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Michelle status in 2008A

After a period of engineering work to improve the thermal conduction between the cold finger and array, Michelle went back on the telescope for a short period in late April/early May. No queue observations were performed during that time, which was instead used to test an improved method of timing the application of guide corrections while chopping. That work was aimed at removing the chop direction elongation that had previously been seen in Michelle images, and has considerably improved the image quality. Optical aberrations (astigmatism, etc.) are still visible in some images and characterisation of the variability and severity of these effects is ongoing. We hope that engineering effort will be available at some point to further improve the quality of images taken with Michelle.

Michelle has been on the telescope again since early June, and spectroscopy and photometry queue observations are being executed. The instrument is expected to remain in use until the M1 coating shutdown in mid July.