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    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Mesa, AZ

    Default ACP Expert Scheduler 8.2a Production Release is available

    ACP Expert Scheduler 8.2a is now available. The 'a' corrects two missing web support files. Thanks goes out to all of the people who provided suggestions, worked with us through bugs, and kept the faith. We really appreciate you all!! The Release Notes tell what has changed since 8.1.


    Release Notes for ACP Expert Scheduler V8.2

    This is a release containing new features, improvements, and bug fixes. Most of this comes from user inputs over the last year and a half.
    Known Limitation: Do not put double quotes in any of the fields when entering data into the Scheduler. The double quotes will cause SQL statements to fail, and in an ugly way.

    Please Note: Due to engineering uncertainty at present and going forward, and weak adoption of VOEvents by the community, the VOEvent Receiver component is now officially deprecated. In the next (major) release it will be removed. We plan to include a new and more modern system for distribution and followup of transient events, though. If this is an area of interest to you please contact us to discuss the future.

    New Features and Improvements

    • Add mode where project completion becomes more important than other factors when deciding what to do. The effect is to cause projects to complete more quickly at the expense of other optimizations (usually it means working farther away from the meridian through higher airmass).
    • Add "park if idle" which will move the scope to a given alt-az position if the scheduler sees that it has no work for the "close if idle" time. No dome/roof need be connected, so this will work in a shared observatory farm scenario. The close/park if idle settings are now also logged at startup, for troubleshooting.
    • The Periodic Autofocus Interval can now be a list of comma separated values. This allows for a variable schedule through the night. The last (or only) value is used for the (rest of the) night.
    • The Rising Plan Delay feature has been improved to start plans before their targets reach the meridian. The White Paper accurately portrays the effect of rising plan delay as it now is implemented.
    • A new option has been added that allows deferring observatory startup until the weather is safe. This inhibits evening (only) panel/screen flats but what the heck. It can be useful in areas of bad weather to prevent needless startup/shutdown cycles. If dawn flats and/or dawn cal frames are requested, they will still be done.
    • The web submission forms now allow CT xxxxx and MP xxxx for comets and minor planets respectively. They are queued as Planet type targets in the Observation.
    • The web Schedule Browser's Observation Editor now fully supports not only J2000 coordiantes but also Planetary (asteroid and comet, plus major planets) input. A "check name/id" button is included to verify the name is int eh MPC database. Also it accepts MPC orbital elements directly.
    • The web schedule browser's editor pages now have popup alerts sod confirm boxes (for deleting) for that are more modern, and also has success popups in the same modern style.
    • It is now possible to import RTML with targets containing count > 1 and interval = 0, yet have separate Observations created and marked back-to-back.
    • The web Image Series form now allows marking a repeated imageset to be entered as separate Observations marked back to back, instead of aggregating into a single Observation.
    • The Online Help from the Desktop Schedule Browser has been edited to stress the use of the web browser interface wherever possible.
    • If #trackon is detected in the Description field of an Observation, and the target is a planetary type, the Observation will be updated to set OrbitalTracking to True before observations start. This is a partial solution for handling solar system bodies in the ACP Expert web interface.
    • A new time overhead value has been added to help those with slow rotators. You can specify your rotator's rate in deg/sec and the schedule will use this to help it guess how long an upcoming Observation might take.
    • The documentation has been reorganized and expanded to help new users and maintainers alike.
    • A new test for the Operator Intervention program has been added to the Scheduler's Utility menu.
    • The production of preview images has been speeded up greatly for large source images.
    • Monitor Mode now works correctly for Fixed-Time Plans, advancing the start time by the monitor mode interval, so the plan runs at the same UTC time each subsequent monitor night. This is clearly not a general solution for arbitrary phasing or for keeping an object at the same alt/az (sidereal advancement).
    • The Messier Marathon generator and info has been updated to March 2018
    • XML exports from the database now have default file names derived from the name of the exported object.
    • The Scheduler will now detect being run "as Administrator" and prohibit this. A popup error appears explaining that it is prohibited, then the scheduler exits.
    • The ACP Sequencer's Web URL Base setting now allows for the entire URL including http:// or https://. This was done to allow https:// link to engine log to be in the emails.
    • Add an HTTP command receiver with which a local program or user can start, stop, and interrupt the Scheduler's dispatcher. See the help on this.
    • Changes between day/night (testing) and normal modes for the real-time scheduler are now logged. Also if the scheduler is started in Day/Night (testing) mode, that is also logged.
    • The web forms for astro-imaging and time-series input have been improved in multiple ways.
    • It is now required to stop the dispatcher before exiting from the Scheduler.
    • Added notation to SampleShutdownObs advising against killing APCC, and instead using Auto-Shutdown in that program.

