RIT Observatory Automation and Data Pipeline Project

heavyweightuttermostMechanics

Nov 5, 2013 (4 years and 3 days ago)

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_______________

RIT Observatory

Data Pipeline & Automation Project:

Summer Research

______________________


Presented by:

Kevin Beaulieu & Dustin Crabtree

CIS South Pole Involvement



CARA has pioneered the operation of
telescopes in Antarctica.


Advantage

»
Dry, cold weather ideal for IR astronomy


Disadvantages:

»
Harsh climate results in few astronomers begging to visit Antarctica.

»
Few understand how to process the data obtained.



Solution:

RIT CIS in 1999 built a pipeline to provide
uniform data products to the world astronomy community


However the pipeline was far from efficient…

Motivations for

RIT Observatory Project



Objective of Summer Based on the CIS Astronomy
Pipeline Project


RIT Observatory Data Pipeline and Automation Project

serves as a local

model
’ for South Pole astronomy



Ultimate Goals:



1. Images obtained remotely with ease


2. Data reduction accurate and timely


3. Find and report “roadblocks” in process


4. Apply lessons learned from this experience (and the 1999
SPIREX/Abu program) to a next generation IR telescope

How it relates to Imaging Science...


Imaging Science:



The body of knowledge resulting from our ability to detect
and display information in visual formats.



We have all necessary components in process:


Input, System, Output



Imaging System Analysis Goals:

»
Improve efficiency of system

»
Provide user with automatic tools with
minimal

maintenance and user intervention



RIT Observatory Facility


10” Meade Schmidt
-
Cassegrain telescope
mounted on Astro Pier



5
-
meter Ash Dome

RIT Observatory Facility


CCD camera


1530 x 1020 pixels


FOV: 0.4 degrees


Four filters: B, V, R, I


2nd smaller array:


used for tracking


read out in “binned”
mode


CCDops Software





Image Capture


Interface connecting
Dell computer to
telescope


Automation Project

(Ideal)

Dome Automation


Assisted in Dome Circuitry Analysis



Circuitry housed in a NEMA protective
box



Became familiar with PSpice™
Schematics© software


TASS Mark IV Data Pipeline



The pipeline is designed for use with the Mark IV prototype camera used by the
Amateur Sky Survey, but has been adapted for use by the RIT Observatory



The pipeline processes an entire data set
automatically
. The Data Reduction
Pipeline operates through several steps in order to reduce the data:



Reference Catalogue

-





Dark Image

-





Flat Field Image





Image Cleaning





Find and Measure Stars




Astrometry

-


Astronomical Image Acquisition


Participated in several nights at the Observatory for image
acquisition



Assembled a
well
-
documented binder

for future reference


Motives for Researching Selected Objects


Brief Description of Data Pipeline


Separate Sections for Each Night’s Observations

»
Meticulous Logs

»
Sample Images

»
Plots
-

Julian Date Vs. Magnitude, Julian Date Vs. Background,
Julian Date Vs. Full Width at Half Max

Motives for Researching Selected Objects



ST Virgo
-

Variable Star


Berkeley 87
-

Star Cluster


2001 KP41
-

Asteroid


756 Lilliana
-

Asteroid


WZ Sagittae
-

Cataclysmic Variable Binary Star System



Unknown
-

Eclipsing Binary Star System


ST Virgo






Focus of Research in June/Early July


Pulsating Variable Star


Objective:


Selected as a target to learn more about the entire image
acquisition and data reduction processes


“Roadblocks” in Observatory Automation Project noted as
astronomical data was collected and analyzed



ST Virgo Data


Proof of Variability

Magnitude Vs. ID Number

ST Virgo Data


June 28, 2001: Cloud Cover Example


Magnitude Vs. ID Number

Sky Vs. ID Number

Berkeley 87






Star Cluster


Objective:


Used as a target while the Observatory’s 10
-
inch Meade
telescope Schmidt
-
Cassegrain telescope was tested for
slew accuracy


COMPLETE automation will require telescope to
accurately move from one object to another


WZ Sagittae

(sah
-
JIT
-
ee)


Cataclysmic Variable Binary Star System



Objective:


Help in a global effort to determine its period during a
RARE SUPER
-
OUTBURST display


»
Theory
: By analyzing the light curves, humps are
found in the plots that suggest that the larger secondary
star is transferring mass to the smaller, yet denser white
dwarf.

WZ Sge Light Curve from 2001 Super
-
Outbursts

(from




)

WZ Sge Data:

Magnitude Vs. Julian Date

July 26

August 4

August 7

Unknown Eclipsing Binary Star System


We

noticed that a star within the FOV of WZ Sge was
changing brightness over the course of his shift at the
Observatory.



Collecting and analyzing data (plotting light curves) to find out
more

Unknown System’s Light Curve

Magnitude Vs. Phase

Challenges


Telescope and Camera Automation


Dome Control

»
Weather
-

open, close

»
Alignment with telescope


Telescope DOES NOT have a memory


Need
automatic

focus


Data Pipeline


Automating reduction process (as soon as data arrives in
archive)


Data Storage Limits

Conclusion


RIT Observatory summer research has been a start
to building the local ‘
model
’ for the South Pole.



Experimental Design:


Creation of a pilot software package is underway.


Data Acquisition:


The Dome Automation Project will continue into the fall of 2001.


Data Reduction:


Most of the major problems of the Data Pipeline have been
addressed.


Archiving:


A universally accessible storage area for raw/cleaned images and
processed data has been created.
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