Network Telescope Reference Guide v0.4

Network Telescope Reference Guide v0.4
November 13, 2011 Version 0.4 Wheaton College Observatory Networked Telescope Reference Guide Jason Goodman Table of Contents QUICK-START GUIDE ............................................................................................................... 2
ABOUT THE NETWORK............................................................................................................ 4
EQUIPMENT .................................................................................................................................. 4
CONNECTIONS .............................................................................................................................. 4
SOFTWARE ................................................................................................................................... 5
CONNECTING TO A TELESCOPE........................................................................................... 6
CONNECT TO THE TELESCOPE SERVER ......................................................................................... 6
GET A WEBCAM VIEW INSIDE THE DOME ..................................................................................... 7
OPEN THE DOME ........................................................................................................................... 9
TELESCOPE OPERATION....................................................................................................... 10
OBSERVING SOFTWARE ............................................................................................................. 10
CONNECT TELESCOPE MANAGER TO THE TELESCOPE MOUNT .................................................. 10
CONNECT STELLARIUM TO THE TELESCOPE MOUNT ................................................................. 10
CONNECT CCDOPS TO THE CCD CAMERA ................................................................................ 11
ADVANCED TOPICS: NEW DOME SETUP (NOT FINISHED) ......................................... 12
HARDWARE ................................................................................................................................ 12
ESTABLISH PERMANENT IP ADDRESSES ..................................................................................... 13
CONFIGURE THE SILEX USB SERVER ........................................................................................ 14
ENABLE INTERNET ACCESS INSIDE THE DOME ........................................................................... 14
PLUG IT IN .................................................................................................................................. 15
CONFIRM THAT IT WORKS .......................................................................................................... 15
ADVANCED TOPICS: NEW COMPUTER SETUP (NOT FINISHED) .............................. 15
LIST OF REQUIRED SOFTWARE: ................................................................................................. 15
INSTALLATION NOTES................................................................................................................ 16
SX Virtual Link ...................................................................................................................... 16
Prolific 2303 USB-Serial driver ............................................................................................ 16
Telescope Manager ............................................................................................................... 16
domecontrol ........................................................................................................................... 17
Stellarium .............................................................................................................................. 17
CCD Camera Software.......................................................................................................... 18
Post-Installation Shutdown Checklist.................................................................................... 18
1 Quick-­‐Start Guide To quickly get started using a telescope, do the following: Connect to the telescope server Launch “SX Virtual Link” If your computer is not already connected to the proper scope: Click the button to toggle a list of available telescopes and devices. Double-­‐click to connect to all three of the devices on the scope you want to use: USB Serial Controller (Telescope mount) USB Serial Controller (Dome control) SBIG USB-­‐CAM Engine The domes are numbered 1-­‐7, with #1 being closest to the observing deck and #7 being farthest away. Get a webcam view inside the dome: Open a web browser to the webcam inside your dome. The webcams are named “obscam1.wheatonma.edu”, “obscam2.wheatonma.edu”, and so on. In Internet