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ART Staff Blog Feed

Ed

October Progress Update

posted by Ed on 13 October 2016

Recently, after a successful service trip to Tenerife, some users with outstanding jobs in the ART queue had images returned. Over the nights of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of October approximately 300 images were taken autonomously.
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Ed

September Progress Update

posted by Ed on 12 September 2016

Work continues on trying to re-establish observations with the Autonomous Robotic Telescope (ART). On the night of Thursday 8th September a test run was carried out and a number of jobs were completed with Galaxy Cam. The images returned appeared to be of good quality, however further work is required on the alignment system of the telescope.

We hope to establish a fuller service soon and a service visit is scheduled for the end of September to aid in this effort.
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Ed

August Progress Update

posted by Ed on 28 July 2016

A team have visited the Teide Observatory to perform maintenance on the Autonomous Robotic Telescope (ART) and oversee the construction of the new facilities that will form the OpenScience Observatories.
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Dan

Maintenance Trip June 2014: Mount rebuild timelapse

posted by Dan on 11 June 2014

Each summer we re-grease the Ra and Dec drives on the mount as a part of our routine maintenance. This year we decided the make a timelapse video of the process to show everybody what we get up to on the maintenance trips.
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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.



Dan

Maintenance Trip Feb 2014 Part 2: More snow.. and a drive around the Observatory

posted by Dan on 24 March 2014

This blog post is going to be a bit of a cheat as I haven't had time to prepare something more substantial. This week I've got some videos for you. On the last trip we filmed the whole of our commute up the mountain in the snowy conditions. I have made a couple of short clips which I hope you all enjoy.
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Dan

Maintenance Trip Feb 2014 Part 1: Ice, snow and operating the telescope

posted by Dan on 11 March 2014

We have now returned to the UK from our first maintenance trip of 2014. The maintenance trip will be memorable for us for a number of reasons. A lot happened on the trip so instead of a single round up post, I will spread the news over a number of posts in the coming weeks.
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Dan

BRT Observatory Link Down.. Update

posted by Dan on 13 December 2013

This morning we were greeted with further network failures affecting the IAC weather station and their on site web cameras, however as the day have progressed we have seen a number of systems coming back on-line.
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Dan

BRT Observatory Link Down..

posted by Dan on 13 December 2013

At roughly 20:30 on the 11th of December we lost communication with the BRT observatory at the Observatorio del Teide, shortly after at around 21:05 we lost communication with our night sky webcam.
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Dan

Ra trailing update

posted by Dan on 18 September 2013

Trailing in the Ra axis was a noticeable problem with our images in the weeks leading up to the hardware failures in Tenerife. This post talks about the diagnostic work and repairs that were completed to resolve this issue.
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