Closed up, telescopin’

We finally, finally, after many hitches, got the optics cryostat closed up. Here is a picture of us flipping the big lid before putting it on:

You may notice two things in that picture – first, I’ve got the funny face of someone taking their own picture with outstretched arm, and second, I haven’t shaved in a week and a half. Beard is growing. :)

Here’s what it looked like inside just before closing:

The shiny wrapping in that picture is a heat blanket that helps the insides stay cold. The copper pipe is a “lightpipe” that we use to send in an optical signal from the outside, through a small hole in the secondary mirror inside this cryostat.

We lowered the lid gently onto the other half and made the vacuum seal, tightened all the bolts and this is what it looked like in the end:

Meanwhile, the night shift crew has been playing with cranes around the telescope, taking off some parts that we’re going to re-do this year. Here’s a picture of the crane swinging into place to take off some shielding. The yellow arm is a “bucket”, which lifts a person up in the air to do work in high places.

Lots of activity, lots of progress! Still cold, though: -24.9F, -47F windchill as I write this…