MMTCam Observing Guidelines
- Always be sure crunchmmtcam and archivemmtcam are running (green)
- ALWAYS SELECT the CORRECT PROGRAM and PI in the mmtcam gui
- Observe with PRE-FLASH, BINBY2, and NO overscan (unless requested otherwise).
- Take 10 BIASes.
- Take 10 DARKs.
- Obtain a set of g,r,i,z evening SKY FLATS once per f/5 run.
- Note: do not use special characters like - or . or _ or # in filenames.
- Note: do not slew until readout is complete.
MMTCam Operating Manual
Turn on the computer long. (long is on SAO internal net, accessible via clark and lewis).
Login to Long (the windows data acquistion computer for mmtcam)
- Goto a clean workspace on clark (or lewis) (i.e. not used for spec, chelle or swirc operations)
- Create both an xterm (for vnc access to long) and an xgterm for future ds9/imexam work as follows:
Run MMTCAM software
- Starting MMTCam Script - from a cygwin window:
- installed version
- previous version
- new version (for testing)
- test version when wfc not running (e.g. during SWIRC or off telescope).
- A small GUI will appear (screenshot TBD) with green/red status indicators for various
server connections, as well as a drop-box for selecting the correct PI/Program for each observation.
- ALWAYS start crunchproc and archiveproc (press these buttons if they are not green)
- Start MaximDL from the mini-telescope icon on the bottom of the frame or from the Windows Start menu in the lower left corner
- Minimize (but don't close) the cygwin windows.
- Power on Apogee Camera
- Ensure that the Apogee Camera is powered on. There is a power button at the top of the mmtcam gui (alternatively it can be controlled from the telescope operator station: WAVESERV Motion Control window -> Power -> Apogee)
- If power is on but ICRON Ranger shows no link, verify that fibers are properly arranged on the patch panel.
Connect to camera:
- ctrl-w or View -> Camera Control Window. Setup tab. -> Connect
- Camera 1 box should read "Apogee USB/Net" and Filter should read "Optec IFW"
If incorrect (e.g., Simulator mode set), do Disconnect--> Setup Camera / Setup Filter
--> Choose correct values from selector box(es). --> Ok --> Connect
- ctrl-t or View -> Observatory Control Window. Setup tab -> Connect All
Turn on CCD thermoelectric cooler:
- Set temp setpoint : Camera Control Window -> Setup tab -> Camera 1 -> Cooler
- Turn cooler on : Camera Control Window -> Setup tab -> Coolers (area) -> On
Note: Temperature set point should be checked from time to time. Software sometimes resets it.
Note: The camera, during testing, frequently seemed unwilling to go to the desired setpoint (-20C) and would instead display a window "Temperature Setpoint Revised". If this happens, wait a little and try setting the setpoint back. Camera firmware does not like to see cooler operating above 90% of max capacity. -20C may not be reachable when WFS environment is above 20C. Working the TE Cooler at high capacity adds more heat to local environment.
Camera Settings: Camera Control Window -> 1) Expose tab -> 2) Options (little arrow) -> 3) Camera Settings
- Adjust fan speed: Camera Settings -> Fan Setting (set to HIGH)
- For 1x1 binning ONLY, overscan is set in: Camera Settings -> Advanced Settings / "Configure..." -> Digitize Overscan
Note: If stuck in Guide tab getting Error pop-up "Enter value between -90 and 90": disconnect the telescope in the Observatory Control, zero out the Scope Dec in the Guide tab, and then re-connect with the telescope.
Note: Files are automatically saved in data directory /e/data/mmtcam/ with patched header cards for F5 compatibility.
Note: If file saving/transfering stops working (with messages of the form "timeout ## dopostproc-..."),
CTRL-C out of mmtcam.go script, and restart.
For other types of file-saving errors, it may still be necessary to close and re-launch Maxim from the start menu.
Note that re-launching Maxim will result in 15-20 min of lost data until the thermal electric coolers stabilize.
Note: Files which were not successfully copied into /e/data/mmtcam may be recoverable from /e/tmp, however they will not have a proper F5 header.
Set up exposure sequence (Camera Control window -> Expose tab -> Autosave button):
- SELECT the correct Program and PI in mmtcam GUI (*archiveproc* must be running to get these tables)
- Do not change; data directory is automatically created /e/data/mmtcam/20XX.XXX.
- Set Delay First=1 and Delay Between=0.
- Type in filename prefix in Autosave Filename box. Do NOT use . or - or _ or # in filename. NOTE For object exposures the final filename that appears on clark and lewis is overwritten to match the catalog name. This is necessary to maintain the schedule bookkeeping.
