Sky Survey for ACP

This Sky Survey application for ACP offers the user an automated method for data acquisition for four functions:
1) SuperNova survey
2) Minor Planet survey
3) Minor Planet followup
4) Stellar Lightcurve data capture

The tasks for the functions above can be described thus:

1) Take as many as possible of these each night, storing each night's results for comparison with the previous night's.
2) Take three images of each fov in the survey area at 30 minute intervals.
3) Take a single set (configurable number) of images of the target.
4) Take a set of images of the target at a configurable interval through the night.


Each function can be enabled or disabled at will.
Each function will have its own target list, but the best from all enabled functions will be selected.
Each function will store images into a discrete dir tree with dates and targets directories, e.g.:
-SNe
--NGC7625
---20070823
---20070824
---20070826
--NGC435
---20070823
---20070826
-MPS
--20070823
--20070826
-MPF
--20070823
-SLC
--Algol
---20070826

Usage:

The sky survey application has a global preferences, in addition each of survey functions has its own setup screen.
The global app preferences allow the configuration of a number of common settings:
- The autofocus period
- The base directory into which the image directories are placed
- The mount slew rate in degrees per second
- The time taken by the mount for a flip, if a GEM
- There is an option to configure the max alt and az ranges to image within, supporting very obstructed fields of view

Each of the specific survey function setup screens are detailed below:

SuperNova Survey Setup:
- Exposure duration
- Camera Binning
- Camera filter selection
- Camera subframe fraction

MinorPlanet Survey Setup:
- Exposure duration
- Camera Binning
- Camera filter selection
- Images to take of each survey field each night
- Interval between images of each field
- Camera RA field of view in arcmin
- Camera Dec field of view in arcmin

MinorPlanet Followup Setup:
- Not yet implemented

Stellar Lightcurve Setup:
- Exposure duration
- Camera Binning
- Camera filter selection
- Camera subframe fraction
- Exposures to take of target in one go
- Minimum fraction of transit elevation to image target

For the SuperNova and Stellar Lightcurve surveys, the target list file follows a similar format
Each target is listed in standard ACP notation:
Target_Name (tab) Target_RA (tab) Target_Dec
then each is followed by a target status line, which always starts with "****" and contain a number of state elements.
The SuperNova survey target status line contains just the last image time, used for ensuring each target is imaged only once per night.
The Stellar Lightcurve target status line also contains a series of per-target configuration items, allowing each target to be given custom settings
These are: priority, interval, exposure, binning, filter.
The priority is normalized to a value of 100, higher values indicate higher priorities.
Whilst the default values for exposure, binning and filter are set in the GUI, the priority and interval have fixed defaults of 100 and 60 respectively, so if different values are required they must be editted in the targets file directly.
An example target line and target status line for a Stellar Lightcurve target is:

XTri 02h00m33.8s +2753'19"
**** lastImageJD=2454364.77510417 priority=100 interval=60 exposure=60 binning=2 filter=Clear

Settings on the target status lines override those on the general Stellar Lightcurve setup page.

For the Minor Planet surveys, the target file contains just the sky areas to be surveyed - the app automatically constructs the target files for the individual fields
Each sky area is listed on a seperate line as a start RA and Dec followed by the end RA and Dec, seperated by spaces, e.g.:
00h00m00s +2100'00" 05h00m00s +2500'00"

The ACP Sky Survey app will generate a log file in the ACP default log directory, showing details of the target selection process.

The targets for the invididual survey functions are read from a set of files which should be located in the same directory as the ACPSurvey executable.
The filenames to be used are:

Supernovae search = SNeTargets.txt
Minor Planet search = MPSTargets.txt
Minor Planet followup = MPFTargets.txt (Not yet implemented)
Stellar LightCurve = SLCTargets.txt

For the SNe and SLC files, be sure to use the standard ACP format for the target lines, using tabs to separate the coordinates. For theMPS file, use spaces to separate the coordinates.
A set of sample files is available for download here: SampleTargetFiles


Data Processing:

Supernova Survey: This generates image files into a nightly directory under the target ID directory. The easiest way to review the SNe search images is to use the SNFinder app written by Joerg Hanish. It can be dowloaded from here.
Minor Planet Survey: This generates image files into a nightly directory. A single night's images can simply be dragged into Visual Pinpoint which will process them and automatically detect moving objects and allow an MPC report to be created.
Stellar Lightcurve: This generates image files into a nightly directory under the target ID directory. These images can be photometrically processed in MaximDL with the resulting data fed into a period analysis program for variability period determination.

Known Issues:

The Minor Planet Follow function currently disabled, it needs more work on deciphering orbital elements.

Version history:
v1.0 - Initial beta release.
v1.1 - Fixes unresponsiveness while script running. Adds option to kill current target on stopping.
v1.2 - Implements weather safety checking, will not start a new image until the weather becomes safe.
v1.3 - Fix to actually use the set count configured for a SLC target.
v1.4 - Change to prefer targets in the west, since those will set first. Detect if ACP failed to complete imaging the selected target, in which case the targets file is not changed.

ACPSurvey v1.4

If you download this to give it a go, please post feedback on the ACP forum, or email me directly at: winfij_AT_gmail_DOT_com
One final note - if you have any errors, please note the exact error messages and let me know!

Regards,
John

 

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