TU Dortmund, Experimental Physics 5, Dortmund

Miscellaneous Information

Miscellaneous Information

Abstract Reference: 30794
Identifier: P6.19
Presentation: Poster presentation
Key Theme: 6 Python in Astronomy

Towards robotic operation of the First G-APD Cherenkov Telescope

Noethe Maximilian

The FIrst G-APD Cherenkov Telescope (FACT) is an Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescope located on the canary island of La Palma. In addition to its physics goal of monitoring bright gamma-ray sources in the TeV regime, e.g. the AGNs Mrk 501 and 421, FACT is also striving for robotic operation, in order to maximize its duty cycle while saving manpower and resources. The necessity to operate the telescope on site, was only given for a brief period of time after deployment as human interaction has been minimized in a stepwise procedure. Fully remote operation of FACT has been achieved 10 months after the beginning of its operation in October 2011. To date only the telescope system and the weather conditions have to be monitored by a shifter. To reach fully robotic operation, several utilities were developed. In this talk, three of them will be presented. Main focus will be on the shifthelper, a software written in python that continuously checks the system via our web services and uses different means of communication to alert shifters in case intervention is required. This includes calling the shifters on their phones, sending messages and plots via the Telegram instant messenger and sending emails. The code is open source, available via github, and we plan to create a framework that other experiments could use. For a measurement of the triggering behavior, that FACT is performing once per night, an area in the sky near zenith and with very low star light is required. Using the hipparcos star catalog, a program was written that selects a suitable target position for a given date and time. To get a visual overview about the conditions at night, a small tool gathering images from local webcams and information from weather stations is producing timelapse videos of the nights on La Palma.