The big news from this week is that the review of the secondary corrector optics has completed. The review involved people internal and external to McDonald Observatory. The reviewers agreed with the WFU commissioning team that the corrector was ready to be shipped to the HET. However, they firmly suggested that the amount of knowledge transfer from University of Arizona to the maintenance team at the HET was not sufficient. Thus there will be a ~3 week delay in shipping the corrector so that the HET optical maintenance team can travel to University of Arizona and review the alignment procedures for future reference and in case of an unanticipated disaster in bringing the optics to the HET. This means that the corrector will not arrive in early May as planned but will arrive later in May.
The past three weeks have been dedicated to getting the telescope ready for various aspects of the upgrade. The mechanical and electrical teams have been trying to finish out various aspects of the VIRUS enclosures. The HRS has been stripped down to the optics table and the inside of the enclosure painted flat black.
The mirror team continues to pull the oldest mirrors in the array and replace them with freshly coated mirrors.
The night operations team continues to make sure that the alignment software is working well and is able to align all of the mirrors. Some tests of the telescope control system and mount models for the tracker motion have been tested. We now have pointing and tracking capability comparable to what we had before the upgrade began.
In the last few weeks one of our electrical technicians decided to retire. We have decided to change the position from a technician to an engineering position. If you know of an electrical engineer who is interested in living in West Texas be sure to have them apply:
Positions open at McDonald Obs.