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ART Staff Blog Feed

Ed

November Progress Update

posted by Ed on 30 November 2016

After last months brief period of observations we are sorry to report that the ART is still unable to perform autonomous observations due to continuing hardware faults.
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Ed

New Request Constructor

posted by Ed on 23 January 2015

The most important part of interacting with the telescope in Tenerife - the request constructor - has just been upgraded. Over one year in development, this latest iteration should be quicker and easier to use, no matter what you are using the telescope to do.
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Ed

New Image Viewer Now Live

posted by Ed on 13 August 2014

I am excited to present the very latest version of our online FITS editing tools, now live on the site for you to use. While other sites either provide a static jpeg or (sometimes) give you a FITS file, which you need specialist software to open, we are unique in offering a simple-to-use interface for editing your data, right in your web browser. Our newest, third generation FITS viewer is going to push the boundaries of what you thought was possible in a web page, and the first stage of the release is now live.
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Ed

Master Dark and Bias Frames

posted by Ed on 5 August 2014

In order to get a good image back from a CCD on the back of a telescope, there are a number of processes you have to put the image through to account for discrepancies and errors. These include applying bias and dark frames as well as flat fielding. We handle these for you automatically, but for those that like to do things by hand we are now producing master dark and bias frames for more advanced users to use.
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Dan

Telescope Operation

posted by Dan on 6 May 2014

Over the last fortnight the operation of the telescope has been somewhat disrupted. This reduction in the capacity of the service has been a result of two unconnected reasons.

Dome code development
The first of the reasons is development of new code to control the dome. Over the last six months we have have made various improvements to the code controlling the dome in an attempt to minimise its impact on images. The dome now attempts to track the mount as it moves in real time through the imaging process. We are hoping to add new code soon which will make the dome aware of the extent to which the dome is obscuring the imaging camera, this will allow the dome to make more intelligent decisions about when it is necessary to rotate to follow the camera.

The changes to the dome code have resulted in a large increase in the amount of communication with the dome, and also have changed the communication from happening in a single thread, to requests coming in from multiple threads. The existing dome control code is thread safe, however the increase in communication appears to now be overwhelming the dome controller; this problem has necessitated a change in the way in which we communicate with the dome. The alterations to the dome control code have required numerous changes throughout the system. Testing and refining of this code has required frequent restarts of the controlserver software. In some circumstances the restart of the controlserver software resets the cool count of the system to zero, this effectively takes the Galaxy camera off-line as it waits to cool again. Whilst this is frustrating, the system does continue to image on the Constellation and Cluster cameras, minimising the amount of lost observing time. I have talked with Chris and believe that we now have a way to indicate on the website when new code development is happening.

Mount pointing errors
We have recently started to have pointing errors with the mount. We are still working to understand the cause of these errors. The system is designed to reject images which have a pointing error in excess of certain predetermined values. Whilst we continue to work on this problem a larger than normal number of the images taken on Galaxy camera will be rejected and discarded by the system. These rejected images are shown in the RTD feed, but their imaging is not recorded in the list of work undertaken in the last night's jobs page; this often makes it looks like the system hasn't done much work in a night.

We have not reached the end of the dome code development cycle, or resolved the mount pointing errors yet. As we move forward with the work we hope to keep you all a bit better informed about what is going on.



Ed

Fun with Domes (PART 4)

posted by Ed on 24 April 2014

The dome pointing algorithm has so far been improved a good amount but there are still some things that can be done; things that require much more than merely tweaking some parameters.
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Ed

Fun with Domes (PART 3)

posted by Ed on 24 April 2014

This is where I start delving deeper into the mathematics behind the dome control algorithms. After all this it was a good week before I stopped having dreams about spherical polar coordinate transforms.
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Ed

Fun with Domes (PART 2)

posted by Ed on 23 April 2014

In my last blog post I talked about how I had started to investigate the positioning of the dome and I had found some areas of the sky where the galaxy camera was being obscured by the top of the dome.
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Ed

Fun with Domes (PART 1)

posted by Ed on 10 April 2014

Over the last week or so I have been doing some investigating into the algorithms that control the positioning of the dome throughout the night. It has been a long journey full of pitfalls and surprises but it might be leading to better dome positioning from now on.
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Chris

Fixed problem with job synchronisation

posted by Chris on 28 March 2014

If you have submitted any jobs over the last few days you might have noticed that some were getting stuck with a status of "New, allocated".

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