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18 August 2019


Continuing to refine the observatory dome control software.  After  fixing the occasional noise pulse issue from the dome position encoder sensors by properly measuring the pulse widths and throwing away the very short ones,  one last problem remained.  When the dome was driven very slowly as when tracking the sky,  the friction drive wheel would start slipping at one or two points of higher resistance along the track. The problem was solved in the software by firstly detecting the slippage i.e. no movement when the motor is turning,  and reversing from the point of resistance then  driving the dome at high speed forward past the point of resistance.  It’s a bit messy but appears to work in all cases so far. The current version of the Arduino software can be found here.




8 July 2019


After deciding not to submit my observations of 26 June of the light curve of NEO/PHA (Potentially Hazardous Asteroid) 66391 (1999 KW4)  I checked how much data was already available on its light curve and rotational period in the ALCDEF database.  The Asteroid Lightcurve Data Exchange Format (ALCDEF) is the database of lightcurve data where amateur (and professional) astronomers are encouraged to send their observations.  It is created by Brian Warner and hosted by the Minor Planet Center (MPC).   It only showed two previous observations so I decided that it may be worth submitting my 310 datapoint light curve despite being somewhat ‘noisy’.  This was my first submission  of asteroid photometry to ALCDEF.  In addition to submitting the raw data to ACLDEF, I also processed the data using Brian Warner’s MPO Canopus application to determine the rotational period of this binary asteroid.