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Proceedings Paper

Automated scheduling of astronomical observations
Author(s): Lewis R. Jones; J. E. Spragg; B. M. Smith
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Paper Abstract

Astronomers responsible for the planning of astronomical observations are showing an interest in scheduling technology. This interest is related to the increasing cost of acquiring high-quality astronomical data, in terms of the technology of contemporary observing methods, and the human expertise needed to obtain successful results using that technology. Telescope time has always been, and is likely to remain, a scarce resource. Tactical planning to make the best use of the limited time available is now essential, and tools are beginning to appear which help astronomers schedule a set of observations over a number of sequential nights. Such tools are of use to duty astronomers making service observations on behalf of colleagues, as well as helping visiting astronomers make the best use of a short period of stay. The majority of planning programs, such as those inspired by the Hubble Space Telescope, choose to address the longterm scheduling problems rather than offer a shortterm solution that can be modified interactively during the course of observations. The constraints embodied in the development, in conjunction with staff at the Royal Greenwich Observatory, of one such program -- NightWatch are described.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 June 1994
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 2198, Instrumentation in Astronomy VIII, (1 June 1994); doi: 10.1117/12.176785
Show Author Affiliations
Lewis R. Jones, Royal Greenwich Observatory (United Kingdom)
J. E. Spragg, Univ. of Leeds (United Kingdom)
B. M. Smith, Univ. of Leeds (United Kingdom)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2198:
Instrumentation in Astronomy VIII
David L. Crawford; Eric R. Craine, Editor(s)

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