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Proceedings Paper

Modern computer control for Lick Observatory telescopes
Author(s): John Gates; William T. S. Deich; Anthony Misch; Robert I. Kibrick
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Paper Abstract

Poco, short for Pointing Control, is a modern telescope control system for use with the telescopes at Lick Observatory. It is currently in use with the Shane 3-meter and Nickel 1-meter telescopes. It may also be used with other telescopes in the future. The software is designed to be very reliable, accurate, flexible, and full featured while still being very easy to use. It needs to communicate with other systems such as auto-guiders, instruments, remote observing watchdogs, and possible robotic control. The telescopes use motor systems installed in the 1970's. Upgrading to modern servo motors was not practical, so the telescopes use their stepper motors for fine motor control while switching to much larger and less accurate motors for large moves. It requires a variety of techniques to quickly and smoothly reach target locations and maintain tracking. The software achieves these goals, overcoming the significant hardware limitations of these older telescope using mostly off the shelf hardware. This paper will describe the more interesting aspects of the system such as locating objects from catalog coordinates, motor control algorithms, user interfaces, communications between systems, and software architecture.

Paper Details

Date Published: 14 July 2008
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7019, Advanced Software and Control for Astronomy II, 70190C (14 July 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.787995
Show Author Affiliations
John Gates, Univ. of California Observatories, Lick Observatory (United States)
William T. S. Deich, Univ. of California Observatories, Lick Observatory (United States)
Anthony Misch, Univ. of California Observatories, Lick Observatory (United States)
Robert I. Kibrick, Univ. of California Observatories, Lick Observatory (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7019:
Advanced Software and Control for Astronomy II
Alan Bridger; Nicole M. Radziwill, Editor(s)

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