- Select exposure "slots" (and make sure to select Options -> Group By Slot).
- Select image type (Light, Bias, Dark).
- Select filter (u g r i z).
- Type in exposure time (seconds).
- Select binning (note: overscan works in binby1 ONLY. To turn on binning, turn off overscan in Options -> camera settings -> configure, then cycle between single and autosave modes to get binning selectable).
- Turn pre-flash on/off using Readout Mode.
- Select how many exposures with "Repeat".
- ("script" not used.)
- NOTE Dithering via the mosaic control seems to be working fine. But the telescope paddle is still available for manual dithering - but it seems unlikely you'll need to use this.
- Dithering is enabled by clicking the "Capture" check-box within the "Mosaic" part of the Autosave window.
- Click "Setup" next to this box to configure a dither/mosaic pattern. There are boxes to input number of tiles in width (W) and height (H), and dither size in each direction.
- NOTE that step size is specified in arcminutes!
- If this box is configured for, e.g., a 2x2 mosaic, it will take a total of four exposures for each of the items selected in the Autosave dialog box. For example, to repeat a whole pattern once, set "Repeats" to 2.
- IMPORTANT Currently, the software DOES NOT return the telescope to its initial position after a mosaic is completed. It seems that a 3x3 pattern may move back to the center position for its final dither step, but this is not extensively tested.
- Telescope Sync: When using Maxim's mosaicing controls the telescope motion is synced with the camera so that Maxim waits for the telescope to arrive in position before starting an exposure. The software has been updated to correctly update the RA and Dec for mosaiced exposures.
- Sequencing Use the Options -> "Group by Slot" configuration (see item 4 in the manual) to expose all the mosaic positions for each specified filter (rather than exposing all the filters at each mosaic position).
Take exposures: Go back to the Camera Control window -> Expose tab -> click "Start."
For Telescope Operator:
- To put Camera in position:
- Servo ON (power window),
- click SciCam (WAVESERV Motion Control window),
- Servo OFF.
- Camera focus is -40 micron from the Hecto WFS focus value. (All 5 filters share the same focus to within 10 micron.) (*Unless* operating with SWIRC where the camera focus is +1120 microns)
Turn cooling off: Camera Control window -> Setup -> Coolers (area) -> Warm (wait 10 minutes) -> Off
- from camera/filter wheel: Camera Control window -> Setup -> Disconnect
- from telescope/focuser: Telescope Control window -> Setup -> Disconnect
Close MaxIm DL.
MaximDL Options and Settings
The following items should be set automatically to the desired values, but here we document where they are in the MaximDL parameter entry dialogs:
- Required default image save directory:
The current MMTCam architecture requires that images be saved in a subdirectory of the E:\tmp directory so that they will automatically be queued for transmission to CfA. This is controlled by the first 3 menu items in the Autosave Setup window options menu. Set the path using "Set Image Save Path ...", then Check Auto-Subfolder and Check "New Subfolder at > Noon.
This value should be set to 1 hundredth of a second. Simply entry 1 in the hundredths box and press close to save the value.
Target Schedule and Parameters
- For 2013A we are planning to have the hecto schedule include the MMTCAM observations. This is just a beta version of MMTCAM scheduling - and may involve auxilliary files to define the dithering requirements not normally included in hecto configurations. These are the pieces we expect to be supplied at the MMT.
- Observing Catalog
This will be prepared and submitted to the telescope operator the "normal way"
The MMTCam observations should appear in the hecto schedule and will provide the target name (which should match an entry in the observing catalog), exposure times, filter, etc.
- Dither Notes
The observer will also supply the desired dither information. Fields must be dithered to allow creation of a SuperFlat for data reductions. This appears to be the only viable option for creating a flat field for MMTCAM.
The dither instructions will (likely) consist of the size of the grid (e.g. 9 = 3x3 grid, 4 = 2x2 grid) and a dither step size. See "Dither Instructions" above for how to enable/configure dithering.
- Schedule Bookkeeping and Filenaming
To allow the scheduler to update the bookkeeping each night, the new mmtcam software will override the MaximDL filename entered in the GUI with the Telescope Target name (aka Object, aka CAT-ID ) whenever a "Light" exposure is taken. Other exposure types (for the moment) will retain the MAXIM-DL name.
- The PI is responsible for having submitted an observing catalog to "mmtobs"
- PLEASE - select the correct Program/PI settings from the button at the top of the MMTCam GUI
- This is required for data distribution and scheduling!
- If the programs or PIs do not appear - be sure archiveproc is running (or restart it) to update the table from clark.
