Usage of the ACE spectrograph on the RCC

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Logging in

You can use the telescope and the camera via ssh login and screen. See description here: Usage of the screen program

An example for ssh login: ssh -X where user is your username on m5

Or, alternatively, you can use x2go to connect to the RCC control computer, m5.

The x2go Session preferences window

To use x2go, you need the following setup:

  • Session:
    • Session name: whatever you want
    • Host:
    • Login: your username on m5
    • SSH port: 22
    • Session type: GNOME
    • If you want to connect to m5 outside of the konkoly network, you have to tick Use proxy server for SSH connection.
      • Type: SSH
      • Host:
      • Port: 22
      • Login: your username on
  • Connection
    • Connection speed: the speed of your internet
    • Compression: 16m-jpeg + image quality 9 usually works just fine.
  • Input/output
    • Display: You can choose whatever you prefer here. Usually in a FHD display a costume 1920*1040 resolution works fine. Tick Set display DPI and set it to 96.
    • Clipboard mode: Bidirectional
    • Keyboard: Auto detect
  • Media
    • Untick everything.
  • Shared folders
    • If you want to access a folder on your computer on m5, add your folder here.


Enter your working directory in a console: cd /data/user/YYYYMMDD Always save your fits files into the data folder!

In a console type: rcc-test If everything is green, proceed further. If not, contact the support astronomer.

In a console type: acectrl --status If Main pickoff mirror is on, the telescope is ready for spectroscopic observations. If not, type acectrl --start. For help see acectrl --help

Start ds9. Check the telescope:

Start CCDSH in a console: ccdsh

If the telescope was used for photometry previously, the telescope focus should be moved back to the value of ~80.8: CCD> get focus then CCD> set focus 80.8

If your .ccdsh_startup file is not prepared for the usage of the spectrograph camera, type in CCDSH: CCD> source /usr/local/ccdsh/scripts/load-spec.ccdsh This will load the camera driver.

Type CCD> status; rcc status in CCDSH. If everything is green, proceed further.

Check the camera temperature in CCDSH: CCD> get temperature If it is not cooled down, check the status of the cooler (should be turned on): cooler --status Cool down the camera: CCD> set temperature -40

If the temperature difference between the actual temperature of the camera and the target temperature is big, cool it down in two steps. In summer, the target temperature should be -35 Celsius, in other seasons -40.

Cool the guider camera. Type in a console: rcc-autoguide.fli --temperature -30

Open the dome slit. In CCDSH: CCD> set dome slit open

Open the guider cap: CCD> rcc guidercap open

Start the tracking: CCD> set mount track on

Start the automatic dome rotation: CCD> rcc dome auto

Open the tube and mirror covers: CCD> rcc tubecover open

After 30 seconds: CCD> rcc mirrorcover open

Type CCD> rcc status. If everything is opened and green, proceed.



When you finished observing, stop the autoguider when it is in a relax state with ctrl+c. Also, you can stop a sequence or a script with ctrl+c.

Warm up the guider camera. In a console: rcc-autoguide.fli --temperature off

Stop the spectrograph: The following series of commands should be executed:

  • Turn the spectrograph into scientific mode with acectrl --mode science. This command will also switch off the ThAr lamp and flat lamp if these were turned on berfore.
  • Also ensure that the auxiliary LED is switched off with the command acectrl --led 0.
  • Check the status with acectrl --status. The above two commands ensure that no light sources are left turned on and hence the spectrograph frontend box is completely dark. This is essential if alternate instrumentation mounted below the frontend box is going to be used.
  • Turn off the spectrograph with acectrl --stop.


  • CCD> set mount track off
  • CCD> rcc dome manual
  • CCD> rcc mirrorcover close
  • After 30 seconds: CCD> rcc tubecover close
  • CCD> rcc guidercap close
  • CCD> set dome slit close
  • CCD> rcc slew 0 47.8
  • CCD> set dome azimuth=156.3

After a few minutes, check that everything is ok and closed in CCDSH: CCD> status; rcc status

Turn on the lights in the dome: CCD> set dome light 1 on/off

Check the telescope on the webpage:

Turn off the lights in the dome: CCD> set dome light 1 off/on

After you finished making the calibration images you can warm up the camera: CCD> set temperature off

The temperature of the camera should rise slowly. You don't have to warm completely up the camera, but in case of storms and other anomalies it is recommended. In case of any problems consult this page and/or notify the support astronomer.

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