1. Turn on the dome fan, either with the switch on the wall inside the dome to the left of the doorway, or the red switch below the main power console in the warm room.  Use the potentiometer by the switch in the dome to control speed.
  2. Turn on the water circulator for the CCD camera. The CIRCULATOR MUST be on FIRST to avoid damage to the camera.
  3. Adjust the temperature ON THE CIRCULATOR (Do NOT adjust the temperature on the camera electronics.) to the ambient dome temperature (in degrees Celsius) to avoid condensation on the camera.  Hold down the display button and adjust the knob.
    *NOTE*  When the ambient temperature is at or near freezing, set the circulator to 2 degrees Celsius.
  4. Turn on the CCD camera electronics.  The switch is in the back, top middle of the electronics box which is located on side of telescope tube. 
    *NOTE*  When using the ladder, be careful not to bump anything and always return it to its original position west of the telescope to avoid collisions while slewing the telescope.
  5. The camera takes about 15 minutes to cool, but to reduce noise in final images, turn on >1 hour before observing.  If the green cooling light stays on >1/2 hour, shut down and go home!  The light normally will come on for short periods of time to regulate. 
  6. AFTER OPENING THE DOME:  Take cover off the telescope, using the ladder if necessary (Don't bump the telescope.), and the autoguider, being careful of its small thread distance.


  1. Turn on the main power switch on middle rack. 
  2. Turn on the 4 monitors and wiggle the mice.  The computers may be in sleep mode.
  3. The computers should always be on.  If they are not, the passwords are in the binder next to the autoguider computer monitor.
  4. On the telescope control computer:
    • Open Ace.
    • In Ace, open Database (right click while in white object selection area) and open algol.tof.
    • Go to telescope > focus to open the focus adjustment window.
    • Go to dome > open shutter to open the dome.
  5. Go back to the dome to remove the telescope and autoguider covers.
  6. Once the covers are off, turn on the tube fans, which are controlled by one of the red switches below the main power console. 
  7. On the CCD  control computer:
    • Open Windows Explorer and create a directory within the images directory on the c: drive for the night's images.  The directory must have a 4 digit year, 3 letter month, 2 digit day, and MUST BE EASTERN TIME EVENING'S DATE even if you don't start observing until after midnight.  Thus the directory for September 2, 2001 would be "c:\images\2001\sep02".
    • Open PMIS.  The desktop icon is labeled CCD Camera. 
    • *NOTE*  The COMPUTER WILL CRASH(!) if PMIS is opened BEFORE the camera has been turned ON.
    • Make sure the default path is the directory you just created.
    • The start count is 1, as is the chip gain.  The observer initials should be the observer's first initial, followed by a period and the last name, with all letters in caps, a comma separating multiple observer names, and ABSOLUTELY NO SPACES anywhere. 
    • Once the camera has cooled, take an image or two to flush out the chip cache.  Do this in the image window under acquire > expose > 20 msec.  If a mistake is made on exposure time, press ctrl+alt+del, close PMIS and start again.
  8. On the autoguider computer, open STV Remote.
  9. Turn dome fan down to low or to off if you've been running it on high.
  10. Record the date, weather conditions, and dome temperature in the blue-green logbook. Open up the observing log notebook (3-ring binder) and start a new page.
  11. *NOTE*  The thermometer for the dome temperature is on the edge of the shelf below the CCD control computer monitor.
  12. When the camera temperature reaches its operating range (roughly between -43 and -36 degrees Celsius), you're ready to go.  The next step will be to take calibration frames


copyright Laurence A. Marschall, Gettysburg College