11 July 2006 A new acquisition, guiding, and image quality monitoring system for the W.M. Keck Observatory
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Abstract
Acquiring a desired object in the field of view, focusing the telescope and then guiding during the exposure are essential aspects of making astronomical observations. The majority of facilities provided for these functions at the Observatory are more than 10 years old. The operability and technical performance of these facilities are known to impact the efficiency of observing. The current systems provide only limited capabilities for monitoring the quality of the image delivered by the telescope. Notably, the Keck telescopes are the only large telescopes that do not provide automatic focus control. The goal of this project is to develop an integrated system for acquisition, guiding and image quality measurement for the Keck telescopes. In this paper we report on the design of the hardware and software for the new system. The system will consist of three major components: a visible wavelength band acquisition camera, image quality measurement capability, and software for acquisition, guiding and image quality monitoring. This system will replace the acquisition and guiding hardware and software for existing instruments and also become the observatory standard for new instruments. The expected benefits to science include increased efficiency for spectroscopic observations, improved quality for imaging observations, and valuable supplementary data on delivered image quality during all observations. The cameras will be equipped with photometric filters and will be calibrated to enable auxiliary science functions such as photometry. Observing efficiency will be improved with the increased sensitivity of the acquisition cameras, the improved performance of guiding and focusing, and more efficient acquisition and setup of observations.
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Sean M. Adkins, Richard H. Matsuda, "A new acquisition, guiding, and image quality monitoring system for the W.M. Keck Observatory", Proc. SPIE 6269, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy, 62695G (11 July 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.672474; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.672474
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