Initializing target databases (continued)
Initializing the fixed object database
If you intend to observe stationary targets (stars, galaxies, minor planet/comet
search fields, etc.), you may take this opportunity to add them to the fixed object
database (you may also choose to add them later, when you
update the fixed object database). You may import
stationary targets from your own catalog files, provided that they satisfy
the following conditions:
- The catalog files are plain text files.
- The catalog files contain one record (object) per line
- The target name, right ascension, declination, and (optionally) magnitude
information in the catalog files are situated in fixed columns, and have
a definite format (e.g., hh mm ss.ss for right ascensions)
An example catalog file would be
Star 1 14 45 28.9 -05 38 42 6.5
Star 2 23 59 17.4 +89 57 38 12.5
Star 3 06 15 38.0 -05 19 51 18.5
This file (catalog_example.txt) is available in
directory TAO\targets. Each record gives (from left to
right) the target name, right ascension, declination, and magnitude.
To import the above file to the fixed object database, you need to describe
the format of each catalog record in a format description file, whose
contents are illustrated below:
Starting column: 2
Format (hh.hhhhh, hh mm ss.ss, hh mm.m,...): hh mm ss.s
Starting column: 11
Format (sdd.dddd, sdd mm ss.s, sdd mm ss,...): sdd mm ss
Starting colunn: 22
Format (none, mm.m, mm.mm, mm): mm.m
Starting column: 34
Priority code: K
Default user: PRH
Remove old targets with same priority code? (yes/no) yes
This file (format_example.txt) is available in
directory TAO\targets, and may be used as a template
to create your own format description files. The various options which may be
specified in a format description file are explained below:
- Designation. This is the target name. You
need to specify the column at which the designation begins
(Starting column) and the number
of characters in the designation field (Length).
- Right ascension. This is the J2000.0
target right ascension. You need to specify the right ascension
format (supported formats are
hh.hh, hh.hhh, hh.hhhh, hh.hhhhh, hh.hhhhhh,
hh mm, hh mm.m, hh mm.mm, hh mm ss, hh mm ss.s,
hh mm ss.ss, hh mm ss.sss)
and the column at which the right ascension field begins
- Declination. This is the J2000.0
target declination. You need to specify the declination
format (supported formats are
sdd.d, sdd.dd, sdd.ddd, sdd.dddd, sdd.ddddd,
sdd mm, sdd mm.m, sdd mm.mm, sdd mm ss,
sdd mm ss.s, sdd mm ss.ss)
and the column at which the declination field begins
- Magnitude. This is the target magnitude.
You need to specify the magnitude format (supported
formats are mm, mm.m, mm.mm; if your catalog does not
include magnitude information or you do not want to import the magnitude
information, set this option to none) and the column at which
the magnitude field begins (Starting column).
- Priority code. This is a single-character
code which will appear in front of the target name in the
lists of potential targets.
It may be used to identify the targets imported from different catalogs,
or which are of interest to different users.
- Default user. This is a 3-character
user identification code which will appear in the list of observation
requests which is automatically generated when program addFixedTargets
is executed to import a new catalog file to
the fixed object database (see below for details).
- Remove old targets with same priority code?
If this question is answered with yes, any
targets in the database which have the same priority code specified in this
format description file will be removed from the database when
program addFixedTargets is executed to import a new catalog file to
the fixed object database (see below for details). This feature is useful
for observers (such as supernova or minor planet/comet searchers) whose
stationary targets of interest may change completely from one night to the next.
By removing old targets with the same priority code, one prevents the
cluttering of the fixed object database with targets which are no longer of
To import a catalog file into the fixed object database, you may use program
addFixedTargets, which is located in the TAO\targets
directory. Open a DOS window (Command Prompt) and cd to the
TAO\targets directory. To review the command line options
for program addFixedTargets, type the command
This will print the following help information:
addFixedTargets, Version 2003-09-19
(C) Paulo Holvorcem 1997-2003. All rights reserved.
Licensed to T. Brahe
Usage: addFixedTargets [-f formatFile] [-c catalogFile] [?]
Command line options:
-f formatFile Specifies the file which describes the format of the object
catalog to import into the local fixed object database. If
omitted, file format.txt will be used.
-c catalogFile Specifies the catalog to import into the local fixed object
database. If omitted, file catalog.txt will be used.
? Prints this help information.
To import the above example catalog into the fixed object database, one would
then type the command
C:TAO\targets\>addFixedTargets -f format_example.txt -c catalog_example.txt
After the program executes you will see a screen message like this:
Log written to catalog_example_addFixedTargets.log
Scheduler input file written to catalog_example_addFixedTargets.stg
The log file will contain a detailed record of the data import operation, including
error messages. The scheduler input file is a plain text file which may be
used as input to the TAO scheduler. It
contains observation requests for each target in the catalog processed by
program addFixedTargets. The scheduler input file resulting from processing
the above example catalog and format description files would contain these
Star 1; PRH
Star 2; PRH
Star 3; PRH
These requests would be scheduled using the default preferences specified in
the user profile for user PRH (the user specified in the format description file).
Both the log file and the scheduler input file will be found in directory
Note: All right ascensions and declinations handled by
TAO must be referred to the equator
and equinox of J2000.0. It is assumed that the telescope is able to point with
sufficient accuracy when it receives J2000.0 target coordinates.
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Next: Initializing the moving object database
© 1999-2004 Paulo Holvorcem