Saturday, May 6, 2017

Documentation, Guiding, and "Point Telescope Here"

After a few rainy nights, the clouds cleared and another opportunity came up to knock off a few tasks. I arrived the site a little earlier than Jonathan and as I was starting things up, started to produce our "SOP" (Standard Operating Procedure) documentation.  By documenting our startup, operation and shutdown procedures we will ultimately make it easier to train others into using the site - and more importantly have a consistent way of doing things.  This also allows us to document little used procedures to save "head scratching" time when we need to use them again.

So we now have the bones of the Startup, Guiding and also "Point Telescope Here" documentation.

Cats Paw - 40 mins exposure (2 min subs)
The 'PTH' process is one that we were really happy to get working the last time we were set up - this allows us to centre an object in our field, if it's slightly off to one side say, just by clicking the point in the image that we are interested in.  The mount automatically tweaks it's alignment to get your desired target dead centre.

It's not a particularly hard process to get working - in fact when we first did it we were surprised we had taken so long to get it working.  It was so easy in fact that we didn't bother writing down what we'd done.   Needless to say, it wasn't working in the  new setup, and we couldn't quite remember the simple steps we needed to do!!

After requisite head scratching, it was indeed really easy to do - so I did it - but more importantly, I also wrote down how I did it so that next time it will be much faster!

Whilst working on this we also discovered the cause of the guiding woes from earlier in the week - it looks like it was just an extra "calibrate" that might have been needed to fix the problems!  We had guiding working just fine in all the areas we tried.

Since Jonathan had enjoyed the remote operation experience so much, I also improved the monitor setup down in the bunkroom - there are now two bigger monitors to use which makes operation all that much easier.

The other major task completed tonight was another improvement on out polar alignment by doing a few more rounds of drift alignment.  We have got rid of almost all the drift but still see more East/West movement than we are expecting - this possibly needs more investigation (could be just PE) but it's so slow that the autoguider will take care of it fully for now.

There was a little light cloud around so our test imaging wasn't particularly great and we are desperately in need of collimation.  We have found out there is to be some microlensing work to complete next month so the race is now on to get these tasks - along with checking out the filters and focal reducer - knocked off before then.

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