    Changes and Fixes

    • Fix the response to the "disable aggregation" guiding option in ACP.
    • Fix duplicate file name detection for zipped image files.
    • Best Efforts plans have been clarified in the documentation.
    • Prevent disk SkyFlats from being run if the Sun has descended below the AutoFlat TwilightSkyLo angle. This was resulting in flats being started for dawn, and then waiting all night!
    • Fix #nopreview option so that the time-consuming construction of the preview image in AcquireSupport.TakePicture() is skipped if #nopreview is specified.
    • Fix the engine (SkyMath) so that minor planets can be specified by name > 10 characters (up to 50). Comets are already OK.
    • The filter name in ImageSets is now checked without regard to capitalization.
    • The Plan and Observation lists in the web schedule browser no longer show pending items in the ACT column.
    • A weather-unsafe event during periodic auto focus just before an Observation will now result in weather failure of the observation and the scheduler going to sleep.
    • The web schedule browser's form validation has been corrected in several ways. For example sexagesimal numbers are checked in each of their parts, and looping alerts have been eliminated.
    • If a problem is encountered with the settings file (Scheduler.exe.xml) a recovery from backup is attempted. Each time the Configuration form is closed, the backup file is updated. If the settings file is corrupted and for some reason (??) the backup file has been deleted, then it warns the user and starts with a fresh default settings file.
    • When acquiring a Planetary object via CT or MP, only the object name is put into the FITS OBJECT field now.
    • The engine log reports log levels with the same names as the selector on the main window.
    • Clean up logic for the Operator Intervention executable so that a full path may be specified, and it will look in syswow64 before system32.
    • If the weather server exits, the scheduler will no longer die with a Windows "program stopped" box.
    • Fixed time plans should no longer be left running if the dispatcher is stopped or if the scheduler is exited with the dispatcher running.
    • Improve handling of Fixed Time Plans when they are vetoed by a constraint at the required start time. A veto under these conditions is a failure. Properly mark Observations and ImageSets, and log more meaningful info.
    • The schedule browser Plan and Obs list pages don't show red in the ACT column. Only Running in the Status column shows red.
    • The web Schedule Browser's ImageSet form has been fixed for systems with no filters
    • Bad format email addresses for To or From no longer cause a fatal scheduler crash.
    • Plans with Monitor Mode will no longer be re-queued after their Latest Time, only to be failed for passing Latest time. Now when the Latest Time is passed, the Monitor mode it automatically turned off.
    • If the CurrentLogPath.txt file becomes locked, don't die, just log a message and press on. It is used by the web UI.
    • The test project generator's LRGB mode has been enhanced to generate per-target Projects, with time-block Plans, similar to the requests that the web forms generate. Multiple days may be generated for log-term studies.
    • The RunDetail logs no longer contain Plans completed on past days or Plans belonging to paused Projects.
    • Plan completion emails from a simulated scheduler (not ACP) will no longer contain (broken) links to ACP run logs. There is no ACP!
    • The engine log at Debug level or above starts with a list of the efficiency weights that were selected at dispatcher startup, and any time they are changed.
    • Two places were found where the dispatcher would try to close a dome or roof when Dome Control is disabled (no dome) in ACP.
    • Correct a multi-language bug where simulated times were incorrectly written on Norwegian systems.
    • During multi-day simulation, assure the logs rotate at the next noon after the simulated time at which the dispatcher is started. This used to be based on the simulated time at which the program was started. Wrong.
    • A bad user log folder path will no longer result in an ugly exit with no hint of the real problem. Now it alerts, shows the Config form, then exits.
    • Add and correct some default configuration values set on installation
    Last edited by Bob Denny; Jan 30, 2019 at 22:44. Reason: 'a' release
    -- Bob



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