Changes between Version 1 and Version 2 of HowTo


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Timestamp:
Aug 25, 2021, 1:51:03 PM (15 months ago)
Author:
holtz
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  • HowTo

    v1 v2  
     1Running a remote observatory entails some risk; the situation with TMO is not the same as with remote
     2observations at APO, where there is an observing specialist that keeps an eye on the telescope and weather.
     3Please be conservative with TMO.
     4
     5Note that these directions are related to interactive observing. The observatory also has a robotic observing mode, which may be preferable to use for scientific and other applications.
     6
    17== Issues ==
    28Running a remote observatory has its own set of issues. If you notice any issues with TMO while operating please notify Jon and Zach via the email alias issues@astronomy.nmsu.edu so that we can address it.
    39
    4 If there is an immediate issue that presents potential danger to the telescope, call Zach (TA's should have Zach's phone number).
     10If there is an immediate issue that presents potential danger to the telescope, call Zach (TA's should have Zach's phone number) or Jon.
    511
    612== Lat and Long ==
     
    1420Weather Underground - https://www.wunderground.com/hourly/us/nm/las-cruces
    1521
    16 Please recall that you are using a remote observatory and are not physically present at the dome/telescope. And it takes a significant amount of time to get to the telescope. Please keep this in mind when checking the weather for the night. If, for example, the weather becomes unsafe and the dome refuses to close this could cause serious damage. 
     22Please recall that you are using a remote observatory and are not physically present at the dome/telescope. It can take a significant amount of time to get to the telescope. Please keep this in mind when checking the weather for the night. If, for example, the weather becomes unsafe and the dome refuses to close this could cause serious damage.  Don't use the facility if there is a significant risk of precipitation.
     23
     24If for some reason the dome does not close, position the telescope in the stow position to keep potential precipitation from reaching the mirror. Position the dome so that it points in a different direction than the
     25telescope to make sure sunlight won't go through the telescope. If that's not possible, position the telescope to be pointed somewhere where the Sun can't be (i.e., at high declination).
    1726
    1827== Connection Information ==
    1928You can connect to TMO's computer via VNC Viewer - tmo.nmsu.edu - Jon and Zach have have the password for this connection.
    2029
    21 Some times the connection can be slow and there is not immediate feed back when you press a button. Only press a button once.
     30Some times the connection can be slow and there is not immediate feedback when you press a button. Only press a button once.
    2231
    2332'''Please Note''' - VNC uses port 5900 to connect to a computer. If too many people are connected at once, this can cause the connection to run slowly. Make sure you disconnect when done for the night. And if someone else is using TMO please limit the number of connections to what is required. Zach will occasionally go through and kick lingering connections on port 5900 (during the day).
     
    3342
    3443== Dome Control ==
    35 The Dome Control is done via ACP (note, '''NOT''' ASCOM Dome Control). In the ACP control box - in the bottom left click the botton - '''Dome Control''' to access the controls. Once you open the dome - it will open the dome slit and then slew to the telescope.
     44The Dome Control is done via ACP (note, '''NOT''' ASCOM Dome Control). In the ACP control box - in the bottom left click the botton - '''Dome Control''' to access the controls. Once you open the dome - it will open the dome slit and then slew to the telescope, so beware! Make sure the telescope isn't pointed somewhere you don't want it to be, e.g., in the direction of the Sun!
     45
     46== Slew to an Object ==
     47Slewing can be accomplished through the ACP program, which provides a deep sky catalog and various bright stars, or through the Scitech telescope controller. The "Nudge" window in ACP allows you to offset the telescope in any direction.
     48
     49To go to an object - in the bottom left of the ACP box, click '''Slew or Sync (catalog)'''. This will bring up an option to allow you to slew the scope to a given object. There are four options:
     50* Coordinates (RA and Dec) : note, however, that ACP does not seem to take J2000 coordinates in the slew window. To slew to coordinates, you may need to use the Sidereal Technologies telescope window Goto tab, with the J2000 box checked
     51* Deep Sky Object : can be entered by name, but note it ispicky about spacing in Messier and NGC catalog '''M 44''')
     52* Major Planet
     53* Alignment Star: set of bright stars, you need to know your constellations to know where they are!
     54
     55== Taking exposures ==
     56You take exposures manually using MaxIm DL, using the Camera Control window (the icon to the left of the observatory icon). Use the Expose tab, where you can set the filter and the exposure time. The science camera is Camera 1, while the guide camera (no filters) is camera 2. The guide camera is mounted on the 6" finder scope and is pointed in about the same direction as the main scope/camera.
     57
     58If you just take exposures using Camera 1, they will be unguided. This is probably fine for most observations. If
     59you wish to try autoguiding, use the Guide tab, click the Track button, and start exposing. If the software cannot find a guide star in the guide camera, it may try to guide on noise and may make the image much worse than without guiding.
    3660
    3761== Scripts ==
    38 There are several scripts (for example, auto focus) which can be very useful. These are located in the ACP box in the top right - click on '''select the script...''' and it'll open a list of scripts that you can run.
     62There are several scripts in ACP (for example, auto focus) which can be very useful. These are located in the ACP box in the top right - click on '''select the script...''' and it'll open a list of scripts that you can run.
    3963
    4064Useful Scripts:
     
