WIRO Operating Procedures
Jan 25, 2014 Edition
written by: David Cook
Before leaving Laramie
Get LN2 from Chem stockroom before 4:00 pm (~2L/day; dewar is 30 L)
Dewars are available from Pierce/Weger Lab (2nd floor across from main office)
IDR (inter-deparmental request form) available from Nicole, Kim, or Lynn
Get observatory and vehicle keys (available from mailbox in office)
Get mobile radio (available from chargers in back of main office, by Lynn's desk)
Check vehicle gas level (at least 1/2 tank)
Check recent observing reports for any recent/persistent problems
Driving to WIRO
Beware of deer/wildlife as you approach mountain (especially around dusk)
Engage 4HI for mountain road, 2HI for highway driving
General Observatory Power Up
Turn on switches in breaker boxes: control room (water pump), entry way, & spectrograph room
Plug in UPS near control room rack: 2 yellow plugs
Get computers up and running: WIROPrime, Claudius
Turn on the TCS in the control room computer rack (power switch on the back)
Service platform and the PrimeFocus camera:
While at service position, plug in the camera with the yellow extention coord attatched to the telescope rine, flip black power switch on the camera
Cool down instrument:
Tall nitrogen gas tank on dome floor has two valves. The top valve should be opened normally.
The valve facing you needs to be opened by turning CLOCKWISE! The liquid nitrogen tank on the
service platform has two valves. Open the top valve normally, and toggle the vertical switch
up to open. Both the nitrogen gas and liquid nitrogen gauges should be around 5 or 6. Close the
two tanks in reverse sequence. If switching LN2 dewars, REMEMBER TO RELEASE PRESSURE by opening
dewar valve and to leash the regulator using attached cord.
Remove rubber tubing between dewar and camera (when warm - can use heat gun)
Remove corrector lens cover
Remove harness that bolts telescope down to platform (if present)
Windscreen and Dome
NOTE: When opening windscreens BE SURE TO WATCH pully system and cables. If you see
any tangles/slack in the system STOP IMMEDIATLY and call for assistance
NOTE: MIRROR COVER SHOULD BE CLOSED WHEN OPENING/CLOSING DOME SHUTTER, debris might fall
on the mirror if mirror covers are open!
Open the upper windscreen until aligned with white tape on I-beam
Lower the lower windscreen until two or three panels remain
Open shutter (if rain clouds are not evident)
Control Room and the PrimeFocus camera:
Claudius runs the telescope and the camera
WIROPrime runs the filter wheel and focus mechanism.
Flip on the power switch and plug ethernet cable (if not connected) for the electronics box
(large grey box mounted on the wall above the computers)
***the next set of instructions are also listed in the hardcopy of the WIRO procedures.
On WIROPrime/Windows PC:
Double-click on 'wiro prime' icon
Click 'connect' on gui interface
Check electronics box for blinking yellow light near ethernet plug-in for established
To change filter, pull down filter you want, and hit 'go'. It's best to only make
single filter movements (one slot at a time). The filter wheel WILL get lost if you don't
move one filter at a time; This is a pain to fix. (see troubleshooting)
Open 3 xgterms and a ds9 window
In one of the xgterms open owl (if still the camera control program)
hit the running man gui near the bottom of the owl interface. This will setup all the scripts you need.
Set temperature by hitting the thermometer gui button and set to -100 to -110.
Set the TCS to computer control.
TCS: Menu: CONTROL --> "allow computer control" or (consult manual on TCS)
In one of the xgterms type tty to get the location of the terminal output
In one of the xgterms type --> track test port /dev/ttyQ1a6 "the terminal location here" (this step should be taped to Claudius' monitor
the computer will now control the telescope
on the other terminal:
g - turn on telescope
dome on - turn on dome
dome init - (optional) initialize the dome, only if the actual dome postion does not match the desired
(USUALLY THIS IS NOT NEEDED)
Checking Filter Wheel
To ensure the filter wheel and software are correctly functioning, grab a partner and
two walkie-talkies. One person steps through various filters with the software and
reports the apparent filter state, while the person in the dome reports the apparent
color of the filter in the slot. The sequence is
U: metallic purple
I: metallic blue-green; has a tiny crack in it
7598 + 7661: 'grass' green
8132: blue on one side
8199: dark purple (almost same shade as 8615 + 8685)
8615 + 8685: metallic purple
If there is disagreement between filter indicated by magnet read and what filter is visable,
it can help to slight 'jog' the filter wheel position until the software correctly recognizes
the appropriate filter. Maintain this jog offset throughout the night. Also, if filter wheel
pin (towards upper right when looking in from corrector lens) is not properly seated, jogging
can correct this problem as well. CAUTION: JOGGING THE FILTER WHEEL MIGHT CHANGE THE ALIGNMENT
OF FILTER POSITION BETWEEN FLAT IMAGES AND SCIENCE IMAGES! IT IS RARE BUT HAS HAPPENED BEFORE.
