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NOAO Newsletter - Kitt Peak National Observatory - September 1996 - Number 47


Summer Shutdown Activities on Kitt Peak

As tradition has it, monsoons in Arizona run from the Fourth of July to Labor Day. While the weather only roughly keeps to the calendar, the KPNO Telescope Schedule marks this time as Summer Shutdown. This is when we close the domes for large scale engineering and maintenance work that cannot be done while we are in nightly operation. Major improvement projects and important maintenance work are outlined below.

Mayall 4-m: Almost all our effort this summer is focused at the 4-m, where we are aluminizing the primary mirror, refurbishing the primary support mechanism and installing a new prime focus mechanism (aka pedestal) for the Mosaic CCD Imager (described elsewhere in this Newsletter). We plan to open shortly after Labor Day for Cassegrain instruments only. Mosaic will be installed and tested during bright time in September. Prime focus will be available in early October, although PF CCD is not scheduled until dark time in November.

2.1-m: A few nagging maintenance headaches will be resolved, specifically to stop the dome from occasionally running away and to repair the cables for the ICCD camera.

Coudé Feed: Beyond the usual "summer cleaning" of the coudé room, the high dispersion setup with camera 6 and the echelle-grism will be re-aligned to achieve uniformly good focus over the field of F3KB CCD.

0.9-m: More lingering nagging maintenance items will be resolved: repair the pulse mixer, refurbish the console cards, repair the high voltage cable, remount the CCD temperature readout, etc. Most of these are of an ongoing nature of dealing with the decades-old Telescope Control System and are intended to restore reliability to this telescope which is operated by observers, who are often frustrated by these niggling little problems.

CCD Dewars: All dewars will be sent to town to be cleaned and evacuated. The CCDs will be flooded to improve ultraviolet sensitivity and the overall quantum efficiency will be evaluated. The analog-to-digital converters will be upgraded to 16 bits (described elsewhere in this Newsletter) and default detector gains will be set to optimize performance over a given range of astronomical requirements.

Guiders: All guiders and filter wheels will be stripped, cleaned, lubricated, and adjusted. This is the time when we track down those frustrating problems that never get enough time to solve during the observing season.

Computers: The operating systems on the Sun computers used for data acquisition and reduction will be brought up to the latest release. IRAF will be updated to v2.10.4 (patch 2) and microcode appropriate to the 16-bit ADCs will be installed in ICE for the CCD controllers.

Bruce Bohannan (for the many in Kitt Peak Operations who do the work)


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