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1 June 1994 Automated scheduling of astronomical observations
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Astronomers responsible for the planning of astronomical observations are showing an interest in scheduling technology. This interest is related to the increasing cost of acquiring high-quality astronomical data, in terms of the technology of contemporary observing methods, and the human expertise needed to obtain successful results using that technology. Telescope time has always been, and is likely to remain, a scarce resource. Tactical planning to make the best use of the limited time available is now essential, and tools are beginning to appear which help astronomers schedule a set of observations over a number of sequential nights. Such tools are of use to duty astronomers making service observations on behalf of colleagues, as well as helping visiting astronomers make the best use of a short period of stay. The majority of planning programs, such as those inspired by the Hubble Space Telescope, choose to address the longterm scheduling problems rather than offer a shortterm solution that can be modified interactively during the course of observations. The constraints embodied in the development, in conjunction with staff at the Royal Greenwich Observatory, of one such program -- NightWatch are described.
© (1994) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Lewis R. Jones, J. E. Spragg, and B. M. Smith "Automated scheduling of astronomical observations", Proc. SPIE 2198, Instrumentation in Astronomy VIII, (1 June 1994);

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