UCO/Lick Observatory has produced new field acquisition and telescope guiding cameras to replace the existing guiders on Mt. Hamilton. Telescopes typically have a number of science instruments to which the light of observation can be directed. An integral part of these instruments is a camera that serves two primary functions 1) field acquisition - once the telescope is pointed in the nominal position, the camera image is used to place the object or region of interest in the correct position on the science instrument; 2) guiding - once the object is acquired, provide position feedback to the telescope control system to maintain steady positioning of the celestial object on the science instrument. To accomplish this, relatively rapid refresh rate is required, along with video output data.
Control of the new cameras is accessible from any computer workstation within the observatory network. A number of additional improvements have also been made. However, part of the design requirement was also to allow for direct replacement of the old cameras without modification to associated equipment. Therefore, the package form and mating interfaces of the new cameras duplicates that of the old cameras.
Also, an optional control unit has been developed which makes it possible to operate the camera without a workstation computer. This control unit converts a selected portion of the digital video data into RS-170 format video, and permits use of the new camera with the old guider electronics while development of a new generation of guider algorithms and controls commences.
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Last update: January 6, 2003