FLWO Tillinghast 60-inch Telescope Log
September-December 2019

Tillinghast Log for the Month of September 2019

August September October November December January 2019 Schedule PDF Schedules TDC >
DateObserverInstObsLostWeatherInstTelObsComments
09/01/2019 GEsquerdo TRES 5.5 4.5 4.5 0 0 0 It looked too clean when I went to process it, so opted to run another model before observing science targets for the remainder of the night. I
09/02/2019 GEsquerdo TRES 4.33 5.66 5 0.66 0 0 Clouds early, breaking just after midnight, becoming clear for the last few hours. Seeing was on the poor side with a north wind
09/03/2019 GEsquerdo TRES10 0 0 0 0 0 Mostly clear all night but with soft seeing, getting a bit worse late with the change in wind direction. Productive night despite the poor conditions
09/04/2019 GEsquerdo TRES 7 3 3 0 0 0 Clouds early, breaking after a few hours and leaving clear skies for the remainder. Soft seeing most of the night with an east wind, improving when the wind calmed towards the end of the night
09/05/2019 Dave Latham and Daniel Yahalomi TRES 1 9 8 1 0 0 We pointed to Vega soon after sunset and were pleased to see that it came up within about 15 arc seconds of the fiber. Then heavy clouds shut us down. A couple hours later a big sucker hole moved in from the west and we acquired Vega again. This time i
09/06/2019 Dave Latham and Daniel Yahalomi TRES 3.5 6.5 6.0 0.5 0 0 Pointing was somewhat better tonight. The declination was better than RA, probably no more than arc minute. A couple of targets came up in the guide field, but the rest were off by as much as 5 arc minutes. Once again this slowed us down, as we were wo
09/07/2019 Dave Latham and Daniel Yahalomi TRES 10 5.5 5 0.5 0 0 W to 8
08/09/2019 Dave Latham and Daniel Yahalomi TRES 10 10 10 0 0 0 Nice clear blue skies all afternoon, but with ominous clouds on the horizon. Opened the telescope and found Vega, only to be shut down by solid clouds that appeared out of nowhere. Fog soon reached the Ridge. Perry showed up and we discussed fine points
09/09/2019 PBerlind TRES 0.5 9.5 9.5 0 0 0 Fog. Telescope drives powered off. Coma and astigmatism in star images. Vega on guide tv, other targets many arcminutes away from fiber not on guide tv after slew. ThAr comps have low counts, projector arm appears to be off fiber center
09/10/2019 PBerlind TRES 0 10 10 0 0 0 Fog. Found black and decker portable tool charger in control room (dfm)
09/11/2019 PBerlind TRES 10 0 0 0 0 0 Occasional minor oscillations in RA. Guider froze, could not ping tres-guider, but tres-guider pc was alive and ok at monitor. Rebooted and was back on network. NTCS HA display always reads 0, file headers okay. Took pointing model data
09/12/2019 GEsquerdo TRES 9 1 1 0 0 0 Mostly clear most of the night with light debris clouds throughout. One batch in first third of the night had me idle for an hour
09/13/2019 GEsquerdo TRES 0.33 9.66 9.66 0 0 0 Partly cloudy at sunset with a few sucker holes I tried to work through until getting shut down for the night not long after opening
09-14-2019 GEsquerdo TRES 0 10 10 0 0 0 Clouds with high humidity then fog in the latter half. Rain starting in the last couple of hours. Never opened
09/15/2019 GEsquerdo TRES 9.5 0.5 0.5 0 0 0 Cirrus clouds most of the first half, thick enough for a while to have me sit idle. These cleared out around midnight leaving clear skies for the remainder
09/16/2019 PBerlind TRES 5 5 5 0 0 0 Occasional RA oscillation, few Hz, 7" amplitude, intermittent, SE part of sky. While tracking the stars drift in both RA and DEC, 1-2 arcsec per minute, tip-tilt guider quickly reaches end of travel limit
09/17/2019 PBerlind TRES 10 0.2 0.2 0 0 0 Mostly clear night with good seeing. Clouds moved in at end of night. Some infrequent RA oscillations.
09/18/2019 PBerlind TRES 6 4 4 0 0 0 Several batches of clouds moved through during the night. Poor seeing. No changes with pointing or oscillations
09/19/2019 GEsquerdo TRES 8.5 1.5 0 0.5 0 1 dome on
09/20/2019 GEsquerdo TRES 1 9 9 0 0 0 Mostly clear early but rising humidity brought cap clouds then fog to end the night
09/21/2019 GEsquerdo TRES 0.75 9.25 9.25 0 0 0 Clouds most of the night with some fog in the middle. Breaking just before dawn with a brief sucker hole allowing a few observations to be made
09/22/2019 GEsquerdo TRES 0 10 10 0 0 0 Clouds with rain early then high humidity and fog. Never opened
