McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope – 3

Adaptive optics

These views within the McMath–Pierce solar telescope enclosure were captured during a guided tour of the instrument, April 20, 2005. By way of orientation, the observation room we visited is near the location labeled “4” on the model of the following photograph or the “Observation Room” of the drawing.

We learned each of the sets of mirrors is considered a separate telescope. The first step in designing the new solar telescope was to determine the optimal image scale. Working on the spectra of the solar granules, on the physical structure of the sunspots and their associated magnetic fields, requires a considerable image size. Past experience has shown that the optimal image of the sun should be approximately 0.91 meters. The highlight of our visit to the Main Observation room was meeting with the technician operating the recently developed low-cost adaptive optics system.

Tip-tilt correction and low order wavefront correction is available with a number of portable optical benches.  These are primarily used with the Main spectrograph and the Solar Stellar spectrograph on the Main telescope, but due to their compact mounting they could be used with other telescopes and instruments in the facility.

This configuration uses a rapidly deformable mirror to correct distortions introduced by the turbulent atmosphere. Using sensors to measure the degree of image distortion, the adaptive optics system adjusts the shape of the mirror accordingly and converts a blurred image into a clear one. The following image demonstrates the correction. “Low-cost” = $25,000 in 2003 US dollars. Under references is a link to a full description of the device by the creator.

A main area of ​​study in the observatory is the structure of sunspots, which are relatively cold, dark spots on the surface of the Sun created by intense magnetic activity.

Some of the most important discoveries made at McMath-Pierce include the detection of water vapor in the Sun, the measurement of kilogauss magnetic fields (thousands of times stronger than those on Earth) outside sunspots and the detection of a natural maser (like a laser, but with a microwave instead of visible light) in the Martian atmosphere.

Over the years and technological advances, the National Solar Observatory has moved its headquarters from Tucson to Boulder, Colorado. The organization abandoned its solar telescopes at Kitt Peak and in New Mexico for a larger instrument in Hawaii, the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope on the island of Maui, which began operating in 1919.

References:
Wikipedia “McMath–Pierce solar telescope”

“Low Cost Adaptive Solar Optics” by Christopoher Kellar

Insights into the architectural design.

National Solar Observatory website..

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope – 2

The Mirrors

These views within the McMath–Pierce solar telescope enclosure were captured during a guided tour of the instrument, April 20, 2005. By way of orientation, think of yourself at the location labeled “4” on this model. This is the only large telescope where humans can view the interior and visually experience the light paths “bouncing” between the mirrors.

McMath–Pierce solar telescope has three heliostats mounted on a 110-foot tower adjacent to a slanted enclosure. The 2.03-meter heliostat feeds a 1.61-meter primary mirror, there are 1.07-meter and 0.91-meter primary mirrors fed by a pair of 0.81-meter heliostats. Here we are inside the slanted enclosure, looking up the shaft to the tower mounted heliostats, readily identified as the three circles, the largest at center (3.51 feet in diameter). The smaller (2.66 feet) heliostats named “East” (on left) and “West.”

Built in 1962, the building was designed by American architect Myron Goldsmith and Bangladeshi-American structural engineer Fazlur Rahman Khan. It was the largest solar telescope and the largest unobstructed aperture telescope in the world. It is named after the astronomers Robert Raynolds McMath and Keith Pierce. Painted white to reflect sunlight to reduce heat accumulation, the enclosure is water cooled to prevent convection currents through the column of air within the slanted enclosure, keeping the air as still as possible along the light path between the mirrors.

In the three photographs following, we face the underground portion of the slanted shaft and (what looks to be) the 0.91 meter (2.99 feet) primary concave mirror. I say that because in some of the photographs a beam of light, to the left of the mirror, can be seen travelling further underground, presumably to the largest primary mirror. As there is only one such light beam, I conclude the west heliostat is inactive.

Here we looking up the slanted enclosure. Look carefully at the first photograph, below, to see reflections on the glass partition. The observation platform was separated from the light paths to maintain the stillness of the air column. The two mirrors of the first photograph are the third mirror, reflecting concentrated sunlight from the 0.91 and 1.61-meter primary mirrors into the observatory rooms. The mirror for the 1.07-meter primary is out of sight in foreground, I believe this set of three mirrors (West heliostats, primary and third) was out of service.

