Design of a microprocessor-based control system for the Monterey Institute for Research in Astronomy 36 telescope
Wood, David Paul
Weaver, W. Bruce
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The use of computer technology to control large pointing systems can significantly improve performance and reduce human work load. The goal of this thesis was to design software for an inexpensive, yet accurate and efficient control system for the 36- inch reflecting telescope owned and operated by the Monterey Institute for Research in Astronomy. Within this thesis, a computer program is developed to automatically move the telescope to a set of celestial coordinates and track with an accuracy of one-tenth of an arc second for five minutes within 75° of the zenith. Set times are anticipated to be between four and thirty seconds. Corrections are made to celestial coordinates to account for precession, nutation, aberration and atmospheric refraction effects. The user is provided an interface to the computer-based system that allows storage and editing of 100 star positions, editing of the system parameters and display of the telescope's status. Manual control of the telescope is also permitted at any time. Safety of the telescope structure is the primary concern of system software.
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