26 July 2016 A new telescope control software for the Mayall 4-meter telescope
Author Affiliations +
The Mayall 4-meter telescope recently went through a major modernization of its telescope control system in preparation for DESI. We describe MPK (Mayall Pointing Kernel), our new software for telescope control. MPK outputs a 20Hz position-based trajectory with a velocity component, which feeds into Mayall’s new servo system over a socket. We wrote a simple yet realistic servo simulator that let us develop MPK mostly without access to real hardware, and also lets us provide other teams with a Mayall simulator as test bed for development of new instruments. MPK has a small core comprised of prioritized, soft real-time threads. Access to the core’s services is via MPK’s main thread, a complete, interactive Tcl/Tk shell, which gives us the power and flexibility of a scripting language to add any other features, from GUIs, to modules for interaction with critical subsystems like dome or guider, to an API for networked clients of a new instrument (e.g., DESI). MPK is designed for long term maintainability: it runs on a stock computer and Linux OS, and uses only standard, open source libraries, except for commercial software that comes with source code in ANSI C/C++. We discuss the technical details of how MPK combines the Reflexxes motion library with the TCSpk/TPK pointing library to generically handle any motion requests, from slews to offsets to sidereal or non-sidereal tracking. We show how MPK calculates when the servos have reached a steady state. We also discuss our TPOINT modeling strategy and report performance results.
© (2016) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Behzad Abareshi, Behzad Abareshi, Robert Marshall, Robert Marshall, Shelby Gott, Shelby Gott, David Sprayberry, David Sprayberry, Rolando Cantarutti, Rolando Cantarutti, Dick Joyce, Dick Joyce, Doug Williams, Doug Williams, Ronald Probst, Ronald Probst, Kristin Reetz, Kristin Reetz, Anthony Paat, Anthony Paat, Karen Butler, Karen Butler, Christian Soto, Christian Soto, Arjun Dey, Arjun Dey, David Summers, David Summers, "A new telescope control software for the Mayall 4-meter telescope", Proc. SPIE 9913, Software and Cyberinfrastructure for Astronomy IV, 99131O (26 July 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2233087; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2233087


Commissioning telescopes from 20 cm to 8.2 m
Proceedings of SPIE (February 03 2003)
Overview of LAMOST control system
Proceedings of SPIE (February 03 2003)
Airborne environment: a challenge for telescope design
Proceedings of SPIE (June 19 2000)
MONET/North: a very fast 1.2m robotic telescope
Proceedings of SPIE (June 29 2006)
The VST tracking system and its preliminary performance
Proceedings of SPIE (July 23 2008)

Back to Top