Automation Project Documentation

Created: 07/23/10 by EF
Updated: 10/28/14 by EF

A description of the post-upgrade performance of the telescope is here.

Documentation for the automatic observing system is available here, including a continually updated Primer.

Until recently, observers used the Keplercam CCD camera on the FLWO 1.2m telescope exclusively in "classic mode," on-site or remotely, normally from CfA in Cambridge. The dewar had to be filled and the telescope drives, dome slit, mirror covers and flat lamps had to be activated and de-activated by a person on-site, either the 1.2m observer or the 1.5m observer.

Given these limitations, we developed a plan to significantly raise the efficiency of observations and the quality and reliability of the 1.2m data. An efficient, reliable autonomous system with high-quality optics is a great improvement for many projects, such as exoplanet transits, supernovae, GRB afterglows, and follow-up of transients from large surveys such as Pan-STARRS and the MWA.

Our plan started coming to fruition when we received funding from the SI Scholarly Studies Program (PI Falco, Co-Is Fabricant, Soderberg and Berger). In a memo of 08/16/10 () we describe the project in some detail.

The autonomous system, dubbed RTS2-F, became operational in July 2011.

Follow this link for a historical record of the RTS2-F project.