Despite some pretty poor weather this past week we are finished with the bright time engineering run and ready to start science over the 14 days around new moon. In this past engineering run we found some problems with the wave-front sensor software and implemented a new forward model of the hexapod motion. This new model allows for us to compensate for an unintended very small rotation that is induced by hexapod motion over the course of a trajectory. The impact of this rotation was to cause the field to rotate by several arcseconds over a trajectory. Our new forward model eliminates all of the hexapod induced rotation but allowed us to see a much smaller Azimuth dependent rotation term. This much smaller term will be addressed after this next science run, during the next full moon. Overall, a good improvement to the telescope’s operation.
The end of this week marks us as half way through the current 4 month period (December – March). We have completed 70% of the highest priority band P1, 52% of the P2 band and 41% of the P3 band time. The bad weather we had at the beginning of the period, back in December, really kept us from completing many of the high priority targets in the Sheila field which is now unreachable until the late summer.
There are 10 programs that have been completed out of 27 programs. Some of our users have never been granted HET time before so there is a bit of a learning curve in how to optimize the HET time. Hopefully our Synoptic Supernova teams can make excellent use of the remaining 2 months of the period.
For the next 2 weeks (during the bright time) we will be concentrating on making further improvements to our telescope control systems, wavefront sensor systems and instrument control systems. It is going to be a very busy 2 weeks!