A system has been implemented that automatically detects guide stars and centers them in the guide box after which guiding is switched on. The current system is not fail proof, but under normal weather conditions it is a useful tool and increase efficiency. To improve the system further, the idea is to `export' the data to an other computer as the computing power of the TCS computer is relative small. This will allow for a more sophisticated processing of the data which should lead to a more reliable guide star search and detection system. In fact, within the new sequencer system it is actually possible to control the different parts of the telescope and instrument from anywhere in the observing system, and in principle the whole autoguiding process can be managed from outside the TCS computer.
The options to select guide stars have been extended and now includes the possibility to select any of the guide stars provided by the guide star server, and it now also includes the option to select different permitted areas where to look for possible guide stars. In principle the permitted areas can vary depending on which instrument is in use, but one could also, e.g., define a specific (small) area to assure that the telescope can do relatively large offsets (e.g., for `beam-switching' observations with NOTCam) without the guide star moving beyond the area reachable by the guide probe.
Thomas Augusteijn 2008-11-14