Software and Cyberinfrastructure for Astronomy II. Proceedings of the SPIE vol:8451 pages:2C-2C8
Astronomical telescopes and instrumentation
Software and Cyberinfrastructure for Astronomy II date:July 2012
We have developed an observing scheduling and archive system for the 1.2 meter Mercator Telescope. The goal was to optimize the specific niche of this modern small telescope in observational astrophysics: the building-up of long-term time series of photometric or high-resolution spectroscopic data with appropriate sampling for any given scientific program. This system allows PIs to easily submit their technical requirements and keep track of the progress of the observing programmes. The scheduling system provides the observer with an optimal schedule for the night which takes into account the current observing conditions as well as the priorities and requirements of the programmes in the queue. The observer can conveniently plan an observing night but also quickly adapt it to changing conditions. The archiving system automatically processes new files as they are created, including reduced data. It extracts the metadata and performs the normalization. A user can query, inspect and retrieve observing data. The progress of individual programmes, including timeline and reduced data plots can be seen at any time. Our MESA project is based on free and open source software (FOSS) using the Python programming language. The system is fully integrated with the Mercator Observing Control System1 (MOCS).