Pointing and Focus
If you are the first observer after an instrument change, you may need to type
'col' on Claudius to wipe out any prior pointing offsets. Also, check the collimation by
focusing the camera (it doesn't have to be perfect yet) take an image of any field and look
at the 2-D plot of a medium sized star. This done with the imxam task in IRAF;
type 'e' and the plot with come up in a techtronics window. If the star looks circular then
you are done; if it looks elongated
then you go to the procedures ouitlined at the bottom of this manual.
In order to make sure the telescope is pointing correctly go to a bright star in the
'bright.cat' catalog. Center star to [1024,1077] by e.g. 'nn 200' to slew 200arcsec north.
[Note that Team WySH has adopted [1024,1077] centering for historical reasons...the actual
center is [1077,1024]]. Then type 'icol' so that the computer always uses this offset.
Go to the field you want to perform science on and focus on 3-5 sources making focus
adjustments of 200-500 units until the FWHM is at its lowest. Mulitply FWHM by
pixel scale (0.523"/pixel) to get actual seeing in arcsecs.
Filter Order: Morning = Short -> Long (wavelength)/ Evening = Long -> Short (wavelength)
Count Target: -15,000 to -24,000
NOTE: Software flips to negative numbers after 32,769 counts (actually appears as -32,769);
this is a software consequence of a 15 bit encoder.
Starting position: ~2.5 or 3 hours toward sun from LST
Use syntax :
-->'fixed ##.# 51.0 follow' (where ##.# is RA position in decimal hours)
Dither RA by 0.05 or 0.1 hr toward zenith inbetween exposures in case stars are visible.
Broadband filter flats usually are good around a half hour after sunset and a half hour
The Narrowband H-alpha filters are good roughly at sunset and sunrise
To use the dome white spot for dome flats the dome needs to initialized. The dome should be rotated to
an azimuth of 142N0 and the telescope should be moved to an hour angle of 0.0 and a declination of -25N0:
--> fixed 0.0 -25.0
There are four neutral density filters lamps on the front end ring of the telescope. The lamps are
controlled with a rheostat in the control room. If any of the bulbs burn out, there are replacements in
the WIRO lab(do not touch the lamps when replacing, hold them with the packaging they come with). Taking
flat fields with any filter varies, however here are some documented settings:
Filter Setting Exposure Counts
U 100V 2s ~32,000
B 60V 1s ~21,000
V 40V 4s ~36,000
R 40V 1s ~40,000
I 20V 2s ~32,000
OIII 70V 5s ~27,000
5200 70V 3s ~22,000
8132 35V 5s ~15,000
8199 35V 5s ~15,000
8615 35V 5s ~17,000
8685 35V 5s ~18,000
8685 50V 5s -15,000
9155 47V 5s -20,000
On Voodoo uncheck the 'open shutter' box and set the exposure time to zero.
check the mulitiple exposure box and enter the number of biases you want to take.
Usually 20 is enough to get a good bias image. The image should have a semi-bright stip
down the center of the image.
DARKS ARE OPTIONAL!
We have discovered that some dark images have had unusually high counts and may cause problems
in your science images, especially if you are observing faint objects.
5 images for each eposure time that you have taken.
General Power Down
Move the telescope to 'service'
Give control to the padlle unit at the south pier by going to 'Maintenance' on the TCS
From south pier, close mirror covers, and slew the telescope to the final service position.
On the paddle hit 'activate' then choose high or low speed. While holding down the
limit switch, hit the declination button and slew the telescope south to final service
position, then rotate the dome to face East,
At observing platform, Raise the lower windscreen (only move upper windscreen at the end
of the run)
Close the dome shutter and turn off power to dome controls
Replace corrector lens cover
Turn off camera electronics
On Claudius, type 's' to turn off the telescope and 'dome off' to turn the dome off
Turn off the breakers in the dome and the hallway
Turn off the electronics box and all three computers in control room
Remove the 2 plugs from the UPS
Departing at End of Run
Make sure all data is copied everything onto a USB flash drive:
Claudius automatically backs up all data onto UTE2. at the end of the night simply copy all data onto a usb stick and you are good to go!
