the public relations people have made the press release. The official hand-over is the end of August, so there should be something in the press by then.

Lady M, yes I sent a copy of the monitor screen picture to Anne yesterday. I wanted her to know that a major new telescope looked at her star as one of the first observations it made.
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Old Aug 6 2008, 10:59 AM   #114
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Steven, I still think these photos are marvelous...and I am sure, that when you and your co-workers get through scientifically tinkering with them they will be even more wonderful to look at. Buuuuttttt.... getting to see what you actually see when your working at finding them, is truly a facinating sight. Thanks again for the treat
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Old Aug 6 2008, 04:09 PM   #115
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Understood and no problem, of course. Wishful thinking on my part as I mst admit I knew what you say and suggest is the way how it should go

Still, even to see a simple screenshot was marvelous
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Old Aug 6 2008, 04:16 PM   #116
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Default Re: The VISTA Telescope Thread (VTT)

Nice images there. Steve. I well have show him later. He was asking me how far way is the star that VISTA is look at? How far away from earth is the shots the scope taking? It good. but a little hard on my eyes.
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Old Aug 8 2008, 01:46 AM   #117
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevenB View Post
Just wait until I show you a picture of the whole room, Cheryl. There are another 3 monitors off to the left of this picture (data handling workstation) and another 2 monitors off to the right (air conditioning and enclosure control workstation).
Well, I said I'd show you a picture of the whole control room. Here it is:

Do you notice the 10 monitor screens and two laptop computers?! I managed to drive all of them simultaneously a couple of nights ago. For health and safety reasons no fewer than 2 people are allowed to work at the telescope, but two nights ago there was me and a manager who didn't know how to operate anything, so I did the job of camera operator and telescope operator at the same time And yes, having castors on your chair really helps a lot . It was rather how I imagined it might be like trying to operate the Starship Enterprise on your own (except with the ship's computer conspiring against you ). It was a memorable but exhausting experience, which is why it's taken 2 days to post anything about it.

Here is another picture that shows a memorable image of working at an observatory:

You arrive at the observatory to a wonderful golden sunset, and you can look down on the clouds from your mountain top. The picture shows the Moon (with Earthshine) and the planet Venus.

It's 2am, and I have more debugging to do tomorrow. Goodnight everyone.
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Old Aug 8 2008, 02:15 AM   #118
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Thanks for the images. SteveB

Nice image # 2

Good Night too.
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Old Aug 8 2008, 02:59 AM   #119
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Great pctures, Steven! The one of the room actually almost looks funnt, especially if we had seen you all alone sitting there. The thing that really made me laugh though was the fact that there is a had hat on the desk Yeah, computers are dangerous

The sunset is absolutely gorgeous!
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Old Aug 8 2008, 08:13 AM   #120
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Catching up on this thread and seeing all the wonderful pictures and get an inside glimpse of your work situation is absolutely making me want for words, Steven. Congratulations on your successes! What a unique way of making a living - sneaking in Rukbat in the schedule as well - what can I say but you are a genius

I wish my job could be pictured the way you have done here

Wishing you all the best and more success and a good return to your beautiful home country and your wife.
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