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Proceedings Paper

Ultracam camera control and data acquisition system
Author(s): Steven M. Beard; Andrew J. A. Vick; David Atkinson; V. S. Dhillon; Thomas Marsh; Stewart McLay; Mark Stevenson; Chris Tierney
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Paper Abstract

Ultracam is a high speed, three channel CCD camera designed to provide imaging photometry at high temporal resolution, allowing the study of rapidly changing astronomical phenomena such as eclipses, rapidly flickering light curves and occultation events. It is designed to provide frame rates up to 500 Hz with minimum inter-frame dead time and to time-tag each frame to within 1 millisecond of UT. The high data rates that this instrument produces, together with its use as a visitor instrument at a number of observatories, have lead to a highly modular design. Each major service (camera, control, sequencing, data handlers, etc.) is a separate process that communicates using XML documents via HTTP transport, allowing the services to be redeployed or reconfigured with minimal effort. The use of XML and HTTP also allows a web browser to act as a front end for any of the services, as well as providing easy access to services from other control systems. The overall design allows for simple re-engineering for a variety of imaging systems, and is already expected to provide control of IR arrays for the UKIRT Wide-Field Camera project. The instrument has been successfully commissioned on the William Herschel Telescope.

Paper Details

Date Published: 13 December 2002
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 4848, Advanced Telescope and Instrumentation Control Software II, (13 December 2002); doi: 10.1117/12.461354
Show Author Affiliations
Steven M. Beard, UK Astronomy Technology Ctr. (United Kingdom)
Andrew J. A. Vick, UK Astronomy Technology Ctr. (United Kingdom)
David Atkinson, UK Astronomy Technology Ctr. (United Kingdom)
V. S. Dhillon, Univ. of Sheffield (United Kingdom)
Thomas Marsh, Univ. of Southampton (United Kingdom)
Stewart McLay, UK Astronomy Technology Ctr. (United Kingdom)
Mark Stevenson, Univ. of Sheffield (United Kingdom)
Chris Tierney, UK Astronomy Technology Ctr. (United Kingdom)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4848:
Advanced Telescope and Instrumentation Control Software II
Hilton Lewis, Editor(s)

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