The second photograph, on right, is a close up of the third mirror for the largest primary. A foreshortened, perfectly round light disk is clearly visible.

Here we are inside the slanted enclosure, facing the underground portion of the slanted shaft and (what looks to be) the 0.91-meter primary concave mirror. In the lower right corner is the reverse side of the third mirror for the largest primary mirror, the 1.61-meter.

Reference: Wikipedia “McMath–Pierce solar telescope”
Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Bullet Dodge Series 3

Not quite murmuration

Today, enjoy two videos of shorebirds taking flight at once. Starlings can flock and swarm in clouds of birds, called murmuration. My videos of a shorebird colony taking fright, at something unknown as the beach was empty, are from my IPhone 7.

This is a still image, high resolution, similar to the view of the second video. A repeat from yesterday.

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With a tripod it is simpler to achieve a level horizon….

December 3, 2014 President Obama warned of the coming pandemic and passed along plans and a team to the incoming Trump administration. By December 2019, the pandemic unleashed in China, Trump gutted this capability and, while Pam and I were planning out January 10th Walt Disney World trip, hid the truth from United States Citizens.

We were keeping an eye on China, by January 10th the Chinese communist government was lying, “there is no human-to-human” transmission they told the WHO (World Health Organization). Knowing the truth, our plans for that day would be different.

Click to open video in a new browser tab for better experience and also more information about the context.

Sunrise, January 109, 2020 Cocoa Beach, Florida

Click to open the next video in a new browser tab for better experience and also more information about the context.

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

References:

CNN YouTube, “Hear what Barack Obama said in 2014 about pandemics.”

Daily KOS, “How the Obama administration tried to save us from what Trump is doing right now.”

FOX News, “WHO haunted by January tweet saying China found no human transmission of coronavirus.”

Bullet Dodge Series 2

Shroomed (Happy May Day)

One week before January 10, the dawning of the day photographed here, “the CDC Director Robert Redfield was notified by a counterpart in China that a “mysterious respiratory illness was spreading in Wuhan [China]”. Redfield notified HHS Secretary Alex Azar shortly thereafter, who shared his report with the National Security Council (NSC). According to The Washington Post, warnings about the virus were included in the President’s Daily Brief in early January, an indicator of the emphasis placed on the virus by the intelligence community.” December( and maybe October/November), 2019 through January, 2020: COVID-19 was spreading across the USA as visitors from Wuhan disembarked from planes.

The following images compare IPhone 7 to a dslr mounted on a tripod.

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With a tripod it is simpler to achieve a level horizon….

I heard the word “shroomed” (as a verb) used in Episode 1, Season 6, of Bosch. As in “the Federal Government treats us like mushooms”: grown in excrement and kept in the dark.

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Sunrise, January 10, 2020 Cocoa Beach, Florida

Want to see more? Click me to visit my Florida photography on Getty IStock.

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Reference: the quote is from the Wikipedia article “Timeline of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic in the United States.”

Bullet Dodge Series 1

First of a looooonnnngggg series

One day after my “Sunrise Texture” series as the sun rose on Cocoa Beach I was waiting with the same photographic kit. It was perfect weather for a visit to Walt Disney World, planned for that day: unsettled.

This image couple demonstrates the effect of long / short exposure without using filters. I changed the ISO and F-stop to achieve these effects.

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With a tripod it is simpler to achieve a level horizon….

I turned around to observe the colonies of shore birds…..

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Want to see more? Visit this my “Sunrise Textures” series on Getty IStock.

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Sunrise Texture Series 7

Final Series, Sunrise Completion

Betelgeuse, AKA “Alpha Orionis”, was the first star disk, other than our Sun, measured. One hundred years ago the apparent size of Betelgeuse was then as now 0.003% of the sun. I bring this up because this “red” star at the end of its life cycle, is in the news, being now 40% of its brightness last year.

