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Timekeeping infrastructure for the Catalina Sky Survey
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Paper Abstract

Time domain science forms an increasing fraction of astronomical programs at many facilities. Synoptic and targeted observing modes of transient, varying, and moving sources rely on precise clocks to provide the underlying time tags. Often precision is mistaken for accuracy, or the precise time signals never reach the instrumentation in the first place. We will discuss issues of deploying a stable high-precision GNSS clock on a remote mountaintop, and of conveying the resulting time signals to a computer in a way that permits hardware timestamping of the camera shutter (or equivalent) rather than the arbitrary delays encountered with non-real-time data acquisition software. Strengths and limitations of the Network Time Protocol will be reviewed. Timekeeping infrastructure deployed for the Catalina Sky Survey will serve as an example.

Paper Details

Date Published: 10 July 2018
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 10704, Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems VII, 1070408 (10 July 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2313925
Show Author Affiliations
Robert L. Seaman, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Alex R. Gibbs, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10704:
Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems VII
Alison B. Peck; Robert L. Seaman; Chris R. Benn, Editor(s)

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