AAVSO: American Association of Variable Star Observers

Automating a Small Urban College Observatory (Abstract)

Volume 49 number 1 (2021)

Donald Smith
Guilford College, 5800 West Friendly Avenue, Greensboro, NC 27410; dsmith4@guilford.edu,
Deshawn Reid
Guilford College, 5800 West Friendly Avenue, Greensboro, NC 27410; reid26856@gmail.com

Abstract

(Abstract only) We will report on our efforts to automate the operation and data processing of the 16-inch RCOS optical telescope at the Guilford College J. Donald Cline Observatory in Greesboro, North Carolina. We will briefly describe the hardware and software that comprise the instrument, and we will outline the Python scripts we have written to automate the observing schedule at night and the data reduction the next day. The final product is an ever-growing database of timestamped photometric measurements, from which can be easily extracted light curves for analysis. This fall, we have been carrying out our first oberving campaign on several variable stars indentified throught the AAVSO Target Tool as needing further observations. We will present our preliminary light curves and discuss the precision of the analysis, including the effects of the local light pollution conditions.