User's Guide to the Nickel 1-m Telescope

Table of Contents

Hardware Overview
Light Path
Diagonal Mirror
Arc & Flat-field Lamps
Filter and Aperture Wheels
Dew Sensor
Sofware Overview
Web/Video Cameras
Target Of Opportunity (TOO)
Observing Hints
Remote Operations

Data Archive
Mt. Hamilton Homepage


Naux_fe is a GUI interface for remotely controlling the following items at the Nickel Telescope:
  • Dome shutter
  • Windscreen
  • Mirror cover
  • Flat field lamp
  • Guide camera focus
  • Dome ventilation fans
  • Dome lights

Naux_fe is either started by clicking its icon, , on noir or by typing
naux_fe &
at the command line.

The top section of the GUI is a status display of miscellaneous items of interest in the dome (some of these are of particular interest to remote Nickel observers):

  • Dome shutter: Open or Closed
  • Windscreen: Up, Down, or Partial
  • Dome door: Open or Closed
  • E-Stop: Engaged or Disabled
  • Remote operations warning light: On or Off

The next section allows you to actually open the dome shutter and mirror cover as well as move the windscreen up and down. The dome shutter and mirror cover each have only two buttons, Open and Close. When either is open, its label will have a green background, which indicates that it is in a proper state for taking astronomical data. When closed, the label will be yellow, warning that photons from the sky will not reach the instrument. If the dome shutter is ajar, its label will be red, indicating either that the dome shutter is moving or that it has not triggered its open or close limit switch, which may be an error condition. The windscreen has buttons to move it Up or Down (there are limit switches so the windscreen will stop automatically at either the full up or down position) and a button to Stop the windscreen at any intermediate position as required (either for blocking wind or for use as a flat field screen). When the windscreen is moving, partially or fully up, its label is yellow, indicating it is possible for the aperture of the telescope to be blocked by the windscreen. When the windscreen is in the down position, the label will be green.

There are two flat field lamps. The Dome Flat Field Lamps are mounted on the dome and are a toggle on/off. There is a variable voltage controller attached to the lamps but are not acessable via software. Once the lamps is toggled on a timer is activated. The timer can be reset at any time by clicking the reset button. The Telescope Flat Field Lamps are mounted on the telescope and has a variable voltage controller, so that the brightness of the lamp can be set according to the needs of the observer. The top line of this GUI section shows the current state of the lamp (i.e., whether it is on or off and its current brightness level). If the current brightness level is different from the desired level, the background of the current state will be yellow, otherwise it should be green. The brightness level can be set from a minimum of 60 to a maximum of 105 in the entry box. Clicking on the Power button will give you two options: On/Set and Off. On/Set will turn the flat field lamp on and/or set it to the desired brightness level. Off will turn off the lamp and set the level to 0.

The guide camera trombone relay mirrors can be moved in or out to focus the guider. Usually, the focus will be close as set by the dome crew, but may need adjustment. While looking at a stellar image on the guider, press the In or Out button to move the mirrors until best focus is achieved. Motion ceases when you release the button. A red background for either the In or Out label indicates that the focus stage is at a limit and will stop moving.

The bottom section consists of one status label and two buttons. The status label indicates what type of observer is using the telescope. The status label will be one of the following, usually set by the telescope technician (TT) or support astronomer (SA):

  • Local Observer - (green background)
  • Remote Observer - (green background) When set by the TT the remote observing warning light will turn on. It will remain on and flashing as long as the observer is set to Remote as a safety warning to staff and visitors that the telescope and/or instrument may be in use and move at any time.
  • Tech Observer - (yellow background) This if for use by the TTs and SAs for troubleshooting and testing and is not a normal observing mode.
  • Unset Observer - (red background) At 10am each day the software resets to this state, preventing dome and mirror cover opening for safety of the telescope until the observer type has been set.
  • Unknown Observer - (red background) Error state where the observer is not known.
The two buttons control the Dome Fan and Dome Light and display their current status.
  • Dome Fan - Turn the dome ventilation fans On or Off.
  • Dome Light - Turn the dome lights On or Off. Remote observers may need to turn the dome lights on to use the web cameras to investigate the state of the telescope and dome.

Naux_fe GUI

The Functions menu allows you to hide or show various sections of the naux_fe GUI. Sections with a red checkbox are shown, unchecking the box hides that section. You may also Exit the GUI from the Functions menu.

Naux_fe Functions Menu