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Proceedings Paper

The automated planet finder at Lick Observatory
Author(s): Matt V. Radovan; Kyle Lanclos; Bradford P. Holden; Robert I. Kibrick; S. L. Allen; William T. S. Deich; Eugenio Rivera; Jennifer Burt; Benjamin Fulton; Paul Butler; Steven S. Vogt
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Paper Abstract

By July 2014, the Automated Planet Finder (APF) at Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton will have completed its first year of operation. This facility combines a modern 2.4m computer-controlled telescope with a flexible development environment that enables efficient use of the Levy Spectrometer for high cadence observations. The Levy provides both sub-meter per second radial velocity precision and high efficiency, with a peak total system throughput of 24%. The modern telescope combined with efficient spectrometer routinely yields over 100 observations of 40 stars in a single night, each of which has velocity errors of 0.7 to 1.4 meters per second, all with typical seeing of < 1 arc second full-width-half-maximum (FWHM). The whole observing process is automated using a common application programming interface (API) for inter-process communication which allows scripting to be done in a variety of languages (Python, Tcl, bash, csh, etc.) The flexibility and ease-of-use of the common API allowed the science teams to be directly involved in the automation of the observing process, ensuring that the facility met their requirements. Since November 2013, the APF has been routinely conducting autonomous observations without human intervention.

Paper Details

Date Published: 22 July 2014
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 9145, Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes V, 91452B (22 July 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2057310
Show Author Affiliations
Matt V. Radovan, Univ. of California Observatories (United States)
Kyle Lanclos, Univ. of California Observatories (United States)
Bradford P. Holden, Univ. of California Observatories (United States)
Robert I. Kibrick, Univ. of California Observatories (United States)
S. L. Allen, Univ. of California Observatories (United States)
William T. S. Deich, Univ. of California Observatories (United States)
Eugenio Rivera, Univ. of California Observatories (United States)
Jennifer Burt, Univ. of California Observatories (United States)
Benjamin Fulton, Institute for Astronomy, Univ. of Hawai'i (United States)
Paul Butler, Carnegie Institution of Washington (United States)
Steven S. Vogt, Univ. of California Observatories (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9145:
Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes V
Larry M. Stepp; Roberto Gilmozzi; Helen J. Hall, Editor(s)

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