Explorer, use the “Active X” login. For other browsers, click the “Login” button beneath “Server Push Mode”. In either case, use the username “admin”, no password. The button turns on the infrared “night vision”! Make sure you turn it off while taking CCD images. Open the dome Lauch “Dome Control” Python script Wait for Dome Control to scan for available domes. Click “Open Both Sides” for the dome. Start the Telescope Manager 2 Launch the “Scope Manager” Python script Connect to the telescope mount using the appropriate serial port You should now be able to move the telescope using the arrow buttons on the Scope Manager window. Start Stellarium Launch “Stellarium” Click Click “Configure Telescopes” Click “Start”. “Status” should change to “Connected”. to set up the link. You should now see an orange crosshair showing the current position of the telescope. To slew the scope, click on a celestial object, hold the control key and hit “1”. Connect CCDOps to the CCD camera Launch “CCDOps” Choose “Setup” from the “Camera” menu Turn on the cooling fan and set a temperature setpoint at or below 0°C. Begin imaging! Shutdown Procedure WARNING: Forgetting any of the items marked with a equipment damage. Do not screw up. below could cause serious Turn off the CCD’s fan and cooling system using CCDOps Turn off telescope tracking using Scope Manager. Close the dome! Close both clamshells using Dome Control. Confirm that the dome is closed using the webcam Close the webcam’s web page Quit “SX Virtual Link” and disconnect all shared USB devices. 3 About the Network Equipment Wheaton’s observatory includes 7 networked telescopes mounted in clamshell domes. These domes are located on the roof of the Mars Science Center. Each dome contains the following equipment: Astrohaven 7-­‐foot dome Equatorial Mount Schmitt-­‐Cassegrain telescope (make and model varies) SBIG ST-­‐8 CCD camera FOSCAM IP webcam Silex SX-­‐3000GB USB Device Server The telescopes vary in size, quality, and features, but are all controlled using the same software. They are numbered 1-­‐7, with #1 closest to the observing deck (southwest), and #7 farthest away (northeast). The telescopes can be controlled from any computer on campus that is running the right software, but it’s easiest to use them from the Astronomy Research Lab, room 001 in the Old Science Center. Computers in the Astronomy Control Room, room 4103 in Mars Science, can be handy for debugging problems. Connections The telescopes connect to the network and computers like this: 4 All devices in the dome except the webcam plug into the USB Device Server. Ethernet connections from the device server and webcam pass through the 4th floor control room and out to the campus Internet, where they are accessible to any computer on campus. The “USB Device Server” is the key to the whole operation. It sends signals from the various devices in the dome to the control computer. The control computer treats these devices as if they were plugged directly into the computer, even though the computer is in a comfy lab and the telescope is out on the roof in the cold. The webcam is a handy debugging tool. Suppose you set everything up and try to take pictures, but are getting nothing but darkness. What’s going on up there? It’s hard to tell when you’re in the basement. Is there a software problem? Is the dome open? Is the lens cap off? Is the telescope pointed at the sky? Is the whole building on fire? The webcam can quickly tell you what’s going on. Despite the name, the computers in the “Control Room” aren’t a vital part of the system. You can run the scopes from anywhere. But they are handy for setting up new equipment, aligning and focusing the telescopes, etc. — any time you need to be running back and forth between the scope and the computer. Software Several pieces of software are needed to make this all work. The following software must be installed on a computer to allow it to connect to the Wheaton observatory: Windows 7 or XP -­‐-­‐ Control from Mac OS should be possible, but doesn’t work yet SX Virtual Link (http://www.silexamerica.com/support/software/svl.html) This manages the connection between the computer and the USB device server in the dome. Web browser – to operate the webcam and configure devices. In addition, you need software to operate the dome, steer and point the telescope mount, and capture images from the CCD camera. There are several options here, but the following are freeware and easy-­‐to-­‐use: Scope Manger – Python script written by Prof. Goodman to control telescope tracking and slewing, and provide an interface to Stellarium, below. Stellarium (http://www.stellarium.org/) – telescope control SBIG CCDOps (http://www.sbig.com/site/sbwhtmls/softpage.htm) – CCD camera control2 Dome Control – Python script written by Prof. Goodman to open and close domes. 