Tools for Automated Observing
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  System requirements
Getting Started
  Modeling slew times
  Measuring camera
  download times
  Specifying filter
  names and numbers
  Modeling the local
  Creating user profiles
  Initializing target
  Customizing the
Daily Operation
  Starting observatory
  control software
  Updating target
  Generating a list of
  potential targets
  Preparing a list of
  observation requests
  Running the
  Starting scheduled
Image Acquisition with
the MU Script
  Customizing the
  File locations and
  telescope name
  Station data
  Basic parameters
  which determine
  script behavior
  Dome parameters
  Filter parameters
  Safe telescope
  Image compression
  CCD camera
  Telescope slewing
  Telescope slew
  Pointing corrections
  Timing tolerance/
  waiting times
  Bias frame
  Dark frame
  Flat field
  Image shifts for
  binned calibration
  Weather station
  Focus parameters
    Page 1
    Page 2
  Aiming exposure
  Starting MU
  Sequence of events
  during an observing
  run using MU
Timing Refinement
  Collecting timing
  Analyzing timing
  Adjusting the
  empirical timing
Other Tools
  Slew time
  measurement script
  Minor Planet Checker
  query script
  Regression program
  Software updates
  License agreement
  Contact the author
Image acquisition with the MU script

Customizing the MU script (continued)

Image shifts for producing binned calibration files

shiftX1 = 3                           ' These 4 parameters may need to be adjusted to obtain a
shiftX2 = 1                           ' perfect alignment between the 2x2 binned calibration files    
shiftY1 = 1                           ' produced by this script and 2x2 binned images taken at the
shiftY2 = 0                           ' CCD camera. Their values are usually small integers.
                                      ' ShiftX1 and ShiftX2 are horizontal shifts, while ShiftY1
                                      ' ShiftY1 and ShiftY2 are vertical shifts

The 2x2 binned calibration files produced by MU are not taken with the CCD camera; instead, they are generated by averaging the values of 2x2 blocks of adjacent pixels in the full resolution calibration files (which are taken with the CCD camera). This procedure was adopted because there is often not enough time during twilight to take a sufficient number of both binned and unbinned calibration files.

This section contains four integer parameters shiftX1, shiftX2, shiftY1, and shiftY2 which may need to be adjusted to obtain a perfect alignment between the 2x2 calibration files produced by MU and 2x2 binned images taken at the CCD camera (which will be calibrated using the binned calibration files produced by MU). The values of these four parameters are usually small integers. shiftX1 and shiftX2 are horizontal shifts, while shiftY1 and shiftY2 are vertical shifts.

The recommended method to determine the values of the four shift parameters is described below:

  1. Take a 2x2 binned dark frame manually with MaximDL CCD, and save it to disk.

  2. Configure MU.cfg to take dark frames immediately after the script is started (without waiting until sunset), using the following parameter values:

    Parameter Value
    checkForSunUp False
    openDomeWhenSunDown False
    closeDomeOnCompletion False
    takeBias False
    takeDarks True
    nDarks 1
    takeFlatsAtSunset False
    takeFlatsAtSunrise False

  3. Start the MU script (click here for detailed instructions).

  4. After MU finishes taking and processing dark frames (at that point the ACP console will say that the script is waiting for a target list), interrupt it by clicking the Alert() button in ACP, and answering the questions which will follow by clicking the No button.

  5. Open the binned dark frame Dark_bin2_0001.fit (created by MU) in MaximDL. This dark frame will be in a subdirectory named \yymmdd_telescopeName\dark or \yymmdd\dark inside directory obsdir. Here yymmdd represents the UT date of the next nighttime observing run and telescopeName is the telescope's name as defined in parameter telescopeName.

  6. Open the binned dark frame you took manually in MaximDL.

  7. Compare the location of hot pixels or other recognizable features which are fixed on the CCD detector between the two dark frames. If they coincide on the two dark frames, your values of the four shift parameters in MU.cfg are correct. If they do not coincide, change the values of the shift parameters in MU.cfg, delete the subdirectory containing the dark frames produced by MU, and go to Step 3 above. Note that if the features in the two dark frames are located on the same columns (rows), then the values of shiftX1 and shiftX2 (shiftY1 and shiftY2) are correct and need no further adjustment.

Weather station parameters

weatherStation = True                 ' True to use a weather station
weatherStationType = "generic"        ' The only currently supported station is "generic"; see the    
                                      ' TAO documentation for details
weatherReportFile = "c:\wxReport.txt" ' File containing latest weather report
maxReportAge = 10.                    ' Maximum acceptable age (min) for the latest weather report

  • weatherStation. Set this parameter to True if there is a working weather station connected to one of the computers on the observatory's local network, otherwise set it to False. The weather station is supposed to provide air temperature measurements which are used to focus the telescope when a focus-temperature relationship has been established.

  • weatherStationType. This parameter specifies your weather station model. The only currently supported weather station model is a "generic" one (specified as generic), which produces temperature reports in the format described below. Please contact the author about adding support for other weather stations.

  • weatherReportFile. This is the full path of a text file containing the latest weather report produced by the weather station. This file is supposed to be frequently updated by some external program which reads the weather station output. For the "generic" weather station, the first line of the weather report file should provide the temperature in the format


    The temperature information may be located anywhere on the first line of the weather report file. The weather report may also contain other information, such as the values of other meteorological variables.

    Note: Even if your weather station is not "officially" supported in MU, its output may be read by the script, provided you have software which is capable of producing report files where the temperature is provided in the above format. Please contact the the author about adding support for other weather report formats.

  • maxReportAge. This parameter specifies how old (in minutes) a weather report may be in order to be considered "current". Reports which are older than maxReportAge will be ignored by the MU script.

Previous: Flat field parameters
Next: Focus parameters

© 1999-2004 Paulo Holvorcem