News 2009 2008
Power outage on 2009-12-01
BKW interrupts the power supply on 2009-12-01 between 13:00 - 17:00.
This outage revealed a left over from the apcupsd configuration in
In order to minimize down times due to restarts of RTS2@miyo the relationship devices/rts2-centrald has been rearranged.
Beside the usual computer system related information Munin will be used to graph the values e.g. obtained from the AAG cloud sensor.
Inspecting focus images visually with rts2_autofocus (2009-11-07)
One can now visually inspect the focus run images with DS9 image per image together with the results of rts2_autofocus. Green circle mark reference objects, these are objects identified on all images, while yellow circles mark objects which matched the reference image.
The DS9 creates a movie out of the acquired images (best seen with
mplayer -xy 2. -speed 0.2 ds9-rts2-autofocus-object-358.mpeg -loop 100
. On this movie you see black and hardly green circles (reference). The radius is the FWHM and the
black numbers are the position of the focuser. One sees clearly that SExtractor identifies two different objects as one. More work to do...
The script rts2-autofocus inculding an extensive man page has been released to the RTS2 repository. In order to produce more reliable fits a first prototype based on CERN's root data analysis package has be realised (see figure on the right).
Comparing the two fits of FWHM and FLUX_MAX, they have a different minimum, it is clear that there is still much work ahaed. Currently the primary aim of rts2-autofocus is to provide an efficient test bed for sorting out bad ideas :-)).
The fit function for FLUX_MAX in the lower figure on the right is a gaussian, for lack of a better one. The upper figure has been fitted with a alpha/(FWHM- offset)**beta function, where alpha and beta are the fit parameters. FWHM(FOC_POS) is calculated based on the fit of the FWHM curve (blue points).
To avoid conflicts using the observatory
talk has been installed. See section Observer's_manual Start for details.
Reading the documentation is promising :-)) to set up a data reduction pipeline.
Initial version of rts2-autofocus.pl (2009-10-11)
Heavily based on Martin Jelinek's work I wrote a first version of the Perl program rts2-autofocus. The aim is to have a configurable auto focuser which reads the relevant
/etc/rts2/* files. Instead of SExtractor's FWHM FLUX_MAX is used. The program is capable to take data directly from the CCD or provide offline analysis of a focus run for various filters subsequently.
Observatory Vermes in the press (2009-10-01)
The article about the Workshop on Robotic Autonomous Observatories in the Journal.
The Observatory is operational again (2009-09-27)
After replacing the main computer and the installation of the FLI devices the observatory is now operational again. The necessary scripts are now installed on miyo.obsvermes.loc and accessible for the user obs. The documentation has been revised and updated. The upper door switch has been reached but it gave no signal.
- pl2303 ttyUSB4: pl2303_open - failed submitting interrupt urb, error -28, follow the thread until the end.
- Therefore the device /dev/stvvideo does not work (ehci related problem)
Later in the evening we could sync the mount with the sky and with a lucky punch (focus position 5000) got an image of M52.
There is now a new INDI driver available for the IP9258 power switch device.
Door end switches interface, FLI@vermes (2009-09-19)
Today we installed the dome door end switches interface (Toradex), the FLI CCD camera und the main computer miyo is now hooked up with all devices.
FLI CCD back, dT= -59.8 deg (2009-09-18)
Measured on the table, cooling: T_amb= 300.62 K (Toradex), CCD_TEMP= -32.562, dT= 62.03, not cooling: T_amb= 300.30 K, CCD_TEMP= 28.5.
The role of the AAG cloud sensor with its built in rain detector is to act as a good/bad weather trigger within RTS2.
APC smart UPS integrated with NUT (2009-09-02)
The integration of the APC Smart-UPS 750 RM on hosts obsvermes, miyo, lukalix and RTS2 is done with NUT.
Davis Vantage Pro integrated (2009-08-30)
The Davis Vantage Pro weather station is integrated into RTS2, a small howto describes the necessary steps.
rts2-xmlrpcd FITS preview available (2009-08-30)
RTS2 supports a preview of FITS file through rts2-xmlrpcd, read the introduction. An example reachable via IPSec or from the Internet, is provided if the rts2-xmlrpcd server is running on host miyo.obsvermes.loc (use not konqueror).
FLI CCD out of order (2009-08-02)
Unfortunately at least the temperature measurement of the FLI Proline PL-16803 is broken.
New main observatory computer (2009-08-02)
Finally we installed the replacement for the old Dell Precision 420 main observatory computer, it is now an Intel Core 2 Duo. We learnt on this occasion that the linux kernel default for a specific serial module is 2. Further details reveals the Serial-HOWTO-16.
Back from Malaga (2009-06-01)
We both participated at the conference Workshop on Robotic Autonomous Observatories, Málaga, Spain, 18-21 May 2009. Many of the presentations are published in the section Program.
A summary can be found soon on the BAA's Instruments and Imaging Section under  as well as impressions from the conference (including posters) and of Lukas' travel from and back to Alicante.
