MagAO observing 2018

I’m excited to be back at Magellan to observe for the second time with MagAO. Even better, this year I am observing for my own project that I hope leads to many more MagAO nights! (And many more burros)



I have two major goals for this run, one technical, one science. On the technical side I want to test the image quality for “interferometric” analysis ala kernel phase (Martinache 2010). I will look at a range of sources at varying brightness (varying AO correction & integration times) and be able to get a good idea of when this method works. And I am really hoping it works especially for the faintest targets in my program because then I can exercise MagAO’s superpower — observing “faint” stars (I~12-15). For science, I am looking at young binaries (or suspected binaries). This is a great test for kernel phase!

In order to process the data we need to have a good model of the pupil so I am also running a test to figure out the orientation of the secondary mirror obstructions relative to the detector.


The bright cross features are from the secondary spiders, the single dark lane going across the images is from the cold stop. An example pupil model looks like this, where the thicker obstruction is from the cold stop in the instrument and the thinner obstructions are from the secondary mirror:


What I need to figure out is how the secondary mirror supports move with the telescope between slews so I can build the appropriate model for each new set of images. Looking forward to tomorrow night!


Important update: turns out it doesn’t move! Now we know for sure.

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