5 Connecting to a Telescope The following steps are necessary to make your computer start communicating with the telescope. We’ll discuss how to operate the system in the next chapter: this is just the initial setup needed to begin observing. Connect to the telescope server Launch “SX Virtual Link” on your computer. You should see a screen that looks like this: If the list doesn’t show the separate Observatory1, Observatory2, etc., click the button to toggle the view. 6 Your computer needs to connect to all of the devices in a particular observatory dome: in the example above, the computer is connected to Observatory1. If your computer is not connected, or if you wish to connect to a different telescope, double-­‐click on the devices you want to connect to, or click the large button. The button will disconnect a device. Make sure your computer is connected to the following: USB Serial Controller (Telescope mount) USB Serial Controller (Dome control) SBIG USB-­‐Cam Engine Reminder: the domes are numbered 1-­‐7, with #1 being closest to the observing deck and #7 being farthest away. Only one computer can use a telescope at a time. So you may be asking yourself: what happens if I try to connect to a telescope someone else is using? If you try to do this, a message will pop up on their screen asking for permission to disconnect the device from their computer and connect it to yours. It’s up to them to decide. Get a webcam view inside the dome Each dome has a webcam inside which allows you to see what’s going on inside the dome. This isn’t strictly required, but it’s very useful for debugging problems with your scope. Each webcam runs its own little website. To use them, turn on any standard Web browser, and visit obscam1.wheatonma.edu (for Dome #1), obscam2 for Dome #2, and so on. You’ll probably see a login window: 7 If you’re using Internet Explorer, enter user and password in “ActiveX Mode”. For other browsers, click the second login button, the one beneath “Server Push Mode”. In either case, enter “guest” for the username and leave the password blank. Then click on “Live Video”. You should see a screen like this: 8 Important controls are labeled below: Pan/Tilt Camera IR Night Vision On Night Vision Off Note the “Night Vision” controls. The camera is sensitive to near-­‐infrared light, and has a set of infrared LED lights that can light up the surrounding area. While the human eye can’t see these lights, the CCD camera on the telescope can, so turn night vision off before collecting data! In Internet Explorer, you can get a simultaneous view of all the webcams at once. To do this, log in to “obscam1” with Internet Explorer, click “For Visitor”, and click on the nine-­‐
panel icon. The “For Visitor” section also allows you do to two-­‐way audio using the camera’s built-­‐in speaker and microphone. Open the dome The dome is controlled through one of the USB-­‐to-­‐serial devices. The dome includes two clamshell doors that can be opened and closed. The “Dome Control” Python script controls these doors. When Dome Control starts up, it will search all serial ports for Astrohaven domes. If you add or remove a dome connection, click “Scan for Domes” to rescan. Controls will appear for each connected dome. They are labeled according to the serial port they’re connected to: unfortunately there’s no way to tell which serial port connects to which dome. Use the webcams to verify you’re opening the right dome. 9 Telescope Operation Observing Software At this point, the telescope is yours to command, and your computer believes it is directly connected to the scope and CCD camera. You can use any software you like to talk to the scope and camera: for instance, MaximDL, TheSky, ACP, etc. should all work. In the rest of this how-­‐to guide, we discuss one particular set of software, which has the advantage of being free to use and mostly open-­‐source, and which has been tested extensively at Wheaton. But to reiterate: this is only one possible software system. Connect Telescope Manager to the telescope mount “Telescope Manager” is a Python script written by Jason Goodman. It performs three functions: it sends and receives commands to the telescope mount over the serial connection, it provides a basic telescope interface allowing you to slew the telescope and turn sky tracking on and off, and it listens for commands from the Stellarium planetarium program, and passes those commands on to the telescope. Launch Telescope Manager, and select the serial port to which the scope is connected using the drop-­‐down menu at the top. Telescope Manager should tell you that a connection has been established, and the telescope pointing coordinates (RA/Dec) should appear below the steering arrows. At this point, pressing the arrow buttons should move the telescope north, south, east, or west; the slider on the left controls the speed of this