In graduate school, I helped test and observe with MAESTRO, a high-resolution optical echelle spectrograph for the MMT. This work was under the guidance of instrument scientist D. Kiminki. I was involved with engineering runs in Feb. and May 2013, and in the lab prior to these runs, we installed a new slit baseplate (mount), and also repurposed old slits – removing them from their old holders with alcohol and fixing them to their new holders under a microscope – and properly aligned them with the instrument optical path. We realigned the injection optics, which were removed for the redesign of the slit baseplate, by iteratively adding/removing plastic shims and taking test images. Before our May 2013 telescope run, we verified with a microscope the alignment of four new slits in their holders. I also supervised the construction of a lighter, more easily removable nose-cone for the science camera, and new thin-metal baffles for around the guide camera and the injection optics. These were utilized during identification and tape-up of light leaks in a dark room.

For both of the MMT/MAESTRO runs in which I was involved, we conducted tests of flexure of the instrument with elevation and rotation, spectrograph focus, and target acquisition (alignment of guide camera with reflected slit light, maximum faintness of target). Our May 2013 run also served as science verification time. I planned/gathered observations from observers, ordered/prioritized the observations based on conditions and what could dually serve as engineering data (set up a queue), and conducted most of the observations. For the last two of four nights, I was the single instrument scientist present at the telescope; I collected calibration and engineering data during the days, and observed science targets and troubleshot during the nights.

You can read more about MAESTRO here.        

Above: Instrument Science Dan Kiminki (right) and me (left) mounting MAESETRO at the MMT. Below: Dan and me cabling up MAESTRO.

Below: MAESTRO mounted on the MMT, from the underbelly of the telescope (which is titled up).