Local operation documentation

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Telescope and Camera Setup

Opening the Dome

1. Check to make sure the Dome Opening and Dome Rotation power switches are ON, located to the right of the computer desk. (These should always been on.)

2. Look for the box with the two levers along the bottom edge of the dome. If they are in an unreachable place, use the Dome Rotation lever to the right of the computer desk to rotate the dome.

3. First open the top part of the dome by pushing the TOP lever to the RIGHT. This will stop automatically once it is completely opened. It can be stopped before completely opened by pushing the lever back to the center 'off' position.

4. Once the Top lip has cleared the Bottom, push the BOTTOM lever to the LEFT. This needs to be manually stopped by pushing the lever back to the center 'off' position. You will hear the motors straining once it is fully opened.

Powering up the Telescope

5. Remove the cover for the large mirror.

6. Turn ON the power on the black uninterruptible power supply (UPS) at the base of the telescope. The green power light will flash for a few seconds; wait until it glows steady green before proceeding.

7. Turn ON the power for the telescope on the black box in the base. Listen for 2 beeps.

Software Setup and Connections

If not already on, start up the PC that operates the telescope.

Log in to the PC as user "telescope".

13. Open TheSky6.

14. Establish link to telescope by clicking green telescope icon in the top shortcuts menu

15. Allow telescope to home if it wasn't done manually with the joystick. Listen for 3 beeps.

16. Open ddwcp.

17. Wait until program connects with the dome then check "Slave to Telescope." (Don't do this if you don't want the dome to move with the telescope, i.e. if you want to take dome flats.)

18. Open MaximDL Pro 5.

19. Click "Toggle Camera Control" (Ctrl + W) in the top shortcuts menu.

20. Camera 1 should read "Apogee U16M".

21. Select Camera 2 from Setup Camera, or "No Camera" if there isn't one connected.

22. Click "Connect."

23. Directly below "Connect", turn on Coolers. Set cooler set point with the Cooler button specific to each camera.

24. Click "Toggle Observatory Control" (Ctrl + T).

25. In the Setup Tab, check that under Telescope it reads "TheSky-controlled telescope" and that Focuser 1 reads "RCOS TCC".

26. Click "Connect All".

27. The telescope can be controlled under Observatory-Telescope (nudging or setting coordinates), set to specific objects through Observatory-Catalog, or moved through TheSky. Manual control of the telescope is possible with the joystick, but will confuse the dome.

Taking Images in MaxIm DL

1. Wait until sensor temperature reaches set point under Camera Control-Expose.

2. Under Camera Control-Expose, set exposure time and frame type for a single frame. Hit start. Single frames must be manually saved and will be deleted once the next image is taken.

3. Use Autosave to take multiple images. Enter an autosave file name. Use different Slots for images with different settings. Click slot number buttons, and select exposure type and a suffix to distinguish between multiple slots. The Repeat box controls the number of frames taken.

4. The image save path can be found under Options, on the right of the box. Images should be saved to the Z:\ drive, and Auto-Subfolder should be checked to save images by date taken.

5. Click Save and make sure to hit Start under the Expose tab.

6. If two cameras are connected, switch between them by selecting camera 1 or 2 next to the binning information.

Disconnecting and Shutting Down the Telescope


1. Under Observatory-Setup, click Disconnect All.

2. Under Camera Control-Setup, turn coolers OFF and Disconnect.

3. Close Maxim DL.

4. In TheSky, home the telescope under Telescope-Options-Find Home (or double click joystick) and then terminate the link with telescope by clicking the red telescope icon.

5. Make sure the dome is Homed, then exit DDW and hit close when the Pin settings window pops up.

Powering down the Telescope

7. Turn OFF the telescope at the base.

8. Unplug the transformer and USB hub power supply.

9. Re-cover the mirror and any eyepieces.

Closing the Dome

11. Close the Bottom by pushing the BOTTOM switch to the RIGHT. Return the lever back to the center 'off' position once it is fully closed.

12. Close the Top by pushing the TOP switch to the LEFT. It will automatically stop when fully closed.

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