Department of Physics and Astronomy
1906 College Heights Blvd, #11077
Bowling Green, KY 42101-1077
(270) 745-4357

Bell Observatory

Remote Observing Checklist

The Bell Observatory

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Bell Observatory Staff

Bell Observatory History

Current Observing Plan

Helpful Links

AGN Observations and Light Curves

Hilltopper Astronomy Club

WKU Astronomy


-      Is the weather clear? (Wunderground and Accuweather)

-      Open Radmin and connect to ICC

-      Open Weatherlink, check the following:

o       Humidity lesst that 85%

o       Dewpoint at least 2 degrees less than outside temperature

o       Winds less than 35 km/h

-      Open Vidcams

-      Open Radmin and connect to TCC

-      Open ACEops

-      Turn off bug light, turn on rack light, if needed, turn on fan

-      In the file menu go to ‘Observations’ and click ‘Simple’

-      Rotate dome to an azimuth of 0° and open

o       Make sure to uncheck “lower dropout shutter”

-      Turn on the coolers in MaximDL

-      Run Startnite on ICC

-      Fill out the setup observing tab in ACE

-      Fill out the observing log

-      Open mirror covers

-      Once camera is cooled take darks and flats


-      Go to any blazer at an HA < 3

-      Bring up the Bell AGN webpage and click on your object

-      Try to fin a comparison star that is between 10-15 R magnitude

-      Take a 20-30 second exposure

-      Start the windows information tool in MaximDL (looks like crosshairs, found in the view menu)

-      Click on the comparison star chosen in the third step

-      Ideally:

o       All stars should be uniform and circular

o       The info tool should have read a FWHM between 2-3

-      Adjust the focus and repeat until FWHM is in range

-      Record the focus value, comparison star, inside temperature and exposure time in observing log


-      Open the focus paddle in ACEobs

-      Using the previous night’s log as a guide, adjust the focus

o       1 degree ~ 10 focus steps


-      Open the control card in ACEobs

-      Click on the second tab and then click the first tab again

-      As a guide 26.4C ~ 274000 encoder counts

o       1 degree of change is ~ 585 encoder counts


-      Make sure object is oriented with webpage image

-      Enter the correct XY stage coordinates

-      Check to make sure the filter is in R

-      If guide star is not in the FOV do a box search to locate

o       Enter 150 into the directional box of the XY stage in ACE

o       Move to the East and take an image

o       Move to the South, West, West, North, North, East taking an image after each move.

o       Expand search if the guide star is still not found

-      Make sure the correct gain is entered in the auto guider box

-      Start tracking on the guide star in MaximDL and ACEops

-      Wait a couple of seconds to make sure the guide star centers up

-      Check to see the temperature has not drop at least 1°C since focusing

-      Enter the correct exposure time and number of sets for the object

-      If all the images are good go onto the next object and repeat the steps above


-      Make sure the telescope is in the stow position

-      Close the mirror covers

-      Move dome to an azimuth of 0° and close

-      Move the filter wheel to STOW R

-      Move dome to an azimuth of 290°

-      Turn off the fan and racklights

-      Turn on the Bug Lamp

-      Make sure the FF lamps are turned off

-      Turn off the coolers

-      Complete observing log

-      Make sure RA and Dec Tracking are off

-      Exit ACEops and log off TCC

-      Exit Vidcams and close connection to ICC (do not log off, make sure screen saver is set to 4 minutes)

-      Email observing log

-      Log off Bell

      -      Turn off monitors and speakers