09/23/2019 GEsquerdo TRES 0 10 10 0 0 0 Fog settled in not long after sunset. I departed the mountain around 8:00PM. I forced a fill on FAST around 7:15PM before leaving
09/24/2019 PBerlind TRES 1 9 9 0 0 0 Clear hole just after sunset, then clouds, fog, and rain. Telescope pointing very challenging
09/25/2019 PBerlind TRES 0 10 10 0 0 0 Rain, thick fog, waiting out this last hour. No observations. End of TRES run
09/25/2019 PBerlind TRES 1 9 9 0 0 0 On the sky for last hour of night after rain and fog
09/26/2019 WBrown FAST 10 10 0 0 0 0 I got on-sky for about 40 min before humidity closed the Ridge this evening.
* Good news: the FAST system appears to work fine. All of the TCS Tele Task controls, like "Set TelePos," worked correctly.
* My first slew, to a bright star very near zenith, was well over 6 arcmin away from the telescope pointing.
* I clicked "Set TelePos" in TCS, slewed to another star and then back, and the first star lined up where it was supposed to.
* Since humidity was quickly rising, I did not attempt a pointing grid. But Jonathan Irwin is very interested in analyzing a dense pointing grid (we talked about it atdinner), so I'll get that done tomorrow.
* I did some N-E-S-W offset tests at different PA, which seemed to work well. But we need to fix the hand paddle, the east-west swap is so confusing.
* I slewed to a science target to test guiding, but had to close.
* Another thing: when I tipped the telescope South to put tape over the bright blue light above the secondary mirror (on the Renishaw box), I noticed that the primary looks quite dusty. Which likely explains its poor UV throughput.
09/27/2019 WBrown
JDavis
FAST 9 1 0 1 0 0 On-sky all night.
* Targets track completely out of the slit in 30 seconds. This appears to be due to the HA and Dec "tracking correction" values, that Galil computes from differentiating the pointing model, unique values for every target. If we apply the exact opposite numbers in the Rates menu, then targets stay on the slit. I don't understand why DFM thinks the sky moves N-S.
* The FAST guider sends corrections, but they do not appear to move the telescope. (Targets drift the same with or without the guider on.) Thanks to Ted for calling in to diagnose the issues.
* We observed the HA oscillation. Multiple times. Luckily the slit is E-W.
* We did a pointing grid spiraling out from zenith.
* TheSkyX coordinates for the bright stars are significantly different than our bright star catalog. Perhaps they use epoch 2019.0927? Not understanding TheSkyX, we used brightstar.mct.
* The TCS/Galil system allowed us to slew to a target beyond the west limit. We had to use jumpers to recover. We then did two more pointing tests that will have to be manually added to the main pointing grid catalog: 20190927.pat.
09/28/2019 WBrown
JDavis
FAST 4 6 6 0 0 0 Telescope would not slew to the target at the beginning of the night. We restarted Galil which allowed us to start slewing once again. However, we started to slew but Galil reset the target position to 0-0-0. The system allowed us to slew, which we stopped before it got too far. The software was allowing us to slew to a target far beyond the limit, which is concerning. Worked with Ted to try to attempt at fixing the guiding system. Ted is updating the software in an attempt to improve tracking. Attempted to restart the TCS window to redeploy the new guiding software but it hung on the initialization of the ADC. The yellow TCS window never appeared. We attempted several times to try to recover the ADC but everything hung. We are now going to try to restart FLW60 Humidity is high at 87% so we decided to close.
09/29/2019 JDavis
WBrown
FAST 10 0 0 0 0 0 * When we first slewed from stow position, telescope only went half way and we had to restart Galil in order to complete the slew.
* Dome incorrectly positioned itself twice.
* The guider rapidly pulls stars off of the target, typically in the S direction within a matter of 15 sec.
09/30/2019 JDavis
WBrown
FAST 9 1 0 0.5 0.5 0 Variable clouds all night. Yellow TCS window crashed twice, once after we pressed "stow tele." We tested guider updates, but in all trials it quickly pulls the target off the slit by 5-10 arcsec before stabilizing, as if it corrupted the starting location. When observing a target at HA=-1.5 hr, Dec=-8 deg, the telescope was unable to more N-S at guide speed, and at set speed had large hystersis (we had to press the set button for a while to get a N-S movement). This did not occur again after slewing to another target.

