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Monitor Heater Parts
CFHT and the Mauna Kea Atmospheric Monitor
The past several months at work have been taken up with preparations for installing the Mauna Kea Atmospheric Monitor, which is shown here, partially assembled, beside the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope dome.
Prior to this we had a 50' weather tower outside the dome, which provided measurements of temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, and precipitation to observers at CFHT and other telescopes so they could make decisions about which parts of the sky to observe, how best to orient their domes at sunset in order to flush the domes and bring the telescopes to nighttime operating temperature, and under which conditions to give it up for the night.
The tower was taken down several months ago, and the concrete pad was re-surfaced in order to support the MKAM tower. The tower, the enclosure on top, and the instrument inside it was originally used for site survey work for the Thirty Meter Telescope. The tower and equipment is now on loan for the MKAM project.
When it is completed the new tower will still support all the original weather instrumentation, but will also include a MASS-DIMM instrument attached to a small automated telescope. The MASS, or Multi-Aperture Scintillation Sensor, determines how much each altitude in the air contributes to the overall atmospheric turbulence, and the DIMM, or Differential Image Motion Monitor, determines how much atmospheric turbulence there is overall. Put together, these two can give observers an idea of how stable the atmosphere is, and how high the turbulence is that is causing the instability. These are essential to know for doing adaptive optics.
But to get there, the tower had to go up first. And as grand as all this sounds, the tower was put together by a bunch of guys, a Pettibone, a cherry-picker, and a bunch of wrenches. At 14,000' above sea level. By the end of it, we were all running ragged and all short of breath. The whole thing was put together in two days, including the installation of the MASS-DIMM telescope.
MASS-DIMM: Install the MASS-DIMM instrument on the telescope, install the mirrors on the telescope, level and align the telescope, and put together a pointing model so it knows where it is on the sky.
Weather Sensing: Install two weather masts, put together a new mount for the precipitation gauge, install mast heaters so they don't accumulate ice in the winter, run conduit and cables for the two masts, install the PLC that reads the weather instrumentation, and hook it into the existing fiber network at the tower's base.
This will take somewhat longer than two days.
Parts & Labour Launch
Last night I hit the Parts & Labour launch party.
Great food, nice space, interesting crowd and some really good conversation. Including talking to Victoria about the rooftop garden they've put in to grow herbs, lettuces, beets and more to supply the kitchen.
The Chef's Tables are appealing to a camera nut like me. I'm hoping to go back and try the regular menu with Gerry soon.
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