KPO

Automation
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The software has the most outstanding work of all. This has now split into two different strategies to suit slightly different requirements.

Stand-alone model

In order to be able to use the telescope without the full-blown software suite in place there has been some effort to made a stand-alone version which only controls the telescope. It is centred around the star chart software (ROCchart ) that will also be used for the full version. The main difference is the creation of a driver which talks the same protocol to ROCchart but controls the drive directly and has drive configuration support. This basically allows ROCchart to command the telescope to slew to objects and allows it to display where the telescope is actually pointing.

Full observatory controller

The stand-alone model is all well and good for playing around and doing visual observing but it doesn't go very far towards collecting scientific data all by itself while we sleep. As described in the automation  phases we have gone some way to acheiving this but not all the way. The major components of this system are pretty much the same as what was planned in phase 2:
  • Telescope control module. Looks after actually driving the telescope to where it needs to be and telling other modules what's going on with the telescope.
  • Instrument control module. Same deal but with instruments on the back of the telescope.
  • Observatory control module. Deals with the power, the roof, environmental monitoring and other support things.
  • Target manager. Knows how to do various types of observation and uses the telescope and instruments to do them.
  • Scheduler. Decides which targets to observe and when.
  • Remote access. Allows users to connect from the LAN or the Internet to just monitor or take control.
The modularity of this system makes it scalable so that it can not only deal with multiple telescopes but also multiple observatories that work in a co-ordinated way.