Subject: Minutes, 3.5m User's Committee meeting, 07/19/99

From: strauss@astro.Princeton.EDU

Submitted: Thu, 22 Jul 1999 16:49:48 -0400 (EDT)

Message number: 364 (previous: 363, next: 365 up: Index)

  Apache Point Observatory 3.5m User's Committee Meeting
		July 19, 1999

Attending: Alan Uomoto, Bruce Gillespie, Ed Turner, Michael Strauss

****************Miscellaneous news from the mountain*****************	   
SPICAM has been returned to service after repairs at UW.  It seems to
have been behaving fine recently, although it has had little time on
the sky. 

The weather recently has been even worse than expected for this
time of year. 

Shack-Hartmann Image Gadget for optical alignment of the telescope has
been delivered.  It is under commissioning now, but given the poor
weather, things have been slow.  We really want to get a good
measurement of the optics of the telescope before putting in the new
secondary.  This is high priority, and is pre-empting science time.

Bruce has successfully recruited a new observing specialist, Lisa
Wells, currently finishing her masters degree at the University of
Arizona.  She will start begin training in early August, and will
start full-time in September after the shutdown. We now have a full staff
for both the SDSS and the 3.5m.

Shutdown will begin August 16, end September 12.  
  The following is an informal task list for the shutdown:

  -Remove all three mirrors
  -Aluminize new M2 and install
  -Realuminize M3 and reinstall
  -Various work on M1 support system in mirror covers
  -Activate M1 temperature sensors
  -Fix guider coolant system
  -Wash M1
  -Add M1 cover sensing switches
  -Vacuum pump GRIM2 and SPIcam
  -Rebuild altitude drive
  -Collimate telescope
  -Retune altitude servo
  -Collimate telescope on sky
  -Baseline optical performance of telescope w/ new M2
  -Pointing model and instrument block tuneups

The following items may also be carried out, although they have not
been yet scheduled: 

  -DIS focus check
  -ECHELLE front end modifications
  -ECHELLE upper tank vacuum leak

***************************News from the Echelle********************
The echelle flatfield seemed to be a limiting factor in the S/N of
data taken with it, but this turns out to be due to some incorrect
assumptions in the IRAF reduction package.  The good news is that this
is not a fundamental problem with the instrument, but it will require
updates of the reduction software.  This software problem turns out
not to be an issue with the smaller echelle slit (1.6"), so Don York
has requested that the smaller slit be left in the instrument for the
time being.  However, to confuse the issue, at this writing, the
longer slit is in at the moment.  Switching the slit is a somewhat
risky procedure (you can mess up the instrument alignment), so we
probably want to settle on a single slit, and stick with it for some

  People with questions should contact Don York directly

************************More Miscellany****************************
  A new policy: with the automated tertiary, it is quite difficult to
move the tertiary manually (if the automated tertiary mechanism
happens to fail for any reason), so there will be no manual tertiary
rotations carried out at night. Manual rotations can be done during
the daytime, with some difficulty. 

  Plans for APO Community meeting in early October at APO continue
apace.  Detailed agenda and plans will be distributed on
apo35-general.  A major focus will be plans for future development at
the telescope, and new instruments and instrument upgrades (in the
spirit of the 3-year plan which is coming to a conclusion); see
minutes of the last meeting for details.  

  Next meeting:  12 noon, Monday, August 30.

  Previous month's minutes are approved. 

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