UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA OBSERVATORIES / LICK OBSERVATORY
GUIDER CONTROL & MONITORING
For a detailed description of each option, click on its widget in the windows illustrated below.
guider control windows
The top-level Guider Control window offers choices of guiding algorithms and guider functions, display options, and all user-configurable guide parameters. The second level monitors current guider actions and provides a recent history in the form of continuously updating plots of key guiding behaviors.


GUIDE CHOICES
guider choices
Guiding Algorithms:
Stop Guiding: Suspend guiding, i.e., stop sending instructions to the telescope to make corrections.
Start [] Guiding (balanced reticles): Begin guiding using an algorithm which seeks to balance the flux in Left/Right and Top/Bottom reticles respectively. This algorithm will center an object on the reticle and try to hold it there. The algorithm works best for symmetrical targets such as stars.
Start [] Guiding (fixed ratio reticles): Begin guiding using an algorithm which seeks to maintain the flux ratios measured in the Left/Right and Top/Bottom reticles respectively when guiding is initiated. This algorithm tries to hold an object on the reticles at the position at the time guiding is started. The algorithm allows one to guide on asymmetrical or off-center targets.
Start Guiding with profile fitting: Begin guiding using the "profile guiding" algorithm. This is them most sophisticated of the guiding algorithms. It measures the flux across rows and across columns in the Left/Right and Up/Down reticles respectively, fitting a parabola to each measurement to determine the object's centroid and its distance from the center of the reticles.

Using this information, the algorithm computes the appropriate size and direction of the telescope move needed to make any necessary correctons. Profile fitting works best on symmetrical targets. Note that when guiding in a slit with only the wings of the object visible, this algorithm interpolates across the slit to fit the parabola.

Reticle and Star Motions:
Center reticle on star: With the at least some of the object already in the reticle, this option centers the reticle on the object.
Move star to guide reticle: After selecting this option a box appears instructing the user to left-click on the target object in the image display. The telescope is then automatically moved to bring the object onto the reticle. This option requires that the correct plate scale entered under Guide Parameters.
Move star to selected location: After selecting this option a box appears instructing the user to left-click on the target object in the image display, then to click again on a location in the display. The telescope is then automatically moved to place the selected target at the new location. This option requires that the correct plate scale entered under Guide Parameters.
Focusing tools:
Check star focus: A number represents the sum of the instantaneous derivatives along the light-intensity curve. You can track this value for optimal focus.
Check slit focus:

SHOW/HIDE RETICLES & MARKERS
show/hide buttons
Show/Hide Guide Cells, Sky, & Compass: Allows guide cells (reticles), sky box, and compass rose to be displayed or hidden on the image.
Markers: Clicking on "Markers" displays a pulldown menu from which up to twelve crosshair markers may be selected for display on the image. A marker, once displayed, may be dragged around the image. Markers are distinguished by color and by a number (0-11) displayed next to the crosshair. Markers' locations are preserved.

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GUIDE PARAMETERS
guide parameters
Sigma Threshold: Sets the comparative flux in the guide reticles and sky box, in standard deviations, below which the guider assumes no object to be present on the reticle and suspends guiding. This feature is useful if, for example, passing clouds cause the guiding object to become very faint or disappear.
Repeat Count: Sets the number of consecutive times the guide object must meet the criteria for a telescope correction, before that correction is made. This feature helps to prevent guiding on noise such as rapid, random deviations due to seeing. A repeat count of 2 seems to be a good default, but the best value for this parameter may vary with sky conditions.
Maximum Ratio: For balanced reticle guiding, this sets the maximum allowable deviation from the "Minimum Ratio" (usually 0.50) before the guider will consider that a correction is needed. A maximum ratio only slightly larger than the minimum, e.g., 0.51, might cause overguiding. A maximum ratio of 0.55 seems to be a good default, but the best value for this parameter may vary with sky conditions.

This parameter is ignored when using the profile fitting guide algorithm.

Minimum Ratio: This value is generally set to 0.50. It is ignored when using the profile fitting guide algorithm.
E/W & N/S sign: These values are analogous to the "guide matrix" of the old guiders. E/W and N/S pertain to directions on the sky; Row and Column pertain to directions on the display.

Signs should set themselves correctly, provided the version of the guider appropriate to the telescope, focus, and instrument has been chosen at startup Where a TUB diagonal mirror is part of the system, the correct values for these parameters will depend on whether the mirror is in or out. This should be automatically sensed by the guider and the appropriate signs applied.

If guide objects are being driven out of the reticles, an error in one of more of these signs is a prime suspect.

E, W, N, & S Backlash: These parameters are meant to overcome backlash by providing an additional push on the first correction following a change in direction. They are primarily intended for the CAT declination axis, where backlash is severe.
Fixed Movement: This sets the size of the move, given in pixels on the display (except in the case of the CAT where miliseconds of motor engagement are used), that the telescope will make to effect a correction.

This parameter is ignored when using the profile fitting guide algorithm, which determines the size of the move based on data from the guide object.

Scale: This sets the plate scale for a given telescope/focus/instrument setup, and also, in some cases, for the position of the diagonal mirror. These values should be automatically set, provided the version of the guider appropriate to the telescope, focus, and instrument has been chosen at startup

DO NOT change these values.

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GUIDING INFORMATION
guiding info
Guide Motion Indicator: The appropriate black triangle in the box on the left turns red while the guider is moving the telescope in that direction. This box and the behavior of the star in the image display are the best indications that the guider is working properly.
Guide Tendancy:
Reticle Counts: Displays instantaneous total flux in each of the four boxes of the guide reticle, the sum of all four boxes, and the flux in the sky box.

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GUIDING HISTORY PLOTS
guiding history plots

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HISTORY PLOT CHOICES
guiding plot choices