Subject: 3.5-m and site notes


Submitted: Wed, 21 Aug 1996 17:41:25 -0600

Message number: 77 (previous: 76, next: 78 up: Index)

Below are some notes I prepared for an NMSU faculty meeting, and Ed Turner
suggested I also post them to the general APO mail server:

Report covers summer happenings with projections through December 1996, not
in any particular order (nor level of completeness):

        o "Baltimore Meeting" held at JHU 9 August, 3-year plan for telescope
           and instrument improvements discussed, final report to be available
           by end of month and given to ARC BoGovernors prior to annual meeting.
           Consensus to achieve top-tier telescope and instrument performance in
           less than three years.

        o  Ed Kibblewhite and ChAOS team achieved closed-loop AO on bright star
           with 0.17 arcsec FWHM, and resolved a binary that is ~.2 arcsec
           separation.  See writeup and pictures on APO web page under "Some
           Current Research Projects."  Plan to use laser beacon in September
           for artificial guide stars.

        o  Steve Knapp completed new aluminized slits for DIS, 2" and 3" wide.

        o  Image quality generally better since 2ndary vane-tightening, braces
           for 2ndary cage, plus by reducing altitude servo gain.  Typical
           seeing ~1.2 arcseconds, as good as .7 arcsec rarely.

        o  Jim Fowler and others plotting project to improve network bandwidth
           and reliability for remote observing.

        o  New 2ndary mirror blank has been rough-polished, selecting vendor to
           do final polishing now.

        o  Recruiting two new Observing Specialists--Dan Long working on SDSS
           installation projects, and Eddie Bergeron returning to ST ScI.

        o  Considerable work at site related to SDSS installation activities.

        o  Shutdown plans for fall:  Replace guider with new Photometrics
           camera, better sensitivity.  Aluminize primary, 2ndary and tertiary
           mirrors.  Replace remaining 3 enclosure wheels. Upgrade primary
           mirror support servo to cure primary mirror oscillation.  Take DIS
           off-line to repair sensitivity, throughput and noise problems.
           Install new "Stubbs" 2048^2 prototype wide-field camera.

        o  Also working projects to improve calibration quality and efficiency,
          including telescope and instrument baffling.

                                Bruce Gillespie

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