The Automated Planet Finder (APF) is a dedicated, ground-based precision radial velocity facility located at Lick Observatory, operated by University of California Observatories (UCO), atop Mt. Hamilton in California. The 2.4-m telescope and accompanying high-resolution echelle spectrograph were specifically designed for the purpose of detecting planets in the liquid water habitable zone of low-mass stars. The telescope is operated every night (weather permitting) to achieve meaningful signal-to-noise gains from high cadence observing and to avoid the aliasing problems inherent to planets whose periods are close to the lunar month.
To take full advantage of the consistent influx of data it is necessary to analyze each night's results before
designing the next evening's target list. To address this requirement, we are in the process of developing a fully automated reduction pipeline that will take each night's data from raw FITS files to final radial velocity values and integrate those values into a master database. The database is then accessed by the publicly available Systemic console, a general-purpose software package for the analysis and combined multiparameter fitting of Doppler radial velocity observations. As each stellar system is updated, Systemic evaluates the probability that a planetary signal is present in the data, and uses this value, along with other considerations such as the star's brightness and chromospheric activity level, to assign it a priority rating for future observations. When the telescope is once again on sky it determines the optimal targets to observe in real time using an in-house dynamic scheduler.