SAM Installation and First Light

The SOAR Adaptive Module, SAM, has been installed at the telescope on August 5, 2009. Next evening, August 6, the AO loop was closed on a bright star briefly seen between the clouds.

In the week of August 3-7, 2009, the SAM instrument was transported to the Cerro Pachon and installed at SOAR. Its first light, planned for the nights of August 6-7, was scrambled by cloudy skies. Nevertheless, it was posible to capture two bright stars heavily obscured by the clouds and to close the AO loop on dancing and frequently disappearing spots. Not bad for such a complex system on its first night!

Now SAM is waiting for clear skies and normal seeing to start the testing the instrument for real.

August 3, 2009: SAM is being tilted on its carriage, to be lifted and packed in the wooden crate. It was transported to the mountain the next day, August 4. After unpacking, the functions of the mechanisms were checked. August 5: SAM hangs on the crane in the SOAR dome, ready to be lifted and installed on the telescope.
August 5: SAM is lowered on the ISB and bolted August 5: Roberto Tighe checks the pupil alignment
August 5: First light through the telescope and SAM: the pupil image as seen from the SAMI port illuminated by the daylight sky. August 6: Photons through the clouds: instantaneous image of spots in the WFS in one of those rare moments when Alpha Cen was not totally obscured. The seeing is exceptionally bad.
August 6: Average image of ~30 WFS frames on Alpha Cen (each normalized by the flux) showing that, despite clouds and seeing, the SAM loop maintained spots centered. August 6: Average image of a 3-rd magnitude star HIP 90946 taken with the HR Camera of SAM in closed loop. The field of view is 3x3 arcseconds.