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Proceedings Paper

Remote use of the SOAR 4.25m telescope with LabVIEW
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Paper Abstract

The SOAR telescope will begin science operations in 3Q 2003. From the outset, astronomers at all U.S. research universities will be able to use it remotely, avoiding 24+ hrs of travel, and allowing half-nights to be scheduled to enhance scientific return. Most SOAR telescope systems, detector array controllers, and instruments will operate under LabVIEW control. LabVIEW enables efficient intercommunication between modules executing on dispersed computers, and is operating-system independent. We have developed LabVIEW modules for remote observing that minimize bandwidth to the shared LAN atop Cerro Pachon. These include control of a Polycom videoconferencing unit, export of instrument control GUI's and telescope telemetry to tactical displays, and a browser that first compresses an image in Chile by a factor of 256:1 from FITS to JPEG2000 and then sends it to the remote astronomer. Wherever the user settles the cursor, a region-of-interest window of lossless compressed data is downloaded for full fidelity. As an example of a dedicated facility, we show layout and hardware costs of the Remote Observing Center at UNC, where instruments on SOAR, SALT, and other telescopes available to UNC-CH astronomers will be operated.

Paper Details

Date Published: 27 November 2002
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 4845, Advanced Global Communications Technologies for Astronomy II, (27 November 2002); doi: 10.1117/12.456615
Show Author Affiliations
Gerald N. Cecil, Univ. of North Carolina (United States)
Adam Crain, Univ. of North Carolina (United States)
German Schumacher, National Optical Astronomy Observatory (Chile)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4845:
Advanced Global Communications Technologies for Astronomy II
Robert I. Kibrick, Editor(s)

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