motion. If you move the telescope from the western sky to the eastern, you may find that the North/South controls are reversed: change the “Pier Flip” setting to fix this. The “Tracking” checkbox indicates whether the telescope is moving at a sidereal rate to track the stars. BE SURE TO TURN TRACKING OFF WHEN YOU’RE DONE USING THE SCOPE. If you do not, the telescope will continue moving to follow the sky, and will eventually collide with its concrete mounting pier. This is bad. Connect Stellarium to the telescope mount Launch “Stellarium”. It will take you directly to a map of the night sky. You can move around the sky by dragging the mouse, and zoom in and out with the mouse wheel. No obvious menus are visible at first, but moving your mouse to the bottom left corner the of the screen will activate them. To connect to the telescope, click to set up the link. 10 Click “Configure Telescopes”. You should see two devices available: one labeled “Telescope”, the other labeled “Sync”. These are not two different telescopes: they’re two interfaces to a single scope, provided by Telescope Manager. Connect to both. Close the configuration windows so Stellarium shows only the night sky. You should now see an orange crosshair showing the current position of the telescope. To command the scope to point at a celestial object, click on the object, hold the control key and hit “1”. The crosshairs will move to that location, and using the webcam you should be able to see the telescope itself moving. Telescope Manager also allows you to issue SYNC commands to the scope using Stellarium. SYNC allows you to correct for minor aiming errors: use it when you have an object centered in the CCD camera’s field of view, but Stellarium and the telescope believe the telescope is pointed in a slightly different direction. To sync the scope, use the CCD camera to confirm that the object is in the exact center of the field of view, click on the object in Stellarium, and hit control-­‐2. To avoid accidents, you must click control-­‐2 twice. When you have done so, the “Telescope” crosshair should adjust to point at the object, and a new “SYNC” crosshair should appear on the object. WARNING: Do not sync an object unless you know the telescope is pointed at it. A bad sync can completely screw up the telescope’s navigation, making it impossible to aim. Fortunately, a bad sync can be cleared remotely: choose “Undo Sync” from the Telescope Manager’s control window. If this fails, go out to the telescope and select “Undo Sync” from the Align menu on the hand paddle. Connect CCDOps to the CCD camera There are many programs that allow you to take astrophotographs using the CCD camera, and a full description of them is beyond the scope of this manual. Here we’ll only discuss how to connect to the camera and take simple images using the CCDOps program provided with SBIG cameras. Open CCDOps. From the Camera menu, click “Setup…” Set Temperature Regulation to Active, with a setpoint temperature below 0°C. Set the fan to Enabled. 11 You can capture images by choosing “Grab” from the Camera menu. The “Filter” menu contains options to configure and select filters from the filter wheel. The “Focus” command from the Camera menu will take a repeated succession of images which are not saved: this is handy for focusing the scope or adjusting the aim direction. Advanced Topics: New Dome Setup (NOT FINISHED) WARNING: THIS SECTION IS NOT YET COMPLETE. This section covers the configuration and setup needed to wire up a new dome and telescope for network operations. It may be useful to professors and staff setting up new telescopes, or debugging problems with older ones. Here we assume you have already physically mounted the telescope in the dome, and are able to use it manually: we only cover the network side of things. This section assumes you have a laptop that has all of the telescope control software installed on it: see the next section for information on how to set this up. The domes are numbered from #1, which is the westernmost dome closest to the observing deck, to #7, which is on the east end of the building. Hardware You will need: •
•
•
•
•
