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Sutherland Deployment

Page history last edited by Rudi Kuhn 13 years ago

Friday, Oct 3, 2008


Since First Light for KELT-S, we have been busy working on the telescope and the building.  As mentioned in the post on Monday, we have to orient the telescope correctly by performing Polar Alignment and creating a Pointing Model.  As soon as we began these tasks, we immediately ran into a problem with the mount that is explained in detail here.  It has to do with modifying the Mount control software so that it can operate correctly in the Southern Hemisphere.  We finally found the solution to the problem, but it took a couple days.


Once that was done, we quickly created a pointing model and checked the polar alignment, which happened last night (Thursday). 


Today, most of the work involved installing the flatfield and attaching the cowlings to the building.


Below is a photo of Koos (one of the many handymen) doing some work on the cross braces for the flat field.




The finished product. (We need to go over the whole flat field again with some paint to get rid of the nails.)




Here is what the cowlings looked like before the installation.




And this is what they look like when they are on the side of the building.




Here is one of Josh doing the installation.





Tuesday, Sept 30, 2008  {{{ Special Update }}}


First Light for KELT-South!


This is a full size KELT-S image at (17:49:51, -37:02:45).  The focus is good, and the sky looks great!  For a larger file that you can save and zoom in for more detail, see the First Light wiki page.




Here is a detail:



and for those who like pretty pictures...


the center of the Milky Way!




Here are the Large and Small Magallenic Clouds.  We just realized that they are separated by about 26 degrees - useful for us.



If you have a closer look at the last two images (saving them to your computer first and viewing them at their full resolutions) you can actually see a faint satellite trail on the image of the center of the Milky Way in the upper right hand corner and in the second image you can atually see a shooting star to the left of the LMC. almost in the middle of the image.


Tuesday, Sept 30, 2008


Last night we tried to focus the camera and attain first light, after having fixed (we hope) the camera adapter problem from yesterday.  Unfortunately, nature was playing hard to get.  Sporadic waves of clouds kept coming over us, and the one time it looked clear, we went up to the telescope, opened the building and prepared to take data, and we looked up and saw the whole sky filled with clouds.  Hopefully, tonight we will have better luck.


On a positive note, the problem we were having calculating local sidereal time has been resolved, albeit in the most banal way possible.




Monday, Sept 29, 2008


We got a lot accomplished over the past two days.  As of the last post, we had the cabinet installed along with the UPS and the transformer inside it.  We also had the pier and mount installed.


Yesterday, we installed the camera, brought up the computer, and decided to try for first light.  There are three main steps to getting the telescope situated for taking data here.  First, we need to get the camera focused correctly.  Second, we need to do Polar Alignment.  Lastly, we will need to create a Pointing Model.


Yesterday the intention was to only determine the correct focus of the telescope.  Unfortunately, we ran into a problem immediately.  That problem is described in detail here, but in short the camera adapter was the wrong size to allow us to focus on infinitely.  We believe we have found a workaround for the problem, and if the weather coorperates we should know tonight if we were successful.


We also installed the control computer inside the enclosure, along with the external hard drives and the network switch.  One thing we have to be careful of in the enclosure is to keep the computer and hard drives away from the transformer part of the UPS.  Transformers exert strong magnetic fields, which can affect the magnetic disks in hard drives.  Therefore, we build a shelf out of a broken chair and some scrap wood to keep the hard drives and computer perched at the top of the cabinet while the transformer is on the bottom.


Here are the parts we used...



and here is the result:



Whatever, it works:






Saturday, Sept 27, 2008


Yesterday was a long day, so had to wait until today to post our activities.  In the past two days we installed a good deal of the equipment in the building.  We have brought in the enclosure, the UPS, the pier, and the mount.  John Stoffels, the Sutherland site manager, helped us cut holes in the enclosure for the power and data cables to pass through, and we have worked on sealing up those holes but we are not done yet.  More details about the installation of the enclosure can found on its wiki page.


Here is a picture of the current state of the building; it actually looks like a telescope is taking shape!





Thursday, Sept 25, 2008


A lot of progress today on the KELT building.  The electricity and network cables were installed, so we now have power and internet in the building.  We also have interior lights so we can use the webcam to monitor the systems (once it is installed).  And the PLC is now attached to the wall.


