First Light!

   We achieved "first light" on 19 Oct 98 (see "Travelogue").  We arrived
with the OSETI camera at about 2 PM; it took us the rest of the afternoon
to mount the camera, route the cables, and write code so that the OSETI
computer and the echelle computer could talk to each other.

   At dusk we were ready for photons.  The focal point of the OSETI camera
needed to be aligned so that our portion of the focus fell on our aperture
when the primary experiment -- the echelle spectrograph -- was accepting
light from the target star.  This took about an hour.  We couldn't find it
at first, using a small aperture (10 seconds of arc), so we made a new set
of larger apertures, and found it quickly with the 15 arcsec aperture.

   At about 8 PM Eastern time we saw "first light."  The system worked!  We
ran the whole night, watching the data pour in as Joe Zajac, Robert
Stefanik, and Joe Caruso observed some 20 stars as part of their radial
velocity study.  That night there was just 1 weak "event" (a "Coincidence"
-- when the camera sees simultaneous flashes in both detectors), on one of
the target stars (we were too excited to write down which one), which is
good news because we don't want to contend with a lot of false alarms.

   We have now been observing for more than 2 years of "production runs",
during which we have made some 17,000 observations of nearly 5,000 separate
target stars.