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Observatory controlling software

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#1 Lucullus

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Posted 28 September 2020 - 08:59 AM

Hi there,

 

How are the professional control room observatory control softwares different from software products available for amateur astronomer's observatories, like ACP from DC-3 Dreams or MaximDL, apart from the fact that the professional ones are probably custom written and unique softwares?



#2 TMO

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Posted 28 September 2020 - 11:48 AM

The control-room software used by amateur astronomers, controlling both the telescope and the instrument (i.e. camera and filters) is indistinguishable from professional.   Frankly, much of the amateur software is superior.  For example, amateurs control cameras with more real-time processing than is available at most professional observatories.  "Amateur" software offers real-time dark and sky subtraction, and real-time image stacking (accounting for sub-pixel shift and rotation) of multiple images.  Only a few professional observatories offer this processing real-time.   

 

Where the professional win, of course, is in four areas:  1. Aperture size of the telescope (3 to 10 meter) 2. UV and near-infrared cameras, in addition to optical CCDs  3. Outstanding spectrometers (costing $5-$20M)  4. Dark sites with good seeing.  The spectrometers deliver high throughput, high spectral resolution, UV, optical, and IR spectra, and often simultaneous multi-object spectroscopy.  The dark sites (mag 21 per square arcsec) and sub-arcsecond seeing help greatly.   In addition, professional telescope often have adaptive optics to achieve diffraction-limited image quality, down to 0.3 arcseconds.

Professionals also mosaic multiple CCDs to create larger sensors, to allow larger fields of view and sub-arcsecond pixels.

 

Today, amateurs have sCMOS and CCD cameras, along with control-room software, that is every bit the equal of the professionals.



#3 Chucke

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Posted 28 September 2020 - 02:57 PM

Not too different.  A few years ago I had the opportunity to be in the control room for the Keck when they were starting up for the night.  I had a good view of the operator's screens.  Everything on them made sense in terms of what I usually see on my control software.  The only things really different from what we usually see on our amateur software was a graphic showing the collimation status of each mirror segment and some data for the AO.


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#4 akulapanam

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Posted 29 September 2020 - 09:08 AM

Also worth mentioning that several professional observatories in the 1 meter range actually use ACP.

#5 Lucullus

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Posted 29 September 2020 - 03:04 PM

Really? Can you name some?



#6 akulapanam

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 12:27 AM

Sure, 

 

For ACP

 

ESO/SPECULOOS (Search for habitable Planets EClipsing ULtra-cOOl Stars) (4 1 meter RC telescopes) -  (look at the 1:01 minute mark)

Schulman Telescope (32", .81 meter) - https://www.youtube....h?v=ynjnfjt9SeM , http://www.caelumobservatory.com/gallery/m16_32.shtml

Mary Reagan (1 meter) - http://forums.dc3.co...eagan-Telescope , https://de-de.facebo...56617684383000/

Great Basin Observatory (28", .7 meter) - https://forums.dc3.c...es_aic 2019.pdf

University of Central Florida, University of Maine, Cranbrook Institute of Science (20", .5 meter) - http://observatorysy...m/ivoj-kudrnac/

American Association of Variable Star Observatory https://www.aavso.org/apass

 

MaximDL is even more common for professional settings that have budget and aren't doing spectrometry.  TheSkyX is also common, especially with the deployment of Taurus mounts and the MKS4000/5000 (competes with DFM and SiTech) that appear in a couple of larger non Bisque mounts (RRRT at UVA).  Here is a Taurus 600 at MIT http://web.mit.edu/w...nstruments.html




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