Make sure dome is stowed to the East
Turn off breaker switch in control room for water pump
Make sure doors are closed and locked
OLD METHOD OF DATA BACKUP
***EASIER TO USE USB METHOD OUTLINED ABOVE***
-Roxio Easy CD Creator 5 (on WIROPrime) -> Easy CD Creator
-click and drag < 700 MB of data to lower r.h. window
-'track at once' and 'finalize CD' (use 16x speed)
-xcdroast on Claudius
-Master Tracks (left column)
-de-select 'Display directories only' in File/Directory View window, so that you
can see the data files
-Drag & drop the desired files to the Session View window. You want to only
take 60-70 images, in order to not go beyond the 700 Mb CD limit
-Select the 'Create Session' tab (just above the File/Directory View window)
-Ensure that you are no higher than ~695 MB in order to not exceed space limitations
-Select 'Master to image file' (center-left column of stuff)
-Select ok on pop-up window
-Close pop-up window
-'Write Tracks' on far left column
-Drag & drop tracks from right side to left (track layout)
-Click on 'Accept Track Layout'
-Choose 'Write Tracks' button on the bottom
-Put CD in burner (the black drive)
*You will get an error message but if you mount the CD and look at it, the data should be there.
-log in as root
-'mount -v -t ext3 /dev/sda /work'
-sftp from Claudius
create directory if not there --> mkdir usbflash/
mount -t auto /dev/sda1 /mnt/usbflash
begin copying files into the usbflash directory
unmount /dev/sda1 /mnt/usbflash
However, since this is an older USB port it is excruciatingly slow. I suggest copying
the night/nights via scp from Claudiusto UTE2; each night takes about 1 min. then copy
the files onto the USB from UTE2. The speed of writing to a USB on UTE is 10 times faster
than copying from Claudius to USB. Example: one night on Claudius would take 15-20 min to
copy to USB; one night on UTE2 takes about 2 mins.
-->scp -r firstname.lastname@example.org:/home/observer/Sep* /home/observer/davec
zenith ..................................................... moves telescope to zenith and stays there
service .......................................... moves telescope to service position and stays there
nn ## ................................................. moves the telescope north in DEC ## arcseconds
ss ## ................................................. moves the telescope south in DEC ## arcseconds
ee ## .................................................... move the telescope east in RA ## arcseconds
ww ## .................................................... move the telescope west in RA ## arcseconds
icol ................................................... ...........computer will save current offsets
col.......................................................................erases any offset in the col
follow ## ....................................slews to and tracks to item ## in current loaded catalog
fixed xx.xx yy.yy .............................moves telescope to HA of xx.xxxxxx and DEC of yy.yyyyyy
fixed xx.xx yy.yy follow ................... .moves to RA of xx.xxxxxx and DEC of yy.yyyyyy and tracks
(Note: xx.xxxxxx is expressed in decimal hours and yy.yyyyyy is expressed in decimal degrees)
turn+ra turn-ra .................................................................... fixes lost turns
turn+dec turn-dec ................................................................... fixes lost turns
clrusr ............................................ clears user commands from the bottom of the screen
s ......................................................................... stop - turns telescope off
g ............................................................................ go - turns telescope on
dome init .......................................initializes dome azimuth to current telescope azimuth
dome on ...............................turns dome on so that it moves to the desired telescope azimuth
dome off ...............................................................................turns dome off
Humidity - 85%
Wind - Sustained 40 MPH winds
Center Pixel - [1077,1024]
for WySH work - [1024,1077]
Pixel Scale - 0.523 arcsec/pix
Moving to longer filter wavelength will require a decrease in focus
Rising humidity will require an increase in focus
Rising temperature will require a decrease in focus
Catalogs should be created in Claudius:/home/observer/wiro/catalogs/.
On Claudius do "catalog file.cat" :
-->"showall" lists all objects in the catalog
-->"follow #" moves the telescope to that object
The command line command (ie. not using "follow") for new position is
fixed RA DEC follow (in decimal hours and degrees).
Changing the Filter Wheel
There are currently three filter wheels for use at WIRO: #1 and #3 have 12 positions for 2$(B!I(B square filters,
#2 has 12 positions for 50mm square filters. When removing the filter wheel from the light box first make
sure that power is off to the compu-motors that move the focus and filter wheel. It is easier with two
people to remove the filter wheel and the person physically removing the wheel should be wearing latex gloves
to reduce the risk of smudging the filters.
