NMSU 1m robotic observing procedure and syntax
The basic scheme is that a list of objects is constructed for each night.
If the telescope is opened, it just works its way down the list. Starting
with the first object, if the observing constraints are met (see below),
the object will be observed. One of the parameters (see below) is the
number of times to observe an object per night. Once this number
of visits (which might be 1) is achieved, the object will be marked as
done for the night, and will be skipped on subsequent passes through
the list; the next object that meets the current observing constraints
will be observed. Note that the order in the list is on order in priority,
which is not necessarily the sequence in which objects will be observed;
an object that isn't available until the end of the night can be put at
the top of the list, which should guarantee that it will be observed once
it becomes observable (so long as the telescope isn't in the middle of
a long exposure sequence for an earlier target!).
Specifies a target name. This name will be used to construct files with
a list of observations, so it cannot have spaces in it; if you give
a name with spaces, they will be replaced with underscores. You can
specify multiple targets with the same name, e.g. if you want to do
several different exposure sequences on the same target.
Specify object coordinates in either hh:mm:ss, dd:mm:ss, or decimal
degree format. Equinox can also be specified.
Object must be at airmass greater than X(min) and less than X(max) for
an exposure sequence to start. Once started, exposure sequence will
run to completion, even if it goes outside the airmass limit (unless the
telescope runs into a limit). If you have a long sequence and this will
be a problem, use in conjunction with the hour angle limits (see below);
this way you can start an object moderately low in the east, but not let
it start low in the west.
UT must be between UT(min) and UT(max) for exposure sequence to start.
Once started, exposure sequence will run to completion even if UT(max)
is passed (unless the telescope runs into a limit). Also, note that
there is overhead associated with slewing to a target, updating
coordinates, focussing, and obtaining a guide star, so the actual
exposures will not start for several (5-15) minutes after the object
is chosen for observation.
Hour angle constraint
Hour angle of object must be between HA(min) and HA(max) for exposure
sequence to start. Once started, exposure sequence will run to completion
even if HA(max) is passed (unless the telescope runs into a limit). Negative
HA is in the east, positive HA in the west.
Object will be observed if moon phase is less than Moon Phase (max) OR
distance between object and moon is greater than Moon dist (min) (or if
moon is down). For example, if maximum moon phase is 0.5 and minimum
moon distance is 60, the object will be observed if the Moon is less
than half full OR if the moon is more than 60 degrees from the object (or
if the moon is down).
Exposure sequence information
An exposure sequence is identified by an integer, which indexes into the
exposure table; if many objects use the same exposure sequence, only a single
one needs to be specified and it can be referred to by each object. For
each exposure sequence, a specified number of exposures in a specified
set of filters will be taken. All exposures in a given filter in a given
sequence will be of the same exposure time; if you want multiple exposure
times for the same target, define and specify multiple exposure sequences
(i.e. repeat the target in a separate line with a different exposure sequence).
If you wish to repeat the same sequence multiple times in a visit (e.g. cycle
through a set of filters, then do that again), specify the number of sequences
you want using Number of sequences per visit.
If you wish to visit an object multiple times in a night, use the Number of
visits to specify the total number of visits; if you specify -1 for this,
the target will repeatedly be selected so long as the observing criteria
(above) are met. If you want the repeat visits to have a cadence, you
can specify a minimum amount of time (in hours) between visits. For
example, if you specify a min time between visits of 2 for an object,
the object will be observed, but not be repeated until 2 hours have passed
(from the initial selection of the object). You can specify times longer
than a night, e.g., givin a min time between visits of 36 will allow one
observation every other night; of course, to guarantee that the object
will be observed after the minimum time has passed will require that the
object has priority over other objects that are accessible at that time.