The access of object catalogues that are on an external computer has been made easier. The handling of these catalogues will be expanded to include automatic searching and ingesting of specific object coordinates in to the system to preset the telescope. A number of new TCS data items have been defined to be sent to the observing system data base. More items are expected to be added in the near future. The overall objective is to make all the information and the capabilities of the TCS available for use in sequencer observing scripts.
The TCS status display has been rearranged, adding more information and improving their distribution. Some improvements have been made to the documentations and some new parts have been added.
The adapter can rotate over the range -200 to +200 degrees. When pointing for an extended period to a source and depending on the position on the sky, it can happen that the rotator reaches a limit and needs to be rotated 360 degrees. A new feature was added to the TCS interface that indicates the total time remaining before reaching a limit. This is to help judge if an exposure can be safely finished before the rotator reaches a limit, otherwise the rotator can be turned before the exposure is started.
Specifically for remote observations, the TCS Display application which provides a small window with basic TCS information (coordinates, telescope status, etc) and can be run from anywhere in the observing system has been expanded to include information from the guide star system such that the guide process can be monitored.
The system that selects, detects and centers the guide star is now fully implemented. Some minor problems were found where under specific circumstances (e.g., moving to an object very close to the previous object) the system would not work properly. These problems have been corrected and under normal weather conditions the system now always works properly.
The detecting and centering facility has now also be added to the system to do pointing model observations. The final objective is that the whole sequence should be able to run by itself and do a complete pointing sequence automatically.
Thomas Augusteijn 2009-01-15