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Prepping for open house Edit

  • Unlock the main entrance.
  • Red lights in lobby and stairway.
  • In the control room, turn on the ACE computer (right monitor, top machine in the rack), log in as Observer.
  • Open and log in to the ACE software.
  • 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!
  • Use the dome computer to VNC into the ACE computer (info on bulletin board in control room).
  • 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"). For open houses, don't bother with the "auto-dome" feature in ACE when you can manually control while in the dome.
  • **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".
  • To focus the 24", open the Telescope > Focus menu. For the eyepiece, set the focus to around 160000 or 165000 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. For the 6", focus manually by moving the eyepiece in and out like the 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 VNC Viewer and disconnect laptop.
  • Shut off all lights in the dome and seal the dome door (the "fridge" door).
  • Close ACE software and log off of the computer in control room. Make sure control room is locked when leaving
  • Make sure to lock main entrance (push-bar should be out/usable). Shut off all stairway/lobby lights.

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