1. Remove the rear and bottom panel from the light box.
2. Remove the bungees that supply tension and carefully remove the green belt that moves the focusing gear.
3. One person should pull back on the dewar giving maximum clearance for the second person to remove the
4. While sitting on the prime focus ring gently remove the three captured socket screws that hold the
filter wheel to the rotation disk. The wheel will need to be rotated to remove all three screws.
5. Carefully remove the filter wheel from the light box. Be careful of the light box itself, there is not
much clearance and unfortunately the filters pass close to the box and can easily be scratched.
6. When placing filters in the filter wheel be sure to place a 'paper frame' in before the filter to
prevent the filter from being scratched by the wheel itself. With latex gloves place the filter gently
into position and secure with the nylon set screws.
7. Place the filter wheel back in the light box. The filter wheel can only mount facing the right direction,
however there is a rotational degeneracy (3 possibilities). Align the filter wheel so the positions of
the filters(labeled on the wheel) match the positions at the tapped holes for the socket screws on the
8. Be sure to update the filters.txt (C:\filters.txt) file on the wiro_prime computer so the software will
know the current filters and respective position.
1. First find a field closest to zenith. Ex. bright star field near zenith(RA closet to LST and dec near 41).
However, a saturated star will not give a good collimation, so move the telescope so that the bright star is just outside the field of view.
2. Unfocus the camera by moving the filter focus by increments of 1 or 3 thousand until the stars look like a donut.
You will see a dark square with cross-hairs somewhere in the middle of the enlarged stars. There is a software limit of 10 thousand but
the physical limit is closer to 50 thousand. Just be careful not hit the physical limit because it will strip the focus mechanism or burn out its motor.
Usually 10-15 thousand will be sufficient to go out of focus.
3. Count the number of pixels from the outside of the box to the outside of the enlarged stars. Do this on all four sides of the square.
If the left and right and the up and down distances are eual (within a few pixels), then your collimation is good. If not go to the next step.
4. Before proceding, it is useful to know that the mirror on the bottom side sits on an air bag controled by an air pump (the high whinny sound in the dome)
which sits on 3 "hard points" controlled by adjustable screws and is held by three mirror clips on the reflective side (which can be seen when the
telescope is at the service postion). The mirror clips are at the south, north-east, and north-west poistions on the mirror.
However, the screws are located at slightly west-of-north, south-of-east, and south-of-west poistions.
5. Move main observing platform to be able to reach the collimating screws. Push "inboard" and "up" and white buttons simultaneously.
6. A general rule for collimation is that screwing in (clock-wise) will pull the box toward the direction of the screw and unscrewing (counter-clockwise)
will have the oposite effect. There is a catch: sometimes when changing a screw's postion it may move the mirror so that it is not touching one of
the other screws. So make sure that all of the screws are at least touching the mirror before turning any screw. You can tell this if you can
unscrew a screw, by-hand, without any resistance. The screw is just touching the mirror when you tighten a screw with this behavior until you feel
resistance, all by-hand. The opposite worry is screwing in too far and forcing the mirror against the mirror clips. If this happens you will not be
able to predict what result the turn of a screw will have since the screws are not located at the edge of the mirror and they are now a third class lever.
If the mirror is against the clips call Jim for help!
7. Turns are ussually on the order of 1/4 to 1 full turn. Turning a screw more than 1 turn is usually a drastic change and is not recomended unless
you know the exact location of the mirror relative to its physical limitations. The screws are 24 threads per inch. Turn the screws, usually 1 position
at a time, until you have gradually moved the box quantitatively into the center of the enlarged stars. Make sure you keep note of what turns you have made
and what effect they have had on the collimation. DO NOT try to do this in your head, you will end up in a worse position than when you started very quickly without notes.
8. Don't hesitate to call for help if you are confused. Collimation is very difficult without experience and could take you the entire night.
NOTE: There is a limited range on each screw, if it starts to get tight and hard to turn - STOP!!!
The primary mirror may be pinched against the mirror clips. If it gets sloppy loose - STOP!!! there may be nothing supporting the mirror.
NOTE: As of Fall 2007, Jim has a standard, but relative set of collimation screw adjustments
that he executes during every instrument change. This means observers should have little if
any adjustments to make to the collimation on their own. If you do decide to make any such
adjustments, RECORD ALL YOUR COLLIMATION SCREW MOVEMENTS so that your adjustments can be reversed
when the next instrument change occurs.