AAVSOnet news 2013-02-18
Status of telescopes:
SRO50 is up and running.
BSM_South is up and running.
W30 is up and running. We are in the process of combining the W28, W30, K28 and K35 queues to observe priority targets on W30 until other network telescopes come on-line.
BSM_Berry is on the roof of HQ. It has been polar aligned and first light images have been taken. ACP Scheduler is being installed and configured, and the queues filled, in preparation for initial automation tests, which should occur in a week or so, weather dependent. Its high priority targets will be new transients, along with AZ Cas and b Per. Gary Walker is building an automated enclosure for BSM_Berry; until that is available, a tarp is used to protect the telescope and needs to be taken off/put on every night.
TMO61 has had several nights of automated scheduling. We are still processing these images manually, but will move to the automated pipeline soon. There are a couple of tasks yet to be performed with TMO61. We have the final QSI-683 CCD camera now at HQ, and will be doing lab tests to determine its performance. We will then load 3 filters and send the camera to NMSU. They will take the current UBVRI filters out of the QSI-583 and then mount the new camera and test. If everything works well, the 583 will be returned. Jon Holtzman also has to shim the guide camera outwards for better focus, and limit/home switches need to be added to the mount. We also hope to get a Boltwood cloud sensor for this system for more safety during remote observing.
OC61 was affected by the January lightning strike. The Robofocus control board was damaged and needed to be replaced. The Windows computer just failed, likely due to some transient related to the strike. Otherwise, the news is good. Jerry Foote determined the cause of the mount runaway, and that has been fixed. The University of Canterbury shop has built a peripheral control unit that enables computer-controlled operation of the mirror cover, as well as home switches and absolute rough encoders for the mount, and a new slider for instruments, giving us the option of mounting the eShel spectrograph. This new USB box needs to be incorporated into the ACP scripting software. John Gross has customized the Scheduler to work well in the OC61 environment, and we are ready to run fully automated as soon as the computer is fixed.
All other network telescopes are farther behind in their construction or commissioning; we'll announce when they are available for use.
Those programs that have been accepted by the TAC will be added to the various operational queues next week.