Auxiliary systems on the RCC

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This article describes the several auxiliary devices installed on the RCC telescope.

On-axis fiber camera

A WATEC on-axis camera attached to a AXIS M7001 video server is installed enabling the observer to move the target object exactly to the location of the spectrograph fiber. The stream from the camera can be reached with a web browser on If someone is observing outside from the network, just tunnel the traffic of the port 8081 via SSH by exploiting a random computer on this network:

ssh -L

Doing so, the on-axis video stream is going to be available apparently from localhost:8081. Using the "stop" button at the lower-left corner of this video stream page, one can pause and/or restart the stream in order to save bandwidth.

The WATEC camera can be controlled with the program watecctrl, installed currently at the m5 machine. The exposure times can be set with the

watecctrl --exp n

command, where n is an integer between 0 to 14, from shortest to longest. Note that these are dimensionless numbers, and the scale is roughly logarithmic (i.e. the value of 0 represents 1/2000 seconds of shutter time while 14 is equivalent to 20 seconds of exposure; approximately 1 second is at the value of 10 and increasing the exp value by one doubles the net exposure time). The gain value can be altered with

watecctrl --gain m 

where m is an integer between 0 and 255. While in ThAr or Flat mode with the spectrograph, set these values to

watecctrl --exp 1 --gain 0.

For regular use, i.e. observe normal star fields, use the setup

watecctrl --exp 8 --gain 255.

If the star field is less dense and/or the mean brightness of stars are less, increase the exposure parameter to 9..11. One can goes up even to 14, but in this case the net exposure time, hence the video update time is going to be ~20 seconds.

See the page on-axis camera configuration for more details about the current configuration of the AXIS M7001 specific settings (just in case, if the camera is broken and a new but otherwise similar device is to be installed).

Manual fine-tuning on the telescope position

While positioning, the program rccpanel enables the observer to manually adjust the position of the star with respect to the fiber. This program can be ran on m5 with the following command from the system shell (i.e. start from xterm or a VNC session):

rccpanel --speed n &

where n is the slewing speed in arcsec/s. The value of n can have a maximum value of 10 (otherwise, i.e. specifying larger numbers, it will be truncated down to 10). A very simple GUI panel will pop up where the observer can move the telescope in four directions by simply pressing buttons. Note that the value of 10 is relatively large for very precise manual positioning.

Some important notes:

  • To run the rccpanel program, the tracking must be switched on. Namely, run the command set mount track on from CCDSH before pressing the buttons of this panel.
  • CCDSH must be started with the successfully loaded module in order to use rccpanel. Otherwise, staring rccpanel would fail with a connection error.
  • Running autoguiding together with rccpanel might cause glitches, that can be solved only by restarting ccdsh.


See the page RCC autoguiding for more details about the available options for autoguiding.

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