Betelgeuse is so far away this dimming is 700 year old news, the time it takes for light span the distance. News of our sun is more recent, sunlight informs us of the Sun’s surface from 8.33 minutes ago. Sunlight bursts from clouds to the camera in an instant of a second. In comparison my reactions to capture it are glacial. Sixteen seconds passed since the images of Series 6, time for three exposures at a slowed pace now the sun breaks free from the clouds.

Twelve minutes, fifty four seconds elapsed from the first images of this series. Seventy nine exposures taken with 16 selected moments, these last without the sand mirror.

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A Willet feeds in the new day. This is a species sandpipers, a cousin of the Sanderling of yesterday’s post.

All sixteen Sunrise Texture moments are presented below.. Suggestion, for this series in a larger format, open a separate browser tab for each post. At series end you will then have eight (including the very first post a few weeks ago) landscapes to compare.

Want to see more? Visit this series on Getty IStock.

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Sunrise Texture Series 6

Sunburst

Two minutes pass from Series 5, and not because I have stopped snapping. My routine is to insert a (automated) sequential number into each filename. Using this it is possible to calculate the number of exposures in a series. Since Series 5, 16 were snapped before the first I could use in Series 6. Ten exposures between the first and last of Series 6, during which a minute, twenty eight seconds elapsed..

The sun disk is above the horizon, bursting from clouds.

Ten minutes, eighteen seconds elapsed from the first images of this series. Seventy one exposures taken with 14 selected moments of shining sand mirror, a strong curving return flow.

The small bird feeding, of the first image, is a Sanderling, one of the smallest species of Sandpipers.

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In this second image, the mirror is erased as sand absorbs surf. I needed to show the developing sun burst.

A slide show of these images. This set compares short exposure with open aperture (f 4.5) to a much longer exposure driven by a narrow aperture (f 22) and the lowest film sensitivity of the camera (ISO 50). Suggestion, for this series in a larger format, open a separate browser tab for each post. At series end you will then have eight (including the very first post a few weeks ago) landscapes to compare.

Want to see more? Visit this series on Getty IStock.

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Sunrise Texture Series 5

a paradox

A scant five seconds pass from Series 4, with the sun above the horizon I strive to catch the moment.

The sun disk is above the horizon, shining behind the clouds.

Seven minutes, 34 seconds elapsed from the first images of this series.

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I selected moments of shining sand mirror, a strong curving return flow with a continuing mark of a southeast wind of seventeen miles per hour, with bursts above twenty. Wind, waves, even the rounded particles of sand all created from the energy of the celestial body I am waiting to appear.

A slide show of these images. Suggestion, for this series in a larger format, open a separate browser tab for each post. At series end you will then have eight (including the very first post a few weeks ago) landscapes to compare.

Want to see more? Visit this series on Getty IStock.

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Sunrise Texture Series 4

a paradox

Thirty three seconds pass from Series 3, the high clouds shine less bright, the sun disk now blocked by those clouds on the horizon, the rising sun brings darkness yet a first hint of sunburst.

Seemingly, the first image foam-wave swath will erase the mirror.

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Fifty seconds later, instead of erasure the new water brings clarity.

Six minutes, 39 seconds elapsed from the first images of this series.

A slide show of these images. Suggestion, for this series in a larger format, open a separate browser tab for each post. At series end you will then have eight (including the very first post a few weeks ago) landscapes to compare.

Want to see more? Visit this series on Getty IStock.

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Sunrise Texture Series 3

Gathering Light

You will notice the sky changing, compared to the first set published here , Almost 6 minutes have passed, 4 minutes from the last image from Sunrise Texture Series 2. From behind the horizon, the first rays of sunlight catch the sky undersides. Unseen. the sun disk broaches the horizon.

Working fast, I used the dial to change from aperture-priority to shutter-priority with settings saved from the last use. In this way the duration is only twelve seconds between shots. The sun disk is near to/passed the horizon hidden behind those distant clouds.

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Breaking of a small wave.

A slide show of these images. Suggestion, for this series in a larger format, open a separate browser tab for each post. At series end you will then have eight (including the very first post a few weeks ago) landscapes to compare.

Want to see more? Visit this series on Getty IStock.

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills