The photometric telescope (PT) provides observations necessary for the photometric calibration of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). Because the attention of the observing staff is occupied by the operation of the 2.5 meter telescope which takes the survey data
proper, the PT must reliably take data with little supervision. In this paper we describe the PT's observing program, MOP, which automates most tasks necessary for observing. MOP's automated target selection is closely modeled on the actions a human observer might take, and is built upon a user interface that can be (and has been) used for manual operation. This results in an interface that makes it easy for an observer to track the activities of the automating procedures and intervene with minimum disturbance when necessary. MOP selects targets from the same list of standard star and calibration fields presented to the user, and chooses standard star fields covering ranges of airmass, color, and time necessary to monitor atmospheric extinction and produce a photometric solution. The software determines when additional standard star fields are unnecessary, and selects survey calibration fields according to availability and priority. Other automated features of MOP, such as maintaining the focus and keeping a night log, are also built around still functional manual interfaces, allowing the observer to be as active in observing as desired; MOP's automated features may be used as tools for manual observing, ignored entirely, or allowed to run the telescope with minimal supervision when taking routine data.