    4367- CenterScope.vbs
    4468
     69== Closing Up for the Night ==
     70Make sure that both the dome and the telescope are parked. In the Dome Control window you can simply click "park" and it will tell the dome to go its resting position. In the telescope control box, click "park" and it will do the same for the telescope.
     71
     72Please visually ensure that both the dome and telescope are parked using the IPCam Client:
     73http://tmocam.nmsu.edu:88/
     74(Must be used with a window computer, usually Jon and Zach keep a browser opened with the camera. If it asks you for the password, Jon and Zach can provide it).
     75
     76
    4577== Potential Problems ==
     78
     79When in doubt, consult Zach or Jon and/or stop!
     80
    4681'''Windows Log-In Screen''' -Jon and Zach always aim to keep TMO's desktop logged in. If, when you connect via VNC, you notice that its asking for the windows log-in. Please notify Jon and Zach. This indicates the computer has restarted and Zach will need to investigate "why". Ask Jon or Zach and they will log in.
    4782
    4883'''Bad Telescope Connection''' - This usually happens after the telescope has been sitting for a while without use. If the telescope has a bad connection - you might have to disconnect the telescope in ACP (and possibly MaximDL) and reconnect them. If this doesn't work, you can disconnect everything, then exit out of all the desktop programs then start them back up using the instructions above for starting from an empty desktop.
    4984
    50 '''Dome Stops Following to Scope''' - this usually happens if you are manually operating the telescope and you start controlling the dome separately. Set it to park, then once it stops - you'll be able to set it to home which will move it back to the front of the scope.
     85'''Dome Stops Follow Scope''' - this may happen if you are manually operating the telescope and you start controlling the dome separately. It also may happen because the dome drive wheel starts to slip. If this is the case, the wheel may need physical adjustment, and you will need to stop.
    5186
    52 '''Trailed Images''' - Possible that images become trailed if the autoguider isn't configured. See below for calibration. This can also happen if conditions are poor.
     87'''Dome pointing in wrong direction''' - if the dome seems to be lost, you can try to Home it, which moves it until a sensor, whose position is known, is triggered. You can then Unpark/Unhome the dome and see if things are better. But t also may happen because the dome drive wheel starts to slip. If this is the case, the wheel may need physical adjustment, and you will need to stop.
     88
     89'''Trailed Images''' - Possible that images become trailed if there is some balance issue, which may depend on location in the sky. It also might happen if you are trying to autoguide, but the autoguider isn't working well, perhaps because of a faint guide star or intermittent clouds.  This can also happen if conditions are poor.
    5390
    5491'''Camera Connected but exposure fail''' - If the camera is connected but fails at exposing, you might need to power cycle the camera using tmopower2. It is also possible that FocusMax v4 and MaximDL aren't talking correctly - restarting other applications and reconnecting will fix this.
    5592
    56 == Slew to an Object ==
    57 Slewing can be accomplished through the ACP program, which provides a deep sky catalog and various bright stars, or through the Scitech telescope controller. The "Nudge" window in ACP allows you to offset the telescope in any direction.
    58 
    59 To go to an object - in the bottom left of the ACP box, click '''Slew or Sync (catalog)'''. This will bring up an option to allow you to slew the scope to a given object. There are four options:
    60 * Coordinates (RA and Dec)
    61 * Deep Sky Object (picky about spacing in Messier and NGC catalog '''M 44''')
    62 * Major Planet
    63 * Alignment Star.
    6493
    6594== Calibration of AutoGuider ==
     
    6796https://cdn.diffractionlimited.com/help/maximdl/Autoguider_Calibration.htm
    6897
    69 == Closing Up for the Night ==
    70 Make sure that both the dome and the telescope are parked. In the Dome Control window you can simply click "park" and it will tell the dome to go it's resting position. In the telescope control box, click "park" and it will do the same for the telescope.
    71 
    72 Please visually ensure that both the dome and telescope are parked using the IPCam Client:
    73 http://tmocam.nmsu.edu:88/
    74 (Must be used with a window computer, usually Jon and Zach keep a browser opened with the camera. If it asks you for the password, Jon and Zach can provide it).
    7598
    7699== Image Download ==
    77100Every two hours the data from TMO is transferred to the astronomy server and can be accessed via the web at http://astronomy.nmsu.edu/tmo/
    78101
    79 '''TIP''' - You might want to note what time you do the observations to make finding your .fits file easier. When taken and transferred the images are automatically named "CCD_Image_NUMBER.fit" which is usually not helpful.
     102'''TIP''' - You might want to note what time you do the observations to make finding your .fits file easier. When taken with MaxIm DL,  the images are automatically named "CCD_Image_NUMBER.fit" which is usually not helpful.
     103
     104When taken through robotic mode, the images are organized by program and have more meaningful names.
    80105
    81106