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    Talking Success with observatory automation

    I work for a UK university observatory, and currently we have 7 domes housing optical telescopes. The downside is that even though our students and the public use the observatory often, it's rarely in use past 10/11pm. As the observatory is also some distance from the University itself (to escape the lights of nearby towns), our students aren't all able to get up to the observatory by themselves to do all-night observing.

    Enter ACP...

    We've got it going on one telescope initially, the major hardware addition being the dome controller. It's been up and running for a few months, naturally a few bumps along the way as to be expected, but getting it going in the first place was a lot smoother than I'd imagined.
    The last few nights have been lovely and clear and the telescope's pretty much running on its own now with us just keeping the queue topped up via the web.

    On one night we recorded the dome webcam to make a timelapse:
    CKT timelapse

    Some clouds in the beginning but once it gets going it doesn't stop. It's still in the testing phase and the telescope's never been so productive, we're getting more images than we know what to do with!

    Of course we're hoping to upgrade the other domes in the future, the staff and students alike are very excited.

    A big thank you Bob! This is a big milestone in the observatory's history.


    David
    Last edited by Bob Denny; Oct 22, 2012 at 20:01. Reason: Update video link (rbd)

 

 

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