2 January 2002 CFHT's SkyProbe: a real-time sky-transparency monitor
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Abstract
We have developed a system at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT), SkyProbe, which allows for the direct measurement of the true attenuation by clouds once per minute, within a percent, directly on the field pointed by the telescope. It has been possible to make this system relatively inexpensively due to the low-cost CCD cameras from the amateur market. A crucial addition to this hardware is the quite recent availability of a full-sky photometry catalog at the appropriate depth: the Tycho catalog, from the Hipparcos mission. The central element is the automatic data analysis pipeline developed at CFHT, Elixir, for the improved operation of the CFHT wide-field imagers, CFH12K and MegaCam. SkyProbe’s FITS images are processed in real-time and the pipeline output (a zero point attenuation) provides the current sky transmission to the observers and helps immediate decision making. These measurements are also attached to the archived data, adding a key criteria for future use by other astronomers.
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Jean-Charles Cuillandre, Eugene A. Magnier, Sidik Isani, Daniel Sabin, Wiley Knight, Simon Kras, Kamson Lai, "CFHT's SkyProbe: a real-time sky-transparency monitor", Proc. SPIE 4844, Observatory Operations to Optimize Scientific Return III, (2 January 2002); doi: 10.1117/12.460613; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.460613
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