Preliminary RTS2 auto focus data reduction (2009-05-03)
This is the very first attempt to obtain the focus from a series of images. The FWHM have been determined by SExtractor, the fit has been carried out with software from Martin Jelinek (foc, foc_x).
The last measurement of the intersection of the hour axis of the AP 1200 GTO mount with the celestial sphere dates back to 2001-09-30. Since then the elevation became smaller and the actual position was measured on 2009-04-14 to be HA= 166.14 degrees and the north polar distance lambda=137.02 arcsec.
The measurement and calculation remained in principle the same but the data reduction became easier due to mainly two reasons: astrometric calibration of the taken images and due to the Hour axis position calculator.
There is a new release of AAG cloud sensor software, see download location.
A third Alix embedded systems went into operation on the dome serving the SSD 650V inverter (dome door motor) and the AAG Cloud sensor. Taskit's Portux 920T has been phased out. It is planned to display the values of the AAG Cloud sensor on our observatory web server.
The Davis weather station is in operation again. The ISS main board and the temperature/humidity sensor arrived in late January, hm.
We completed a prototype of a cloud sensor based on a Perkin Elmer TPS534 with Oak USB ADC board from Toradex. Included is a demonstration software that records the sky emission to a file (see ).
A first fully working version for the AAG Cloud Watcher is available (see the down load page).
A solution has been developed to measure the hour angle, the direction of the declination axis and the latitude of the hour axis independently. The solution helps
- to set up an equatorial mount with a higher precission from scratch
- to decide independently if the declination axis (of a German equatorial mount) is at the position HA+PI/2 or HA-PI/2
The Astro-Physics AP 1200 GTO mount loses occasionally its position and if the startup procedure isn't followed carefully a collission with the pier is guaranteed. The 3-axes acceleration sensor are available from Toradex.
First composite image (2008-12-24)
First color filter coposite image: B 1200 sec, V 600 sec , R 600 sec, [left, middle], scaled down to 1024x1024 pixels.
First calibrated image (2008-10-23)
The humidity sensor failed if the value approached 95%. Now, the voltage measured at the Weather Envoy ist too low (2.5...2.9 V). The out door devices (ISS) do not work.
The nylon screws which hold the filters were too long and blocked the wheel. They touched the enclosure on the (invisible) rear side. Removed about 1 mm and the problem was gone.
USV in operation (2008-09-26)
The USV is now functional, see reports.
Yearly maintenance (2008-08-30)
RTS-2 Wiki (2008-08-22)
There is now a RTS-2 Wiki for documentation.
It never rains in Vermes
Remote control ended partially when one wasp family decided to build its vespiary beneath the rain collector on the now not self-emptying tipping-bucket.
Workshop on autonomous observatories (2008-07-05)
Data reduction (image pipeline) (2008-06-29)
On the right side a first analysis. Ten frames, each exposed 1000 ms with closed shutter, have been added. In this logarithmic plot a tail on the right side is clearly visible despite it is a small amount of pixels. The main contribution comes from the y lines 857 and 858 (see image below).
Observatory Vermes in the "press" (2008-05-21)
An article titled "Fernsteuerung des Observatoriums Vermes" (remote control of the Observatory Vermes) has been published in the journal Orion (Swiss astronomical society, Schweizerische Astronomische Gesellschaft).
FLI@vermes first light (2008-04-26)
At the observatory any kind and numbers of insects are the native inhabitants - the card board should not allow them to enter the focuser.
SIMPLE = T / file does conform to FITS standard BITPIX = 16 / number of bits per data pixel NAXIS = 2 / number of data axes NAXIS1 = 2048 / length of data axis 1 NAXIS2 = 2048 / length of data axis 2 EXTEND = T / FITS dataset may contain extensions COMMENT FITS (Flexible Image Transport System) format is defined in 'AstronomyCOMMENT and Astrophysics', volume 376, page 359; bibcode: 2001A&A...376..359H BZERO = 32768. / DATA ZERO BSCALE = 1. / DATA SCALE EXPOSURE= 0. / EXPOSURE IN SECONDS HBIN = 2 / HORIZONTAL BIN FACTOR VBIN = 2 / VERTICAL BIN FACTOR DATE = '2008-03-01T08:25:24' / file creation date (YYYY-MM-DDThh:mm:ss UT) END
(Remote) control (2008-02-23)
Murphy's law: the cables of the telescope cameras got caught by the useless hook of the woodden STV frame.
Proof of concept: first remote light (2008-01-13)
The FITS header
CCD-TEMP= 5.22 / CCD Temperature (Celcius) EXPOSURE= 50. / Total Exposure Time (ms) PIX-SIZ = 7.4 / Pixel Size (microns) BINNING = '(2 x 2) ' / Binning HOR x VER FRAME = 'Light ' / Frame Type DATAMIN = 0. / Minimum value DATAMAX = 13855. / Maximum value INSTRUME= 'SBIG STV' / CCD Name DATE-OBS= '2008-01-13T18:49:42:' / Observing date (YYYY-MM-DDThh:mm:ss UT DATE = '2008-01-13T21:43:19' / file creation date (YYYY-MM-DDThh:mm:ss UT)