Happy New Year! The blogger is back from Winter break and travels to January Science meetings.
We will start with the bad news. The tests on the corrector have determined that there is significant asymmetries. These are asymmetries beyond what were found and reported to the board of directors in the December meeting. Those aberrations were going to be removed by changing the plate glass that was going in to seal the bottom of the corrector into a fifth optical element with some small power. That optic has been fabricated and installed in the corrector. The newly discovered astigmatism was found off axis and might have an impact on image quality at the edge of the field of view. To further investigate this optical issue we are adding a few months to the delivery date of the corrector. Instead of being delivered in late January the new delivery date is expected to be early May and significant on-sky commissioning during the rainy season perhaps pushing us into September.
On a more positive note the 2nd VIRUS enclosure has arrived and installed.
There is a lot of plumbing and electrical work required to finish the installation. This is our highest priority.
During the long break the Remote Thermal Area contractors have installed the glycol chiller and are in the process of commissioning it with glycol. This nearly completes the Remote Thermal Area project. Only a few punch list items remain.
The HPF doors also arrived and have been installed. The HPF is now thermally isolated from the spectrograph room. The Penn State Team will monitor the temperatures inside and outside of their enclosure to see if our new Mitsubishi units can hold the temperature to a tight enough tolerance for their specifications. Meanwhile the insulating panels for the HRS II have arrived and will be installed in the coming month. These panels along with an active feed back heater inside the enclosure should allow the HRS II to be held to extremely tight tolerances, < 0.1 C.
The mirror team has started mirror swaps and started using the Strip and Wash room to remove old mirror coatings and prep them for the coating chamber. Our goal is to get the team up to 4 mirrors swaps every 3 weeks.