Observation Guidelines

Opening Procedure

  1. Make sure everything on the deck is clear of the roof (i.e. binoculars, small telescopes, etc.)
  2. Open the roof using the green open button on the north wall.
  3. Flip the master power switch on the right side of the desk. You should hear the fans on the telescope turn on and the mount should produce several beeps.
  4. Boot up the control computer with the power button on top of the case. The computer will turn on and automatically login, wait for the login window to appear.
  5. Complete the telescope login form and switch to the second tab, the all sky cam so you can keep an eye on the weather, additionally more detailed weather info can be found on the third tab.
  6. Remove the red cover from the aperture of the telescope and the small covers from either of the finder scope and place them in the box labeled covers on the North wall.
  7. If the Auto-Connect Imaging System Hardware (the one with the big green dot) window is still up, press OK. If it is not there, the process completed automatically and can be safely ignored.
  8. The telescope is now ready to observe.

If you ever feel the telescope is going to an unsafe place or if it is moving when you don’t want it to, press ABORT in the top left tool bar.

Finding Objects

To slew to a specific set of coordinates click on Navigate in the top toolbar. In the Enter Coordinates tab enter the RA&DEC and press Slew in the window.

Using the Movement Paddle (on right)

Use the small joystick to move the telescope manually, and use the rotary switch to change the slew speed. 1 is the slowest, and 4 is the fastest.

Using the Focus Paddle (on left)

Press on the directional pad by In and Out to move the focus in and out.

Closing Procedure

  1. Press Imaging System Startup-Shutdown in the top toolbar, then press shutdown on the window that appears, or was already up. This will immediately park the telescope and disconnect it. If an error window pops up, the telescope is most likely finishing a slew. In this case, wait until the telescope has finished moving, then press the shutdown button again.
  2. Close TheSkyX.
  3. Replace the red cover onto the end of the telescope and the small black ones on both ends of the finder scope.
  4. Make sure everything on the deck is clear of the roof (i.e. binoculars, small telescopes, etc.)
  5. Close the roof using the orange close button on the north wall.
  6. Switch back to the first tab in Google Chrome, click the link, and complete the logout form.
  7. If you ran into any issues click the link on the logout confirmation and submit a problem report.
  8. Shutdown the computer by right clicking on the windows icon on the bottom left of the screen, clicking on Shutdown and sign out, and Shutdown.
  9. Once the computer has completely shut off (the lights in the computer will still be on) flip the master power switch on the right side of the dest. You should hear the fans on the telescope turn off.
  10. Clean up the deck, put everything back where you found it, turn off the lights, and close up the rest of SBO, assuming you are the last ones here.

Camera Procedures

  1. Move the flip mirror into the CCD Position.
  2. If you are using the bahtinov mask point the telescope down where the meridian meets the southern horizon line, and put the bahtinov mask on the telescope.
  3. Use TheSkyX to point the telescope at an appropriate focus star.
  4. In the camera tab of TheSkyX, go to the focus tab and set the exposure time to .5 seconds, and the Binning to 1x1, and the Reduction to None, and turn Autosave off.
  5. Using the bahtinov mask, click on Take Photo. Then move the focus until the diffraction pattern shows that the telescope is focused (i.e. the central spike exactly bisects the X formed by the other spikes).
  6. Press Abort, and close all the windows that you just opened.
  7. Check the Power field, this is right under the progress bar. If the power is constantly about 70%, press the Temp Setup button and change the Temperature set point to the Recommended set point. And press OK.
  8. Switch to the Take Photo tab if you are planning on taking single images.
  9. From here you can set all the parameters you need. Exposure Time, Binning, Frame Type, and Reduction.
  10. If you wish to take exposure series, switch to the Take Series tab.
  11. From here you can simply execute a series of images, setting the same parameters as before, but use the Repeat setting to set the number of frames you want it to take. And make sure to set Autosave before you start the series.
  12. When you are done, please use FileZilla to transfer the images you took to Scorpius. The server address is scorpius.colorado.edu, and the port is 22.


Frame Exposure Time Repeat # of Series
Light 60-180 s 5 3
Dark Same as light 5 2-3
Flat 5-7 s 5 Early shift


Light: Really bright, fast moving asteroids may only need 60 seconds; really dim, slow moving asteroids may need up to 180 seconds. Would recommend 90-120 s for most asteroids – adjust as needed.

Dark: Must be same exposure time and temperature as lights. Best to get a set of darks for each series, but if you are crunched for time, one set of darks could be sufficient for the whole night.

Flat: Taken once per night by the early observing shift. Flats also need an accompanying set of darks with the same exposure time. Flats should be saved somewhere that every group can access and download them.


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