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Proceedings Paper

Off-the-shelf autoguider for McDonald Observatory
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Paper Abstract

A telescope autoguider constructed of unmodified commercially available components for use with the 2.1-m focal reducer at McDonald Observatory is described. The system comprises a thermoelectrically cooled CCD camera with format 384 x 576 pixels, pixel size 23 microns square, readout noise 25 electrons/pixel, and dark current 10 electrons/sec pixel at -35 C; a 50-mm camera lens giving resolution about 1 arcsec/pixel; an IEEE-488 data bus; a MicroVAX 3200 computer workstation; and a serial-to-parallel converter permitting the computer to address the telescope drive system via four trail-rate controls. Also discussed are the top-down C-language programming approach, the data representation, the autoguiding and search algorithms, and ongoing work on the telescope control algorithm. It is suggested that the present system is versatile enough to be applicable to many similar telescopes.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 July 1990
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 1235, Instrumentation in Astronomy VII, (1 July 1990); doi: 10.1117/12.19141
Show Author Affiliations
Timothy M. C. Abbott, McDonald Observatory/Univ. of Texas at Austin (Spain)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1235:
Instrumentation in Astronomy VII
David L. Crawford, Editor(s)

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