Abstract Details

Title: Autonomous Scheduling of the 1.3-meter Robotically Controlled Telescope (RCT)

Authors: L- G. Strolger, R. Gelderman, M. T. Carini, D. R. Davis, S. G. Engle, E. F. Guinan, C. H. Mcgruder Iii, E. F. Tedesco, And D. K. Walter

Institute/Affiliation: Western Kentucky University - Robotically Controlled Telescope Consortium

Abstract Type: poster

Abstract Information:

The 1.3-meter telescope at Kitt Peak operates as a fully robotic instrument for optical imaging. An autonomous scheduling algorithm is an essential component of this observatory, and has been designed to manage numerous requests in various imaging modes in a manner similar to how requests are managed at queue-scheduled observatories, but with greater efficiency. Built from the INSGEN list generator and process spawner originally developed for the Berkeley Automatic Imaging Telescope, the RCT scheduler manages and integrates multi-user observations in real time, according to target and exposure information and program-specific constraints (e.g., user assigned priority, moon avoidance, airmass, or temporal constraints), while accounting for instrument limitations, meteorologic conditions, and other technical constraints. The robust system supports time-critical requests, such as with coordinated observations, while also providing short-term (hours) and long-term (days) monitoring capabilities, and one-off observations. We discuss the RCT scheduler, its current decision tree, and future prospects including integration with active partner-share monitoring (which factor into future observation requests) to insure fairness and parity of requests.