Hannah Twigg-Smith was born in Kainaliu, Hawai‘i, and raised in both Kona and Waimea. She graduated from Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy in 2014 and is currently a member of the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering class of 2018. Hannah is pursuing a degree in Engineering with Computing with a specialization in Human-Computer Interaction. After graduation, she plans to continue her education and pursue a master's degree in Computer Engineering. In her spare time, Hannah enjoys reading, photography, and video games.

Home Island: Big Island
High School: Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy
Institute when accepted: Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

MOIRCS Focusing Program Upgrade

Project Site: Subaru Telescope
Mentor: Russell Kackley

Project Abstract

One of the Subaru Telescope’s instruments, the Multi-Object InfraRed Camera and Spectrograph (MOIRCS), utilizes a number of hard-to-maintain computer programs to determine the best-fit focus configuration. The purpose of this project was to rewrite the MOIRCS best-fit focusing programs in Python in order to make them less confusing and easier to maintain, and to also integrate the programs into the existing Gen2 system, which is the software used to control the telescope. To do this, the original programs were analyzed and the base functionality was translated to Python while excluding parts deemed unnecessary. The new programs make use of Python libraries such as Astropy, MatPlotLib, and SewPy, which allow them to achieve the same result as the original programs faster and to produce cleaner-looking graphs. The best-fit focusing programs were reduced from nine scripts to two scripts, using one intermediate pickle file to store data. After being rewritten, the programs were formatted in such a way that they could interface with the Gen2 system directly in the form of a plug-in, using the format of existing plug-ins as a framework. Integration of the MOIRCS focusing programs into the Gen2 system allows astronomers easier access to the plug-in that ultimately returns a best-fit focus suggestion that helps astronomers decide what value to use to focus the telescope.