Saturday, July 13, 2013

LUCI-2 is on Mt Graham

Thanks to the good work of MGIO and LBTO staff, LUCI-2 is on the mountain. 

The boxes are stored in the high bay area, some close to the clean room and others in front of where the aluminizing bell jar usually stands. The bell jar has been moved close to the enclosure pier as we will need to crane it up to the telescope floor for re-aluminizing  the SX (left) primary mirror on the week of July 22.

The LUCI team will start unpacking and reassembling the instrument in the clean room this weekend.

Looking at the high bay from the top of the enclosure pier. Part of the bell jar (orange structure) can be seen on the left. Some of the LUCI-2 boxes are on the floor in front of the lab (white wall). The rest is in the back (see close-up below) where the bell jar carriage usually sits.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

LUCI-2 arrived at the base camp

This is the first post on a new blog intended to provide information about what is happening at the Large Binocular Telescope. LBT users will find news on instrumentation, new observing capabilities, telescope scheduling... The astronomical community at large and everyone interested in the LBT will be able to follow the progress of the observatory as it moves on the road to full operation, a road which can be bumpy at times, as you can see on the blog dedicated to the recovery of one of the Adaptive Secondary mirrors.

After successfully passing its partial preliminary acceptance in Heidelberg in early June, LUCI-2 landed at LAX on July 3rd. Its many boxes made it through customs at a good pace after Independence Day.

LUCI-2 is now at the MGIO base camp in Safford, where it will spend the night in the MGIO shop before reaching the observatory on Mt Graham later in the week.

LUCI-2 is the second of the near-infrared imagers and multi-object spectrographs developed by a consortium of German institutes for LBT. It is mostly a twin of LUCI-1, which has been available to the LBT users since April 2010 (more info on LUCI-1 here).

LUCI-2 will be reassembled and tested over the summer in the observatory lab before being mounted on the telescope and commissioned over the fall and winter. LUCI-2, as delivered today, will only provide seeing limited imaging and spectroscopy. Diffraction limited observations using the excellent adaptive optics capabilities of LBT will come once a specially designed camera is delivered and fully commissioned, a process which should be completed by mid-2014.

LUCI-2 at MPIA (Heidelberg, Germany) during acceptance tests

LUCI-2 (mostly) empty structure

Packing the MOS unit

On the truck at MPIA...
... and on another truck at the MGIO base camp in Safford
LUCI-2 boxes in the MGIO shop for the night