4 Telescope Control & Data Acquisition Computers
There are three "user" computers at the 2.4-meter telescope (in addition to special-function computers described in later sections of the manual):
All of the computers are networked together, with the raw data disks shared among the computers to provide direct access to the data from any workstation. Raw data are written to /lhome/data on hiltner but can be accessed via the workstations by pointing to /data/hiltner. If using one of the MDM CCDs (Templeton, Nellie, Echelle), data are written to the CCD-interface machine (mdmarc1) and can be accessed via the workstation by pointing to /data/mdmarc1.
All computers share a networked PostScript laser printer (b&w) and their main home and data disks.
In addition, there are network ports available for connecting a laptop computer to the network as a guest machine. Connections are GB (fiber). Power users can mount the home and data disks on the mountain machines readonly using SAMBA with the standard username and special SAMBA password written on the white board. A short-range wireless network is also available in the common areas at the 2.4m and 1.3m telescopes for wireless-equipped laptops.
All computers can also communicate via the mountain network with their equivalents at the 1.3 m McGraw-Hill Telescope.
4.2 BASIC OPERATING INSTRUCTIONS
4.2.1 Turning the machines on
Under normal circumstances the computers and their peripheral devices are left powered on at all times. The only time an observer will need to power up the machines from a cold start will be after a serious storm or a hardware failure.
With the exception of the monitor and keyboard, the Linux computers are located in the computer room racks and the power switches are on the front of the computers.
To start the machine(s) go through the following sequence:
4.2.2 Re-booting from a computer crash
Occasionally you will need to recover from a crashed or hung computer. Try to logout in the usual manner. If this fails try to issue Control-C a few times to see if you can get a response. If the system is still hung, reboot it as follows:Linux Workstation (hiltner)
4.2.3 Turning the machines off1. For the TCS control PC, shut off the cooler for the guide camera and disconnect before closing MaximDL software. Hit the STOP key on the guider focus and close that program. Close TheSky. To shut down the TCS Control software, File>Exit. Shut down computer from Start Menu (bottom-left)>Power Icon>Shut down.
4.3 The Telescope Control Computer
The telescope and MIS box can be coordinated remotely using programs running on mdm24ws1. Each program has a separate command window. This section contains all the information you need to control the telescope (xtcs) and MIS box (xmis2). The guider is operated by a stand-alone Windows PC.
4.3.1 Logging on
The computers have a screen blank feature to stop image burn-in on the monitor. The screen goes blank if there is no activity after a certain period. Move the mouse or press any key (e.g. a Shift key) to activate the monitor.
If the windows are operating on the data acquisition computer (mdm24ws1), there is no need to log on. Skip this section. Otherwise, hit the Enter key and the login prompt will appear.
4.3.2 Directory structureWhen opening a terminal window on mdm24ws1, the "home" directory is:
You can find out what is in a directory with the command ls.
To change from one directory to another use the command cd, for example:
cd <cr> (go back to the home directory)
cd /data/hiltner/obs24m <cr> go to hiltner's data scratch area
Raw data for various instrument are written to data directories as follows:
OSMOS, MDM4K, R4K, CCDS and TIFKAM: /data/hiltner (on hiltner, /lhome/data)
CCD Cameras (Owl): /data/mdmarc1 (on mdmarc1, /home/data)
MDM8K (detcom): /data/vesuvius/obs24m
4.3.3 Disk storage space
To find out how much disk space is used type the command df -h in a terminal window. The last three columns of the table report the remaining available space, the used percentage of the disk capacity, and the disk identification. You can also use the KDiskFree tool on hiltner to monitor disk usage graphically in real time.
We advise that you make a daily backup of your data. DVD drives are available on mdm24ws1, mdm24ws2 and hiltner. Quicker yet however, is to simply plug in a USB-connected external drive, or a flash drive at the FX100 Remote Access Device for mdm24ws1. Data can then be easily moved over using a file management program.
4.3.4 Starting the Telescope Control Software
The TCS system and peripheries (JSkyCalc, MIS and instrument control software) are linked from a program called "bridge" on mdm24ws1. To start, click on Applications, then Telescope Control and choose xtcsBridge. A terminal window will appear on the desktop. The observer should not have to interact any further with this window.
If you are using one of the MDM facility CCD cameras, or one of the OSU instruments (OSMOS, MDM4K, R4K, CCDS or TIFKAM), you also need to start the xmis2 program which controls the Multiple Instrument System or MIS. To start xmis2, click on Applications, then Telescope Control and choose xmis2. The GUI window will appear on the desktop.
4.3.5 Restarting individual windows
You might need to re-start an individual window if it is accidentally destroyed (!) or if it crashes. Remember that windows (and especially icons) can be hidden under other windows.
If a window hangs do the following:
If you think that the window has genuinely crashed or is absent, enter the command jobs. If the window name appears as a stopped job, kill it with the command kill %n where n is the stopped job number displayed to the left of the job name. Also issue the command ps -x to list all the processes that belong to the obs24m user. If the window name appears in the list, kill the process with the command kill nnnn (or kill -9 nnnn) where nnnn is the process number. Repeat the ps -x command to check that the process was indeed destroyed.
Keeping the number of extraneous windows to a minimum will increase the efficiency of the computer.
4.4 SOME USEFUL INFO
4.4.1 Internet access
MDM has regular access to the Internet through a 10GB fiber link making it possible to ssh or scp
to a machine at your
home institution or elsewhere. Due to variable network usage on
Kitt Peak, actual data transmission rates can be significantly lower
than the theoretical maximum. In addition, you should be aware that MDM
is billed a significant amount based on its actual fraction of the
total Kitt Peak network traffic. For these reasons, the Internet is
suitable only for transfer of small data files, but it can be quite
satisfactory for checking weather reports and satellite images, and
otherwise killing time on cloudy nights.
4.4.2 Storing data on DVD
For writing DVDs, put a blank disk into the DVD drive and then launch the k3b program. The k3b program uses a standard drag-and-drop interface to let you build up a set of files to burn onto DVD, then burn the disk.
We recommend burning data onto disk at one time, rather than using so-called "open" disk formats which are prone to failure leading to loss of data. DVD media are cheap, so don't worry about not filling up an entire 4Gb disk at one time. We also recommend burning backup copies before you leave.
4.5 QUICK LOOK AND DATA REDUCTION
mdm24ws1, mdm24ws2 and hiltner all have the latest versions of XVista (v7.x), IRAF 2.12, SAOimage ds9 (works on 24-bit displays, unlike XImTool), etc. All are familiar tools and are extensively documented.
To find data through an IRAF terminal, point to /data/hiltner (for OSMOS, 4k detectors, CCDS or TIFKAM) or /data/mdmarc1 for MDM CCDs (Templeton, Nellie, Echelle), ModSpec, or the MkIII.
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