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Proceedings Paper

Remote observing with the Keck Telescope from California using NASA's ACTS satellite
Author(s): Patrick L. Shopbell; Judith G. Cohen; Larry A. Bergman
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Paper Abstract

As a technical demonstration project for the NASA Advanced Communications Technology Satellite (ACTS), we have implemented remote observing on the 10-meter Keck II telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii from the California Institute of Technology campus in Pasadena. The data connection consists of ATM networks in Hawaii and California, running at OC-1 speeds (51 Mbit/sec) through optical fiber, and high data rate (HDR) satellite antennae at JPL in Pasadena and at the Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu. The ACTS network provides sufficient bandwidth to enable true remote observing, with a software environment identical to that used for on-site observing. In this paper, we demonstrate that while the satellite link introduces a number of difficulties and decreases overall reliability of the system, remote observing is not only feasible, but provides several important advantages over standard observing paradigms. Benefits include involving more members of observing teams while decreasing expenses, enhancing real-time data analysis of observations by persons not subject to altitude-related conditions, and providing facilities, expertise, and personnel not normally available at the observing site. Although the current bandwidth of the public Internet is insufficient for true remote observing, we nevertheless anticipate a growing role for remote observing techniques, particularly as high-speed terrestrial networking paradigms, such as ATM, become more commonly available.

Paper Details

Date Published: 18 September 1997
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 3112, Telescope Control Systems II, (18 September 1997); doi: 10.1117/12.278835
Show Author Affiliations
Patrick L. Shopbell, California Institute of Technology (United States)
Judith G. Cohen, California Institute of Technology (United States)
Larry A. Bergman, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3112:
Telescope Control Systems II
Hilton Lewis, Editor(s)

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