In this work we describe the robotization and upgrade of the ESO 1m telescope located at La Silla Observatory. The ESO 1m telescope was the first telescope installed in La Silla, in 1966. It now hosts as a main instrument the FIber Dual EchellE Optical Spectrograph (FIDEOS), a high resolution spectrograph designed for precise Radial Velocity (RV) measurements on bright stars. In order to meet this project's requirements, the Telescope Control System (TCS) and some of its mechanical peripherals needed to be upgraded. The TCS was also upgraded into a modern and robust software running on a group of single board computers interacting together as a network with the CoolObs TCS developed by ObsTech. One of the particularities of the CoolObs TCS is that it allows to fuse the input signals of 2 encoders per axis in order to achieve high precision and resolution of the tracking with moderate cost encoders. One encoder is installed on axis at the telescope and the other on axis at the motor. The TCS was also integrated with the FIDEOS instrument system so that all the system can be controlled through the same remote user interface. Our modern TCS unit allows the user to run observations remotely through a secured internet web interface, minimizing the need of an on-site observer and opening a new age in robotic astronomy for the ESO 1m telescope.
ARNICA and LonGSp are two NICMOS based near infrared instruments developed in the 90's by the Astrophysical Observatory of Arcetri. After more than 10 years from decommissioning we refurbished the two instruments
with a new read-out electronics and control software. We present the performances of the refurbished systems
and compare them with the historic behavior. Both instruments are currently used for testing purposes in the
Lab and at the telescope, we present some example applications.
We present a method for measuring focus aberrations on wide field telescopes based on an entropy analysis of a
single image. First, we calibrate the system using the evolution of the entropy as a function of the position in the
field and the focuser position. This gives us a model defining the tilt of the sensor and the field curvature. Then,
using a single image at a given position of the focuser in which the mean defocus is unknown, we can compute
the position where the focuser must be set in order to minimize the focus aberration over the whole field.
The main telescope of the UC Observatory Santa Martina is a 50cm optical telescope donated by ESO to Pontificia
Universidad Catolica de Chile. During the past years the telescope has been refurbished and used as the main facility for
testing and validating new instruments under construction by the center of Astro-Engineering UC. As part of this work,
the need to develop a more efficient and flexible control system arises. The new distributed control system has been
developed on top of Internet Communication Engine (ICE), a framework developed by Zeroc Inc. This framework
features a lightweight but powerful and flexible inter-process communication infrastructure and provides binding to
classic and modern programming languages, such as, C/C++, java, c#, ruby-rail, objective c, etc. The result of this work
shows ICE as a real alternative for CORBA and other de-facto distribute programming framework. Classical control
software architecture has been chosen and comprises an observation control system (OCS), the orchestrator of the
observation, which controls the telescope control system (TCS), and detector control system (DCS). The real-time
control and monitoring system is deployed and running over ARM based single board computers. Other features such as
logging and configuration services have been developed as well. Inter-operation with other main astronomical control
frameworks are foreseen in order achieve a smooth integration of instruments when they will be integrated in the main
observatories in the north of Chile
The f/5 instrumentation suite for the Clay telescope was developed to provide the Magellan Consortium observer community with wide field optical imaging and multislit NIR spectroscopy capability. The instrument suite consists of several major subsystems including two focal plane instruments. These instruments are Megacam and MMIRS. Megacam is a panoramic, square format CCD mosaic imager, 0.4° on a side. It is instrumented with a full set of Sloan filters. MMIRS is a multislit NIR spectrograph that operates in Y through K band and has long slit and imaging capability as well. These two instruments can operate both at Magellan and the MMT. Megacam requires a wide field refractive corrector and a Topbox to support shutter and filter selection functions, as well as to perform wavefront sensing for primary mirror figure correction. Both the corrector and Topbox designs were modeled on previous designs for MMT, however features of the Magellan telescope required considerable revision of these designs. In this paper we discuss the optomechanical, electrical, software and structural design of these subsystems, as well as operational considerations that attended delivery of the instrument suite to first light.
The ESO Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) is the first general-user interferometer that offers near- and mid-infrared long-baseline interferometric observations in service and visitor mode to the whole astronomical community. Over the last two years, the VLTI has moved into its regular science operation mode with the two science instruments, MIDI and AMBER, both on all four 8m Unit Telescopes and the first three 1.8m Auxiliary Telescopes. We are currently devoting up to half of the available time for science, the rest is used for characterization and improvement of the existing system, plus additional installations. Since the first fringes with the VLTI on a star were obtained on March 17, 2001, there have been five years of scientific observations, with the different instruments, different telescopes and baselines. These observations have led so far to more than 40 refereed publications. We describe the current status of the VLTI and give an outlook for its near future.