- To orient MMTCam so that North is up on images, the telescope PA should be commanded to -142, or possibly 180 degrees away at +38 for targets high in the North sky (*Needs checking*).
Starting Support Servers and GUIs
From the mmtcam GUI you have buttons to start these servers:
And the ability to start these F5 interfaces on clark
- mountdisplay (on hudson for visibility)
- ds9, imexam and the comment tool and the paddle have been configured to run on Clark in a manner analagous to spec and chelle
- by default they will appear in the main workspace
- manually move them to a new (mmtcam) workspace (where the vnc to long is running?)
- Create an xgterm window
- su - mmtcam in the xgterm window (same password as spec and chelle)
- This should automatically connect with ds9mmtcam
- Please enter comments in the comment tool for mmtcam - a report will be autogenerated at the end of the night.
- This paddle GUI will be needed for dithering - and also allows telescope focus adjustments
- A mmtcam version of mountdisplay runs on the hudson status window for easier viewing during mmtcam (especially dithering)
By default mmtcam does not use lewis. However if you wish to do any ds9 and imexam type of operations on earlier images you may configure a workspace on lewis as mmtcam and do the following:
- Create an xgterm - and login as mmtcam
- Run "dods9" to bring up a "lewis" ds9
- Start the iraf cl and run imexam - it should connect with the local ds9
- Images should be automatically transferred to /data/crunch/MMTCAM/<datedir> and are available for examination or processing.
Viewing Data on Clark
- When archiveproc is running the latest prog.db with programs and PIs is transferred to long and accessible in mmtcam.
- When crunchproc is running each exposure will be automatically copied from long to /data/crunch/MMTCAM/<datedir>.
- When both crunchproc and "ds9mmtcam* are running - each exposure should appear in this ds9 display.
- If crunchproc is not running the mmtcam gui will continually try to re-connect and transfer the data. This "spin cycle" often makes system response quite sluggish.
- long is a windows box and can get itself into an "unhappy" state which periodically requires a reboot
MMTCam - What's New March 2013A
- Open Issues & New Features
- MMTCAM power
Camera appears to generate a new emission line in Hectospec data at 8444A. Wrapping hasn't seemed to help. Power off USB extender - control via waveserv pmac? Actually single power relay for Apogee camera, filter wheel controller and USB fiber extender - power down also means "warm-up" of camera. Currently controlled from Telescope Operators WaveFront interface. (Open Issue)
- Telescope syncing
Telescope motions are properly waited for in mosaic mode because this is built into the radecoffset command in the telescope server. Offsets will not be waited for in manual paddle mode - but are sufficiently fast that its probably not an issue. Don't expect this to be an issue - please notify if any motions visible
- There is no longer an MMTCam script Windows icon
- New startup script (installed in ~mmtcam/bin) for running the software. It checks for and kills older versions that are running and also logs the output:
- dommtcam for standard operations.
- dooldmmtcam for reverting to the previous version of installed software
- donewmmtcam for testing out a new release
- Header Updates
- The DARKCUR, GAIN, RDNOISE values from the calibration report have been inserted in the header (3/18/13)
- The "dommtcam" software now installed will correctly record CRVAL (Ra and Dec) keywords for mosaiced images. All data as of 2013B (5/1/13) should have accurate RA and Dec values.
- Focus Adjustments
- The mmtcam paddle now has entries for tweaks to the telescope focus
- The focus controls in the AS/COM driver have not been implemented - so in fact there is no focus adjustment possible from Maxim (despite the configuration / connect entries)
- Dithering (Mosaicing) Working (5/1/13)
- New interface and F5 system integration (See "Science Observing" notes at bottom of this page)
- dommtcam script now brings up a "mini-gui"
- Has familiar buttons for restarting standard system processes:
- Has a program/pi selector button at top. PLEASE be sure to select the relevant PI - which enables proper data distribution and scheduling. (*requires that archiveproc is running*)
- Has 3 "WaveServ" buttons at top for powering camera up/down and also to show status of stages - i.e. whether camera is deployed in the telescope beam
- automatic data transfer to lewis and clark (/data/crunch and /data/archive) and SAO
- Auto Image display - ds9 has been moved to ds9mmtcam on clark with imexam support
- Comment tool support on clark
- Mount Disply - mmtcam has its own copy of the mount GUI - so that it can moved to the "mmtcam" workspace and easily monitored during mmtcam observations - and the hecto copy can stay on the main screen.
- Observation Scheduling will be included with the hecto schedule and "fld" tables and dither instructions will be provided for each target - details below under "Science Observing"
- "Object" (Light) exposure filenames will be overwritten with the Target name from the telescope to support the schedule bookkeeping.