Weather Systems, SGP 2.4, and Sierra Remote Observatory


I have a friend who is going to be renting space at SRO (not sure which building) and they have told him they suggest use of use MaxIm/ACP as it “is integrated with their weather systems and roof closures”.

I was considering joining him on his system but when I found that out, I told him that I would not go back to MaxIm if they were giving me time on the Keck!

I don’t know what they mean by “integrated with their weather systems and roof closures” but I think the are using interactive astronomy’s weather and roof systems (to judge from their page). I suspect that they are not banning use of other software but suggesting ACP/MaxIm more out of ignorance of other software and what other software can do.

My question for the forum is if anyone is using, has used, or knows if one can use, SGP at SRO? Will 2.4 handle this situation?

This “old school imager” use of MaxIm/FocusMax/ACP is beginning to get on my nerves. It is sometimes almost arrogant in tone and annoys me since I have am an even “older school imager” than most of these folks. When I started imaging even MaxIm did not exist (think CCDOPS). I used MaxIm/FocusMax/ACP for many years and finally rejected it in favor of SGP…

I also used to walk to school, in the snow, uphill, both ways :wink:


I’m sure the reason they use MaximDL is for ACP. While I’d love to say that SGP is good, it’s not that automated (yet?).

SGP requires you to make some hands on connections every night in order to image. ACP… does not.

As for the arrogance, I think some of it is just that people have figured out what works for them and they don’t want to change their flow to try something new. It’s like talking politics almost.


Is this one of these systems where you rent space in an observatory to keep your imaging system? My Astro Society had a talk from a guy who was doing this at a site in Spain. He didn’t even need to visit the site, the equipment was shipped there and they set everything up.

If that’s the case expecting them to set up and maintain software that they are not familiar with may be asking a lot. They want to integrate it with their roof system, that seems reasonable, and the Safety Monitor approach is pretty new.

There’s no obvious reason that a Safety Monitor driver couldn’t be developed to hook into their system, that would provide the integration that’s needed.

It seems just as arrogant to insist that they accommodate some random software they have never heard of.



Yes, it probably has the best seeing in North America.

If that’s the case expecting them to set up and maintain software that they are not familiar with may be asking a lot.

They do not set up or maintain the software or the PC. That is done by the user with a site visit (at least in this user’s case, that may be different with different users and I can only speak to this situation). The only time they would need to do anything with the PC would be if it just flat died or somehow lost network communications and then only enough to re-establish that.

It seems just as arrogant to insist that they accommodate some random software they have never heard of.

Random? I don’t know if SGP is exactly “random”. :wink: In any case, I am not suggesting that SRO change their systems in any way, I was just wondering if anyone had used SGP in this setting.

The “arrogance” (and that word is a bit strong, but the best I can come up with to confer my feeling) is not really specific to this situation or specific to any person or organization but rather a general attitude I often encounter from some imagers, typically those that have been around a while and have used other software for years. It views SGP as “lesser software”, which I feel is not only wrong but dead wrong and unfair to SGP users and it’s authors. I think mads is right in that a lot of that may be just momentum. I also think that the “more expensive so must be better” mindset plays a role as well.

At least in this user’s case, I know he does not intend total hands-off imaging and does plan to initiate each night’s run remotely himself so would not require the “total automation” features of ACP. Really all that would be required is for SGP to gracefully end a sequence and shut down if it sees a roof closure. That is it, period. It may already be able to do that, I just am not sure, which is the point of my query.


Then all that’s needed is to get a SafetyMonitor interface to their roof system. “Safe” would be roof open and “unsafe” roof closed. SGP is hooked to this and behaves appropriately.

The snag is that a professional solution will be expensive. It costs just as much to develop a one-off solution for this specific situation as it does for a generic solution.