Prepping for open house Edit

  • Unlock the main entrance (use card on keypad inside the door).
  • Red lights in lobby and stairway.
  • In the control room, turn on the Telescope computer (right monitor, top machine in the rack, called Telescope). Log in as Observer.
  • Open and log in to the ACE software on the Telescope computer.
  • Start the TeamViewer software on the Telescope computer. Note the ID that TeamViewer gives, and the password is on the bulletin board in the control room. You'll want to bring this info up to the dome with you.
  • Ensure control room is locked before heading up into dome.

Setting up dome / telescope Edit

  • Make sure both doors leading from main stairway to dome are propped open.
  • Red lights for dome stairs, white lights in dome for set up.
  • Remove mirror covers from 24" and 6" telescopes. Can use the yellow/black hand controls (hold SLEW/SET and use directions to move) to raise or lower the telescope if it helps, but do NOT slew too low!! Should be standing on the top couple steps of the mobile stairs!
  • Using short yellow-handled screwdriver, remove CCDs and equip eyepieces if necessary. Can also slew telescope up slightly to assist here. HIGHLY recommended to have assistance for removing/equipping eyepieces or CCDs!! Have someone hold the eyepiece or camera in place carefully while placing or removing screws!
  • Log in to the dome computer. Then start TeamViewer and enter the ID of the Telescope computer as "Partner ID". Enter the password when asked, and you should now be able to control ACE from up in the dome!
  • Go to the Instruments > Filter Wheel menu and make sure all filters are off ("CLEAR").
  • Open the dome using the wall unit on the south side of the dome (underneath the front of the telescope when it is at Mirror Cover Park).
  • Change dome lights from white to red for observing. Optionally: turn off all dome lights and open the Instruments > Filter Wheel menu. The "relay box" tab will control the dome lights from the laptop as long as the physical switches are OFF.

Operating the telescope Edit

  • Enter RA and Dec for target (can use Stellarium for moon/planets, or built-in Messier catalog for deep sky objects) and click "GO TO". Check the altitude of the target to ensure it is not too low (ABOVE 10-15 degrees!). Confirm and let the telescope slew to target.
  • **Always ensure that mobile stairs and visitors are clear of telescope before moving**
  • Move dome manually as necessary. If the dome gets stuck in one direction, try the other ("the long way"). Optionally: enable "auto-dome" feature in ACE.
  • **Always ensure (announce) that visitors are not leaning on the dome before moving**
  • Observe through the eyepiece.
  • If necessary, use the hand paddle to manually "SET" or "SLEW" the telescope to center the object in the field of view. The RA/Dec tend to center objects relatively well in the 24" but not necessarily the 6".
  • Focusing:
    • 24" -- open the Telescope > Focus menu. For the eyepiece, set the focus to around 160000 or 170000 to start with. Then JOG+ or JOG- the focus by a few hundred at a time until the image is well focused. It helps to have another volunteer look through the eyepiece as you focus, to avoid running back and forth.
    • 6" -- focus manually by moving the eyepiece in and out like the other small telescopes. If you can't get an object focused this way, you may need to operate the electronic focus first. Turn on the power strip that's secured to the underside of the 24" and use the "In" and "Out" buttons on the device's controller, usually located near the yellow hand-paddle that controls the 24".
  • If a target is very high in the sky, there is a second "side" eyepiece on the 24" that you can switch to by flipping the hand lever located near the 24" eyepiece. This side eyepiece can be easily focused using the focus wheels at its base, or by sliding the eyepiece in and out like the 6" and other small telescopes.

Closing down Edit

  • Manually switch the white lights on in the dome.
  • Set the telescope to mirror cover park (Telescope > Mirror Cover Park). Close dome and rotate until mirror covers are nearest to the mouth of the telescope.
  • Cover both telescopes. The 24" cover can usually take some work. Do not be too timid to knock one side in. Have also had luck with the cover fitting in nicer with the handle pointed to about 1 o'clock... but no promises.
  • Make sure all lights are unchecked in the "Relay Box" tab of the Filter Wheel menu if used.
  • Close TeamViewer and shut down the dome computer.
  • Shut off all lights in the dome and seal the dome door (the "fridge" door).
  • In the control room, close the ACE software and log off of the Telescope computer. Make sure the control room is locked when leaving
  • Make sure to lock main entrance. Shut off all stairway/lobby lights.
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