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Scripting Documentation

Page history last edited by Joshua Pepper 13 years, 2 months ago


KELT-S Scripting Documentation



The KELT-S telescope is run primarily by two applications sold by the manufacturer of our Mount, Software Bisque.  These applications are CCDSoft, which controls the Camera, and TheSky6, which controls the mount.  Since these are Windows-based applications, the Control Computer runs Windows.  In order to write scripts to automate the telescope operations, we use VBScript, which can talk to both applications, issue commands to them, and manipulate the Windows environment.  Below is an outline of the scripts that we run each night to conduct the tasks.



At all hours, the computer continuously runs the weather extraction script to read data from SALT or SuperWASP weather feeds, saving that data to a file. 

At noon each day, the Almanac Script runs to extract the times of astronomical twilight and dawn for that night, along with the position of the moon.

Each afternoon (3pm local time), the master script is called, and waits until the specified activation time to continue.

At 1 hour before 18 degree (astronomical) twilight, the master script executes the preparation script. Flats and biases are taken, then flats, and the weather is checked. If all looks good, the master script executes the opening script, and then the observation script. If weather is not good, the standby script is executed. The observation script runs through the night. At astronomical dawn, the master script executes the closing script, and then shuts down itself.  Some time after closing, the documentation script is run.



Preparation Script    (Executed once at astronomical twilight)


  • Check status of camera and mount: communication, CCD temperature
  • slew to watch flatfield
  • take 5 darks, and 5 biases, interspersed
  • turn on flatfield lights
  • take 5 flats
  • turn off flatfield lights
  • check that flats and biases are reasonable quality, save quality info
  • check weather file, make sure is current



Opening Script   (executed at beginning of the night of observing)


  • check PLC status, make sure all OK
  • open roof
  • check roof successfully opened



Observation Script    (executed continuously through the night of observing)


  • check that weather is still good 
  • check position of moon
  • determine which fields are currently visible
  • slew to Westernmost visible field and expose
  • slew to next field in Eastern direction not close to moon, if all the way East, slew back to West
  • if weather turns bad, execute Standby Script
  • at middle of night, take 5 darks and biases



Standby Script     (executed continuously through the night of observing when in standby mode)


  • check weather status, call Observation Script if weather turns good




Closing Script      (executed once at the end of a night of observing)


  • Slew telescope to park position (to avoid getting dust or water on lens during roof closing)
  • Slew telescope to point at flatfield
  • take 5 flats, 5 darks, and 5 biases, interspersed
  • park telescope



Documentation Script      (executed once at the end of a night of observing, after the Closing Script)


  • Select quality images, 3 full images and 30 subframes
  • Transfer quality images to Vanderbilt
  • Copy weather and observing logfiles to Vanderbilt
  • Copy full data set from drive 1 to drive 2




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