26 July 2016 The South African Astronomical Observatory instrumentation software architecture and the SHOC instruments
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Abstract
Until recently, software for instruments on the smaller telescopes at the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) has not been designed for remote accessibility and frequently has not been developed using modern software best-practice. We describe a software architecture we have implemented for use with new and upgraded instruments at the SAAO. The architecture was designed to allow for multiple components and to be fast, reliable, remotely- operable, support different user interfaces, employ as much non-proprietary software as possible, and to take future-proofing into consideration. Individual component drivers exist as standalone processes, communicating over a network. A controller layer coordinates the various components, and allows a variety of user interfaces to be used. The Sutherland High-speed Optical Cameras (SHOC) instruments incorporate an Andor electron-multiplying CCD camera, a GPS unit for accurate timing and a pair of filter wheels. We have applied the new architecture to the SHOC instruments, with the camera driver developed using Andor's software development kit. We have used this to develop an innovative web-based user-interface to the instrument.
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Carel van Gend, Carel van Gend, Briehan Lombaard, Briehan Lombaard, Amanda Sickafoose, Amanda Sickafoose, Hamish Whittal, Hamish Whittal, "The South African Astronomical Observatory instrumentation software architecture and the SHOC instruments", Proc. SPIE 9913, Software and Cyberinfrastructure for Astronomy IV, 99130R (26 July 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2231403; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2231403
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