Tillinghast Log for the Month of October 2019

August September October November December January 2019 Schedule PDF Schedules TDC
DateObserverInstObsLostWeatherInstTelObsComments
10/01/2019 GEsquerdo TRES 9.0 1.5 1 0 0.5 0 Clear all night but I did have an hour in the middle of the night when the humidity spiked over limit with a little fog. This dried out leaving a clear second half. Did take a little time at the start of the night adjusting the position of the projector
10/02/2019 GEsquerdo TRES 10 0.5 0.5 0 0 0 Mostly clear to start but then pesky debris clouds for a while. I was mostly able to observe around these, but did have to sit idle for a little bit. These departed leaving clear skies, but soft seeing thanks to an east wind
10/03/2019 GEsquerdo TRES 0.5 10 10 0 0 0 Clouds similar to debris clouds but without an associated storm carried on from the afternoon into the evening. A brief break part-way through allowed two observations before clouding over for the rest of the night
10/06/2019 Dave Latham TRES 11.5 0 0 0 0 0 I worked through bands of clouds that streamed across from the west starting at sunset. They were there most of the night, but were gone at dawn. The seeing was okay, tightening up over the final few hours. I changed the tracking rate to 15.030 as suggested by Perry. That's just a hair slow. Overall it may be slightly better than 15.041. The optimum rate when relying on just the drive varies with area of the sky. I also changed the landing zone from 30' to 60", but that made the landing errors worse. Short moves are often bang on. Long moves, the first axis to finish is quite precise, but the second axis often hunts and some times punts. I saw an error as large as 9 arc minutes at the end of a move. You can hit te again, and it does better because its a real short move, or you can paddle to the desired target coordinates. I only saw bad oscillations a couple of times. I had one periscope hang. Otherwise, everything worked. I have not seen a guider crash yet. I have learned to hit the right button when I want to move east more than half the time, now. It's hard to break a habit ingrained over a few decades.
10/07/2019 Dave Latham TRES 9.5 2 0 0 2 0 Fair weather clouds dissolved a little after sunset. The seeing was pretty good after that. Debris clouds moved through a bit before midnight, but I was able to dodge them. It more or less cleared up after a while, and the seeing got worse. I got a warning for low Th-Ar counts. I rehomed the projector arm, but that did not solve the problem. I checked the projector arm during a cex, and it appeared to be working ok. Then I checked the lamp current, and it barely got registered any current. I pulled the lamp and checked connections. I did get the lamp to start once (out of many attempts). I found a Photron in the computer room, and it fired right up, so I installed it. It's a bit weaker than the Cathodeon was, so I extended the exposure time to 10 seconds, using a new alias "cex10" as a temporary solution. I lost a total of about 2 hours.
10/08/2019 Dave Latham TRES 11.5 0 0 0 0 0 Generally clear all night. Excellent seeing at the beginning, but variable during the night. The oscillation was annoying early in the night, then it quieted down. Some parts of the sky still give pointing errors larger than 5'. In other parts the target comes up in the middle of the guider. It sure is more efficient when you don't have to locate where you are from faint star patterns. For some of the night I downloaded 30' charts to make sure I could find the field. Two guider crashes, no obvious reason why. Coordinated TESS targets with the FIES team on NOT.
