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How to login and check that we are observing

Until we will have common web interface to display status of all our instruments, the following must be done in order to login check that Bootes 1 is observing:

  • login to arae (ssh -p 2222
  • login to iam1a (ssh iam1a)
  • run rts2-mon

Check if system is in ready night state (upper left corner). If not, press F4 to bring it to on.


This page involves technical issues regarding our installations at BOOTES-1 in El Arenosillo. Its presentation is here: bootes_1.

Our installations include five imaging systems in total: BOOTES-1A, BOOTES-1B, BOOTES-1ASM, External webcam and internal webcam watching BOOTES-1B. We have two domes, first, older and recently reconstructed covers B-1A and B-1ASM. The newer and larger dome hosts BOOTES-1B and it's webcam.


The 30cm Meade has a declared focal length of 3072mm, i (mates) do not remember measuring it so I do not have the real value. Current configuration with the Meade 1:6.3 focal reducer gives the focal length of 1684mm with a 16um pixel scale of 1.96“/pixel (effective focal ratio of 1:5.5, field of view 16.7arcmin). Before (in 2005), with the ST-8 and an Optec focal reducer, the focal length was 890mm with a 9um pixel scale of 1.896” (effective focal ratio of 1:2.9, field of view 48'x32' with serious vignetting in the corners - one should not go over 32'x32' with this config: effectively cutting the st-8 to a square).

The mount needs to be restarted ocassionally. Primary symptom is the mount beeping, but that cannot be heard over the webcam. Typically it is recognized by Motor stil slewing but command needs it stopped message in RTS2 log.

Solution is rather straightforward – power cycling the mount. To achieve this on distance, one should typically watch the webcam (http://b1-axis-in/ within a browser running via X-windows from, while issuing the command dome1.teloff in the rts2-mon runnin from iam1b. The mount LED should indicate that the mount is off. Then dome1.telon should start the mount. Check if it parks automatically, and if it does not, do it manually.

NOTE: The switch is commom with the Bootes-1A Alta CCD, which will be also power cycled if you do this. Therefore, you should also consider stopping the alta driver before and restarting it after the former action.


The camera driver has a bug, which causes it to hang when exposure is ended prematurely. The following sequence should bring it back.

  1. log in to vader
  2. killall rts2-camd-alta
  3. ssh iam1b
  4. rts2-mon
  5. dome1.teloff
  6. wait few seconds
  7. dome1.telon
  8. quit the monitor, get back to vader, wait ~10seconds so that the camera comes up
  9. /etc/init.d/rts2 start
  10. check in rts2-mon if the camera is Okay.

NOTE: as this switch is common with Bootes-1B mount, you should check the mount as well. If observing, consider paring the mount in advance to avoid possible problems while the mount is being reset.

Weather & dome control

These devices are generally common to all involved systems, they are all connected to a single PC (iam1a), which replaced the former DCM, via serial ports (RS232).


The PC-to-dome interfaces are two (for each dome separate) serial boards designed for us by Martin Nekola in Ondrejov. They are both connected to iam1a. The board controlling (older, reconstructed, western) Bootes1A dome, is connected to /dev/ttyS0, while the Bootes1B board is on /dev/ttyS4. There is a set of scripts allowing simple actions be taken on the boards in iam1a:/home/standa/fordostroj/ (Read them before trying. You are indeed opening & closing the dome, it may rain!). Under normal circumstances, RTS2 has two separate custom drivers rts2-dome-bootes1a an rts2-dome-bootes1b to be watching on them. They run on iam1a computer.

Rain sensors

There are two Eigenbrodt IRSS 88 precipitation detectors, connected separately to the dome control inlets (fordostoj). The northern detector is connected only to Bootes-1B inlet (no. 5, 0x10), while the southern one is connected to both units in parallel (at B-1A it is inlet no.1, i.e. 0x01, at B-1B it is no.6, i.e. 0x20). [one of them was removed faulty on Nov/9/2008 and brought to Gr for repair]

These detectors are supposed to protect us as the last instance rain protection, therefore are wired as low in the hardware as possible. In future, we should even consider the blocking (closing) the dome at hardware layer - the new state machine being used at Bootes-1A is clearly able to accept such an inlet. Currently, rts2-dome-bootes1b is responsible for switching bad weather flag when it detect raining conditions. So dome-bootes1b should be included in all centrald which rely on roof operation.

The northern (nearer to the domes) sensor seems to have a malfunctioning DEU (drop evaluation unit), although the drops (well, screwdriver strikes) get detected well at the frame, the DEU does not react. The unit should be revised soon.


Provides sky transparency measures through by providing the radiative temperature of the sky. It is connected to iam1a:/dev/ttyS6. It is integrated to RTS2 and trigger bad weather if average cloud value drops bellow predefined value.

Davis weather station

Wireless weather station capable of providing precipitation sums in mm/m2, wind speed, temperature and humidity. Connected to iam1a:/dev/ttyS1. Wind speed sensor is not working, so a modified Othello package must be installed.


The webcam may be considered another weather measuring instrument. It is not being used that way, but running astrometry upon the received image does not seem that problematic. In any case, the archive of images taken every second is in iam1a:/home/axis/. The webcams are pingable from iam1a as wc1 and wc2 (see entry in /etc/hosts). You can access webcam over http port, so either run HTTP browser (mozilla) on iam1a and point to wc1, or using -L option to ssh forward to your host (ssh -L 8080:wc2:80 iam1a).


The discharge detector PIXY is supposed to provide additional security against lightnings, it's output is being logged, but currently is not actively used. It is connected to iam1a:/dev/ttyS5. Currently its performance is evaluated.

Data storage

We have several storage facilities at BOOTES-1, here they are described with their primary purpose, by size. In bold are fault tolerant devices.

  • 2.7TiB raid5 at vader (vader:/media/md0) - the new BOOTES-1 repository for all archive data.
  • 1.8TiB raid0 at iam1a (iam1a:/mnt/md1) - unprotected and slow repository, now containing the old observational data.
  • 466GiB disk at vader (vader:/images) - primary repository for recent BOOTES-1A observational data
  • 190GiB disk at asm1 (asm1:/mnt/images) - primary repository for recent ASM-1 observational data and gsc-1.2

This disk is daily mirrored to the 2.7TiB array at vader /mnt/images/ → vader:/media/md0/asm1/. Mirroring is unidirectional, so that the contents of the 190GiB disk may be freely removed after the replication takes place.

  • 176GiB disk at vader (vader:/home) - GSC-1.2, USNO-B1.0, local home at vader
  • 149GiB raid1 at iam1b (iam1b:/storage) - primary repository for recent Bootes-1B images, local home at iam1b.
  • 149GiB raid5 at iam1a (iam1a:/home) - old observing data, local home at iam1a, now nearly full
howto/bootes/bootes_1.txt · Last modified: 2009/01/10 00:00 (external edit)