The Finding Chart and Acquisition tool is designed so that ULTRACAM observers can plan their observations, pick comparison stars and choose suitable window sizes to obtain the data rates they require. It also allows for signal/noise ratio estimates to be made, allowing for complete specification of ULTRACAM observations by the user.
The tool is written in Java, and you will need Java installed. The tool is written in Java, and you will need Java installed. Download the jar file ufinder.jar and start the tool by typing 'java -jar ufinder.jar'. Alternatively you can download ufinder from source and build it yourself - this is the best solution if you are struggling with security alerts.
On loading the tool you are presented with the main window. This window allows you to specify your object either by co-ordinate or name. The name resolver is very fussy. See the Simbad Dictionary for instructions on forming correct names..
If the tool cannot resolve your objects name, enter the coordinates by hand. If both an object name and coordinates are entered, the tool will fetch an image centred on the given co-ordinates. It is worth including your object name even if Simbad cannot resolve it, as the object name is included on the finding chart.
This panel allows you to launch Aladin to display your object and the ULTRACAM field of view. First, select the appropriate telescope, then simply enter your object name or coordinates and press enter. You can then launch Aladin which will display your object, the current ULTRACAM field of view, and a catalog created by running Sextractor on your image. This catalogue is displayed as faint circles, the size of which is proportional to the object's magnitude.
The centre of the field of view, and it's rotation angle can be set either by entering values directly in these fields, or by dragging the field of view around in Aladin. Like all numberical entry fields in the tool, these values can be set by using the up and down arrows. Holding down SHIFT or SHIFT+CTRL whilst pressing the arrow keys will increment the values by larger amounts.
Dragging the field of view in Aladin will update these values, and vice versa. When you are finished and happy with your setup, make a note of these values, as well as the window parameters you chose. Including these values in your phase I submission will allow very rapid acquisition at the telescope, and give you more time on target!
Note: rotating the field of view by dragging the corners in Aladin produces counter-intuitive results when the VLT is selected. This is because the VLT FOV is "flipped" so that east points right. I recommend always using the Rot. Posn. field when the VLT is selected
Once you have loaded an image, you need to indicate your target and comparison stars. This is done by first selecting the object in Aladin (either click on the object or draw a rectangle around the objects you wish to select by holding down the mouse button and dragging the mouse over the stars), and then clicking on the "Sel Targ" or "Add Comp" buttons. Your target will be identified by a red circle, your comparisons by blue circles. You can add as many comparison stars as you like, but if you add more than one, please indicate your first choice by annotating the view - see Aladin Extras below
Changing the "Template Type" allows you to change between full frame mode and windowed modes, whilst the numerical fields below allow you to change the window sizes and positions.
Once you are happy with your setup use the "File -> Publish..." option in the main window. This will produce a bitmap finding chart, complete with all setup information which can be attached to your phase I information page.....
Implementing the Finding Chart tool in Aladin allows you to use all the power of the Aladin application when planning your applications. The Aladin programme is complex and I highly recommend a leaf through the Aladin manual. A few individual features are worth pointing out:
The parameter values defining the windows are entered on the right-hand part of the GUI. You do NOT have to hit 'enter' to register values. Instead the values shown in the GUI are always the values that will be used if you save or post an application. A process runs which checks the current window parameters every second or so and estimates timing parameters from them which are displayed in the lower left panel. This process will also flag any problem values that lead to invalid window settings.
The numerical parameters support the following features:
When you bin the CCD, then it is possible to have identically binned windows which are nevertheless out of step with each other. For instance one window may have xbin=2, with unbinned pixels 4-5, 6-7, 8-9 etc ending up added together, while another may have 3-4, 5-6, 7-8 etc. These two windows are incompatible. To help make sure that you DO use compatible windows, the 'sync windows' button will be highlighted in orange whenever you choose incompatible settings with a standard setting for your chosen binning factors. Pressing it will immediately adjust the windows so that this is the case, or you can just adjust the windows until the button is no longer highlighted. The standard setting is defined to have pixel boundaries between the unbinned values of 512 and 513 in both X and Y. There may be a border of unused pixels depending upon the binning factors.