10/09/2019 Dave Latham TRES 10.5 1 0 0 1 0 A nice clear night, but windy. Seeing was tight to start with, gradually deteriorated as it got colder. The focus setting gets more negative as the ambient temperature drops. At 8:15 MST I pointed to TOI-1083 (19:06 +72) and checked the focus. The focus reading got less negative no matter which button I pushed. At first I thought it was a bad "IN" button on the hand paddle, so I pfutzed with that. Insides looked okay. Next I stowed the telescope, thinking I might have to cycle the drive box power. But, both buttons worked at stow. Back to TOI-1083. Both buttons give less negative readings. Back to stow. Changed hand paddles with the one in the dome. Back to TOI-1083. The buttons worked for the rest of the night. That cost me an hour.
10/10/2019 PBerlind TRES 10 0 0 1 0 0 Little to no oscillation. After updating telescope coordinates near zenith, pointing was off for most targets by 200+ arcsec. Could not find final targets of the night in twilight sky. There is no precise way to measure or keep track of offsets anymore. Clear, seeing pretty good, dome seeing at times in the east.
10/11/2019 PBerlind TRES 11 0 0 0 0 0 A few stars in the SE were oscillating. Clear, really good seeing at times. Tried to maximize counts on Vega with second visit going through focus but found low equal counts anywhere near focus
10/12/2019 GEsquerdo TRES 10.25 0.5 0 0 0.5 0 Clear all night with OK but variable seeing. RA oscillation seemed fairly tame most of the night, but but became noticeable with the shorter exposures on brighter stars. Probably there all night, but not as apparent during more routine observations. ThAr comp levels were quite low at the start of the night, as expected from notes and messages from the previous few days. After the calibration frames, I attempted to adjust the rotation of the lamp in the turret to optimize counts and quickly noticed the lamp had "bad" written in faded/worn ballpoint pen on the label. Suspecting this was the reason for the low counts, I replaced this with the ThAr lamp that Dave Latham bought earlier in the year. I spent some time adjusting the lamp in the turret to maximize counts, finally finding the optimum rotation yielding about 22k counts in the exposure checker at 10.5ma current. I collected a new set of calibrations after this and before observing for the rest of the night with this new lamp.
10/13/2019 GEsquerdo TRES 10.75 0 0 0 0 0 Clear all night. Seeing was OK early but became soft and challenging in the second half. No new problems
10/14/2019 GEsquerdo TRES 8.75 2 2 0 0 0 Clear until a very quick and unexpected spike in humidity around 1:00 brought clouds and light fog which shut me down for a couple hours. I reopened to some light cumulus debris clouds for the remainder of the night. Fought bright moonlight most of the time I was open. Seeing was soft all night. No new problems, but the star images appear to be more comatic than usual when the seeing was good enough to notice.
10/15/2019 GEsquerdo TRES 10.75 0 0 0 0 0 Clear all night but with seeing that gradually grew worse as the night progressed becoming quite poor at the end. East wind didn't help here or down the hall at the 48", as usual with wind from this direction. Fought the bright moon most of the night. I was working a target in the far north (+83 degrees) and near the meridian when the focus would only move one direction, regardless of which button was being pushed, both on the handpaddle AND the virtual handpaddle. I stowed the scope and was able to change the focus when at zenith. A strange behavior as it worked without problem before and after this incident.

Tillinghast Log for the Month of November 2019

August September October November December January 2019 Schedule PDF Schedules TDC
DateObserverInstObsLostWeatherInstTelObsComments

Tillinghast Log for the Month of December 2019

August September October November December January 2019 Schedule PDF Schedules TDC