Start-Up and Close-Down Procedures

START-UP Procedure:

1) Create a new entry in the observatory log. The date, starting time, name of observer(s), initial state of the telescope, and a general description of observations should all be noted. The telescope should be at zenith (directly up) with a yellow cover on top. Attached to the telescope are the DFM slide mirror, filter wheel, and CCD. The dome should be at “home”, as marked by vertical pieces of tape lining up directly below the opening of the dome. Throughout the night, any problems that arise and their solutions should be noted in the observatory log.

2) Open the dome. Levers to open the dome can be found along the south wall. To open the dome, follow directions pasted under the levers, and make sure motor is plugged in before opening. If it is not opening, click here. Also, be sure to return the levers to their neutral positions once their functions have been completed, and unplug the motor once the dome has fully opened.

3) Power up the computer. The power switch can be found on the control panel behind the lockable cover with the key in it, to the left of the CD drive.

4) Note the weather and sky conditions in the Observatory Log. Temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, current sky conditions and the forecast should all be noted. Bookmarks to the Palatine Hill Weather Station, the Weather Channel Forecast, and an infrared satellite image loop of the last 4 hours can be found on the bookmarks toolbar of the Firefox browser. Be careful to note any clouds and any chance of rain over the course of the night.

5) Uncover the telescope. Use the 6’ ladder to remove the telescope cover. It has a Velcro strap securing it to the telescope. Take care not to lean on or otherwise disturb the telescope, as this can ruin the telescope’s synchronization with its point model. For more information, click here.

6) Turn on the CCD, slide mirror, and filter wheel. This step is only necessary if you are taking images. To do so, turn on the power strip sitting on the telescope base. Check to see the green LED on the CCD power source, attached to the base of the telescope, turns on. If not, there is a power switch on the CCD power source to be turned on. You will be able to hear the fan in the CCD as well.

7) Enable motors, drivers, tracking, dome tracking, and auto dome. Switches can be found on the control panel. First move the “MTR Driver Chassis” switch to the up position (If you forget, the system will not function properly – click here). Then “Track”, “Aux Track”, “Drives”, “Auto Dome”, and “Dome Track” should all be moved to the up position. The “external computer” switch has no function. Also check that the red “halt motors” button is not depressed. 


Close Down Procedure:

1) Return the telescope to zenith and the dome to home. To return the telescope to zenith, select the telescope pull down menu and select “movement” from the main window in Telescope Control. In the resulting menu, select the “offset/zenith” tab. On the control panel, move the “track” switch to the down position. Then, back in the movement window in the box labeled “set zenith position”, click “apply”. Finally at the bottom of the window, click “start slew”. To return the dome to home, flip the switch marked “Dome Tracking” to the “Home” position. When the dome stops, a vertical piece of electrical tape directly under the mouth of the dome should line up with a piece of tape on the fixed part of the dome. Never close Telescope Control until both functions have finished.

2) Put the telescope cover back on the telescope.

3) Close The Sky, CCD Soft, and Telescope Control.

4) Flip all switches on the control panel to the down position.

5) Turn off the power strip at the base of the telescope.

6) Close the dome. Plug in the mechanism at the base of the telescope, and follow the closing directions pasted below the levers. Make sure that the levers have been returned to the neutral position once their function has been completed.

7) Note the time of exit in the Log.

8) Turn off the lights and make sure the door is locked.