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Minerva update: The eagle has landed

On Fri, Apr 12, 2013 at 4:39 PM, Jon Swift wrote:
Status update:

Our CDK700 is safely in place now! Rick and Kevin are
hooking up all the cables and our camera in prep for
tonight. The telescope fit nicely on the mounting bolts
(after a few strikes with a mallet) and the clearance is to
spec. Skies are clear, and if all goes well we'll have a
pointing solution soon after dark.

Telescope 1 was delivered and installed successfully Friday afternoon! That we were able to get on the sky immediately is a testament to the amazing engineering of Planewave, and the wisdom of going with top-of-the-line, yet off-the-shelf telescopes for our project. Telescope 2 will soon be rolling down the assembly line.

For now, testing of Telescope 1, the science camera and the fiber acquisition unit (FAU) have begun in earnest. Kristina Hogstrom (CIT Aerospace Engineering second-year) will be teaching the telescope to operate robotically, while Phil Muirhead and Mike Bottom (CIT Astro third-year) will work on the FAU and telescope guiding. 

Some pics!
Unpacking Telescope 1
The Crane getting ready to lift the telescope into place
Carefully lowering the telescope onto the pier. The pier for Telescope 2 is in the foreground and will hopefully be occupied this Fall.
Jon Swift sawing off the end of a PVC pipe so the telescope will fit properly
The open Aqawan, complete with one of two telescopes. The sides of the enclosure will be lowered further during scientific operations.
The telescope in the home position, along with the control computer and desk.
Reed Riddle and Becky Jensen-Clem investigate the telescope.
Mike Bottom is one very happy grad student
Kristina Hogstrom (Aero-astro engineering grad student) sizes up her quarry. She will teach it to operate robotically before setting it loose in the wild next year.
Phil Muirhead's SolidWorks design of the Fiber Acquisition Unit (FAU), which couples the light from the telescope to the spectrometer via a fiber-optic cable. 

Proud papa


It turns out that all went well with installation and setup. The team was on-sky that same night.

Rick Hedrick of Planewave looks on as the telescope pointing solution is worked out.
Unofficial first-light target: The Trapesium
The M51 "Whirlpool Galaxy", from Pasadena with no filters in front of our Apogee U230 CCD camera...from Pasadena. Jon measured 2."7 seeing!
Pizza break. From left to right: Mike Bottom, Peter Plavchan, Phil Muirhead, Becky Jensen-Clem


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