Releasing the report gThe Subaru 8.2-m Telescope Control Systemh

by Patrick Wallace and David Terrett to the user community of the Subaru Telescope

 

Since the beginning of open use of the Subaru Telescope on December, 2000, we have received invaluable comments from researchers conducting observations at the telescope.  Many of the comments are related to its control system, which is much different from what astronomers were used to with smaller telescopes.  Our support astronomers also provided useful comments about our control system.  By reviewing the comments, we hope that we can improve the current control system and enable our users to carry out observations more efficiently.

 

We wanted to investigate, from the point of view of international standards, what part of our current system is well-regarded and what part of it needs improvement.  We therefore asked Patrick Wallace and David Terrett of the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, England, to conduct an independent study of our summit control system.  Mr. Wallace is well recognized as one of the world authorities on telescope control and Mr. Wallace and Mr. Terrett

are regularly engaged as expert consultants and contractors by many world-class telescopes, including Keck and Gemini.

 

The study was conducted from February 3 to February 11, 2002.  The primary focus of the study was the telescope control system and the Subaru observation software system.  During the study, all of us in Japan and in Hawaii wishing to offer any comments regarding these systems were encouraged to do so, in person if possible, or by email, and a special email-account was set up for that purpose.

 

Presentations were made in Hilo by Tomonori Usuda, George Kosugi, Ryu Ogasawara, Tadafumi Takata, Hiroshi Terada, Junichi Morino and Naoto Kobayashi, who are the principal staff members responsible for the design, maintenance and improvement of our telescope control system and observation control software.  These meetings were also attended by representatives from Mitsubishi.

 

At the summit, Mr. Wallace and Mr. Terrett, together with Mitsubishi representatives and NAOJ principals for the telescope control system and observation software, toured the telescope facility, attended observations with three of our most highly used instruments (Suprime-Cam, FOCAS, IRCS), heard comments from open-use observers and made some brief tests of the telescope during one engineering night.  Mr. Terrett participated also in one night of remote observations from the base facility in Hilo.

 

Mr. Wallace and Mr. Terrett summarized their study on the report: The Subaru 8.2-m Telescope Control System.  Upon studying the report among the staff members of the Subaru Telescope, I have come to a conclusion that the report handles important issues about the present and future of the Subaru Telescope and should be released to our user community.  I consider it one of Subaru's strategic plans to develop our own perspective on telescope and observation control system by studying the report, to conduct further, more comprehensive review on the current status and future improvement/replacement plan of the telescope control system and observation control software.

 

On behalf of the entire staff of our observatory, I would like to express our gratitude to Mr. Wallace and Mr. Terrett for conducting the study and providing the report.  I would like to thank Mark Weber, our Senior Software Engineer, for organizing and successfully carrying out such a meaningful study.

 

I would appreciate your comments on this study.  Please send your comments (in English) to Mark Weber (Mark.Weber@SubaruTelescope.org).

 

                                                                                                         May 27, 2003

                                                                                                         Hiroshi Karoji

                                                                                                         Director, Subaru Telescope, NAOJ