Silex SX-­‐3000GB USB device server FOSCAM FI8918W IP Camera Two Plugable USB to RS-­‐232 DB9 Serial Adapters (or similar) Belkin USB 2.0 4-­‐Port Ultra Mini Hub F5U407 (or similar) Four Cat5e or better Ethernet patch cables (5-­‐7 feet long each) As a reminder, here’s what you’re shooting for: 12 Establish permanent IP addresses Both the webcam and the Silex box acquire their Internet addresses automatically from the college. However, when they’re first connected, the college network assigns them arbitrary numerical addresses. We want to replace these with permanent, known addresses so we can consistently find the devices on the network. The difficult part is finding the device on the network the first time. Plug a computer into an active Ethernet port in the control room. Run the “IP Camera Tool”. It will list all webcams it can see on the local network. You may see several. Now, plug in the IP camera into a nearby active Ethernet port and run the Camera Tool again: you should see a new camera. Right click on it and choose the option to view its web page. Take a note of the Web address in your browser bar: this is the temporary IP address for the new camera. ***** To find the MAC address for the Silex box, plug it into an active Ethernet port in the control room, and run “SX Virtual Link” on a computer connected to another Ethernet jack in the same room. You should see a new device server listed, with a name like “SX47B169”. Right click on it and choose “Display the Web Page”. Make a note of the website you are sent to: it should be something like “155.47.50.52” – this is the temporary IP address for the Silex box. Choose “System Information” and make a note of the MAC address: it should be something like 00:80:92:47:B1:69. Once you have the MAC addresses for both Silex box and webcam, provide this information to Wheaton’s Network Administrator (Steve Hess, shess@wheatonma.edu). Ask him to provide permanent IP addresses for the devices, according to the following pattern: 13 So, for instance, if you’re installing equipment in Dome 4, the Silex box should get address 155.47.50.17 and the webcam should get address 155.47.50.18. This may take a day or two: in the meantime, the temporary IP addresses you found earlier should work. Configure the Silex USB Server To configure the Silex USB server, visit its web page (see above). First, change the root password. Click on “System Information” and then “Password”. You’ll need to enter the old password first to log in: the default user name is “root”, with the password left blank. Change the password to “mars” (lowercase). Next, set the device name. Choose “Network Settings”, and change “Host Name” and “mDNS Service Name” to a name of the form “Observatory1”, “Observatory2”, etc. Enable Internet access inside the dome The Ethernet jacks inside each dome do not connect directly to the campus network: instead, their wiring terminates at the patch bay high up on the back wall of the observatory control room (4103). The jacks in the patch bay are labeled -­‐-­‐-­‐01A, -­‐-­‐-­‐01B, -­‐
-­‐-­‐02A, through -­‐-­‐-­‐10B. These correspond to telescope piers as follows: Jack Number 01 02 03 04 05 … 10 Pier Location Observing Deck, north end Observing Deck, middle Observing Deck, south end Dome #1 (Southwest end) Dome #2 Dome #7 (Northeast end) The control room also contains a number of Ethernet wall ports, lower down on the wall. The first step is to run patch cables from these jacks to the patch bay, activating Ethernet in the relevant dome. Plug two Ethernet cables from active ports in the control room to the A and B jacks in the patch bay corresponding to the dome you want to hook up. Now, test that the new dome has Internet access. Bring a laptop and an Ethernet cable out to the dome, and open it. (How to manually open a dome is beyond the scope of 14 this document). Plug your laptop into a jack in the dome, disable wifi, and check that you’re able to surf the web from inside the dome. Plug It In Plug the webcam into one of the Ethernet jacks in the dome, and connect its power supply. Position it so it has a good view of the interior of the dome. Reactivate wifi on your laptop. Browse to the web page of the new webcam, and verify that it’s working. Plug the Silex USB device server into the other Ethernet jack, and connect its power supply. Launch “SX Virtual Link” on your laptop, and confirm that the new Silex box is visible – it should be the only one that has no USB devices in its device list. Now, plug the 4-­‐port USB hub into the Silex box, and plug both of the serial port to USB adapters into the hub. Plug the CCD camera into the Silex box as well. Now, these three devices should be listed in SX Virtual Link. Connect one of the serial ports to the telescope using the appropriate cable (depends on the make/model of the telescope), and connect the other serial port to the serial cable that connects to the dome motor controller. Confirm that it works Climb out of the dome, if you’re sitting in it. Using the procedure described in “Connecting a Telescope”, test the operation of the dome, the telescope mount, and the CCD camera. Advanced Topics: New Computer Setup (NOT FINISHED) Warning: this section is not yet complete. The notes provided here should be helpful and accurate, though brief. New software install for Wheaton Observatory Software v0.3 Tested and working on Windows 7 32-­‐bit and 64-­‐bit. Mac also works, with different software: contact Jason Goodman for details. Dome-­‐by-­‐dome equipment info can be found at: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AqfgHlaDW6INdFdKbkNKNE9YZXEzZ3Ri
