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Automated Telescope Facility

The ATF software controls the telescope, CCD cameras, dome and filter wheel in a complelely automated way. The telescope mount, dome, and filter wheel are all operated with stepper motors using an intelligent controller (Oregon Microsystems PC-34).

The software consists of several UNIX drivers, hardware interface daemons, and X-Windows Motif client applications. Communication is via stream pipes. Some feature of the system include:

  • Complete control of all hardware (telescope, dome, filter wheel,
  • focus, and CCD camera).
  • User-friendly script language for observing requests.
  • Optimization of scheduling requests using a sorting algorithm to
  • minimize time between observation and transit.
  • Built-in stellar and non-stellar catalogs so objects can be specified
  • by name only (e.g. SOA, YBSC, NGC, Messier, GCVS).
  • Catalogs for solar system objects with built-in orbital elements.
  • Automated CCD calibration (dark field subraction and flat field)
  • using archived calibration images. Thermal frames are scaled
  • appropriately by exposure time.
  • Automated logging on a per-schedule basis.
  • Automated archiving of images.
  • Optional compression of images using H-compression.
  • Real-time display (with optional analysis) of images as they are
  • acquired.
  • Automated start/stop at astronomical dusk/dawn.
The Automated Telescope Facility has now produced a CD-ROM containing ~600 Megabytes of images, software, and laboratory exercises used in our classes at the University of Iowa and supported by the Automated Telescope Facility.

Current Version:   ??

License Type:   ??

Home Site:

Source Code Availability:   Yes

Available Binary Packages:

  • Debian Package:   No
  • RedHat RPM Package:   No
  • Other Packages:   Yes

Targeted Platforms:

Windows, UNIX (Linux and Solaris binaries available on CD-ROM)

Software/Hardware Requirements:

ANSI C compiler and Motif library is compiled from source. Don't know the binaries are Motif statically linked or not.

Other Links:

Mailing Lists/USENET News Groups:


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