Tom Smith was down at Cerro Tololo instead of at the Fall meeting, installing the APASS system. It is now up and running!
The system had a hard transport to Chile, with mirrors getting misaligned, focusers pushed into the tubes, and cables on camera circuit boards working loose. Luckily Tom is an expert on mechanical things, and with help from Chwy at Apogee, got the cameras working too. The APASS system is in the PROMPT6 dome at CTIO, where Dan Reichart (Univ. North Carolina) and his group also loaned us the use of a Paramount ME for the survey. Tom has regreased gears on the mount to improve its function, and spent the last couple of nights doing polar alignment and developing a pointing model.
Tom took some time-series images for one of the grad students working at CTIO, and then turned the survey schedule on. Last night, 54 survey fields were covered after early evening tests! I am heading down today so that we can continue commissioning tests, get some PR deep imaging, and ensure that the system will work reliably after we leave on November 10.
APASS north is waiting for its ASA astrographs, but otherwise is ready to roll as soon as Tom returns to Dark Ridge Observatory. We're still on schedule for a new data release in January, so stay tuned!