bGpzaWI4cXc&hl=en_US List of Required Software: sx-­‐virtual_link_win_362 Prolific 2303 USB-­‐Serial driver 15 python-­‐3.2.2 pyserial py3k-­‐2.5.win32 scopemanager domecontrol stellarium-­‐0.11.0-­‐win32 SetupDriverChecker InstOps Installation Notes SX Virtual Link File name: sx-­‐virtual_link_win_362 Should be 64-­‐bit OK Choose "Do not connect automatically to newly discovered USB devices" after install. Start SX Virtual Link Click on window-­‐swap button to switch to devices-­‐and-­‐servers view Click on wrench icon, go to "Search for device servers", add all "USB Server IPs" from https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AqfgHlaDW6INdFdKbkNKNE9YZXEzZ3Ri
bGpzaWI4cXc&hl=en_US to list. Current list of USB server IPs: 155.47.50.11 155.47.50.13 155.47.50.15 155.47.50.17 155.47.50.19 155.47.50.21 155.47.50.23 Right-­‐click on each of the shared devices, choose "Properties", give them memorable names ("Dome 1 Controller", Scope 2 Controller", "Scope 4 CCD Camera", etc.) Use Google Docs spreadsheet to help figure out which serial device controls what. Prolific 2303 USB-­‐Serial driver Telescope Manager and Dome Control These are Python scripts written by Jason Goodman. Scope Manager provides slewing, tracking, and sync controls, and acts as an interface between the Stellarium planetarium program and the telescope. Dome Control detects and operates Astrohaven domes. To use it, Python 3.2 must be installed. (Note: Python 2 versions won’t work!) Python-­‐3.2.2: Make sure to install all features, including "Tcl/Tk". 16 Pyserial: This is needed by Scope Manager and Dome Control. Scopemanager: Place folder in any convenient location. Create shortcut to "scopemanager.py", place shortcut on desktop or start menu. Double-­‐click to start. Testing Scope Manager: connect to scope serial controller for a telescope using SX Virtual Link. start Scope Manager Select serial port. Scope Manager should report "Connected to scope", and provide RA/Dec coordinates. Open webcam to look at telescope Set Slew Speed to 8; arrow keys on Scope Manager should cause scope to move. Leave Scope Manager running while you install and test Stellarium. Domecontrol As with Scope Manager, place folder in any convenient location create shortcut to “domecontrol.py”, and place shortcut on desktop or start menu. Double-­‐click to start. Stellarium stellarium-­‐0.11.0-­‐win32: 32-­‐bit, but tested OK on 64-­‐bit machines Configuring Stellarium: After install, start Stellarium. Click on "Full Screen mode" to deactivate fullscreen Set location from Location Window (left edge popup panel), Use As Default Turn off atmosphere, turn on nebulas. Configuration window: choose "Plugins" choose "Telescope Control", check "Load at Startup" Configuration: "Main" panel, Save Settings Quit Stellarium, restart Choose "Move a Telescope" icon from bottom center popup panel Click "Configure Telescopes" Click "Add" Choose "External software or a remote computer". Name: "Telescope" Connection delay: 1.2 s Start/connect at startup Connection settings: localhost, TCP port 10001 OK Click "Connect". Status should change to Connected. Click "Add" again 17 Choose "External software or a remote computer". Name: "SYNC" Connection delay: 1.2 s Start/connect at startup Connection settings: localhost, TCP port 10002 OK Click "Connect" for the SYNC connection too. Close all dialog boxes. Main window should now show cross-­‐hairs for telescope pointing direction. Test telescope link: Open webcam so you can see scope in motion. Click on a star and hit control-­‐1. Telescope Manager should say "Stellarium commands GOTO blah blah". Scope should start moving. Crosshairs in Stellarium should start moving. Don’t test SYNC until you’ve got the camera working: it’s too easy to get the telescope “lost”. If you do do a bad sync, hit “Undo Sync” in Telescope Manager to clear it. CCD Camera Software SetupDriverChecker -­‐-­‐ installs SBIG drivers. After installing, do "Launchg SBIG Driver Checker". Let it install drivers. InstOps: installs CCD Ops software Test CCD Software: Connect to CCD camera using SX Virtual Link Launch CCDOps Choose "Setup" from the Camera menu Set temperature regulation to On, Fan to Enabled Use Stellarium to command telescope to point at a bright star or planet. In CCDOps, choose "Camera/Focus...". Choose exposure time of 0.1-­‐1 second. Image should appear: if you're lucky, it'll be of the star you're pointing at. If not, use Telescope Manager arrow keys with slew speed of 3-­‐4 to hunt north-­‐south-­‐east-­‐west for the star. Post-­‐Installation Shutdown Checklist When testing is complete: Make sure to turn fan and cooling off in CCDOps Make sure to turn tracking off in Telescope Manger Make sure to close dome in Shutterdrive 18 
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