In this picture you can see all the current components.  In the top left, the white box on top of the wall is the motor that opens and closes the roof.  Next to it on the wall is one of the interior lights.  The white box to the right of that is the circuit breaker box.  Below that box in the corner near the floor are the conduits where the power and network cables enter, and along the bottom of the right wall are 4 power outlet boxes, each with 2 outlets.  There are two white boxes and two red boxes, and the difference has to do with whether the lines in that box have a ground - an imporatant issue when you have UPS's hooked up.  The orange box hanging on the right is the PLC itself, with cables hanging out waiting to be connected.






Wednesday, Sept 24, 2008


Today was a big day for working on the Mount.  There is a potential problem with the Paramount ME that is previously known.  We were notified about this problem a while ago by Rob Siverd, the director of the KELT-North telescope, who is at Ohio State.  This problem involves the configuration of some cables inside the mount.  They are bundled very tightly together, and over time, they can rub against each other, stripping the insulation and even cutting them.  To prevent this kind of damage inside our mount, we resolved to completely remove these cables, since they are not necessary for our operations.  Today we opened up the mount and successfully removed the cables.  Here is a cool picture of the mount with the side panels off:




A full description of the process with photos and a video can be seen here.





Monday, Sept 22, 2008


We have posted some nice photos of the construction of the KELT building and roof here.




Sunday, Sept 21, 2008


Not to much to report over the last two days.  We have mainly been programming the control computer for the camera and mount, and planning for the move into the KELT building which should happen in the middle of next week, once the electric and network cables are installed and the building is made weather-proof.   We have a small problem calculating the sidereal time here, see this page for a description of the problem and email us if you any solutions.


In the meantime, here are photos of the delivery of the telescope, and here are some nice shots of Sutherland, taken by Rudi and David.




Friday, Sept 19, 2008


We have finished all unpacking now.  We have set up several of the components in the library of the visitor's center of the observatory, and we have successfully installed the UPS.  This step was necessary since all of our equipment runs off of American power, and we need the UPS to transform that from South African power.  We have also unpacked the Mount and the Camera, and verified that they do still work. 


Our colleague David must unfortunately leave us today, just as all the fun stuff is happening.  So Josh and Rudi will be continuing with the task.  We will be spending the weekend on programming, and hopefully on Monday the electricity and network cables will be installed in the dome, so we can start moving our equipment in there.


Here are some photos of the equipment in the library.  The UPS and transformer are the black boxes in the lower right.




This is a shot of the utility on the control computer that monitors the UPS statsus.  Cool!









Wednesday, Sept 17, 2008


After many, many, delays, the KELT-South telescope has arrived safe and sound in Sutherland.  The telescope was packed with all the different components in a crate in Nashville and shipped to South Africa on a container ship.  That ship was delayed by fierce storms around Cape Town, which caused port congestion in Cape Town and delayed the offloading and unpacking of the container.  Finally the crate arrive on a truck today at the SAAO facility near Sutherland in the early afternoon.  In celebration of which, here is the first set of pictures from the site.  The people in the pictures are:


Joshua Pepper - Vanderbilt astronomy postdoc and director of the KELT-South telescope

David James - astronomy professor at University of Hawaii - Hilo, member of the KELT-S project

Rudi Kuhn - University of Cape Town graduate student, member of the KELT-S project

Jaci Dyers - SAAO electronics technician, one of the SAAO team members helping with the installation of KELT-South.

Gerhardus - Local Contractor supervising the construction of the KELT-S building.


   * For a special treat, scroll down to the bottom for a video of Josh, David and Rudi unpacking the crate.



Here is the uncompleted KELT-South building.  The roof is off, it is not painted, and the doors are not yet installed, the condition as of this morning.





Here is another view of the building in the same condition:




Here is a picture of Josh and David discussing the placement of equipment in the building.




Josh talking to Jaci.




Jaci, Rudi, Josh, and Gerhardus.





And here is an AVI file of the unpacking of the KELT-S crate.  Best viewed with Windows Media Player:


Unpack Video.avi (3MB)



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