Flexcam Image Capture Viewing and Spot Tracking

Flexcam software was designed to allow continuous monitoring of the mechanical deformation of the telescope structure at Palomar Observatory. Flexcam allows the user to watch the motion of a star with a low-cost astronomical camera, to measure the motion of the star on the image plane, and to feed this data back into the telescope’s control system. This automatic interaction between the camera and a user interface facilitates integration and testing.

Flexcam is a CCD image capture and analysis tool for the ST- 402 camera from Santa Barbara Instruments Group (SBIG). This program will automatically take a dark exposure and then continuously display corrected images. The image size, bit depth, magnification, exposure time, resolution, and filter are always displayed on the title bar. Flexcam locates the brightest pixel and then computes the centroid position of the pixels falling in a box around that pixel. This tool continuously writes the centroid position to a network file that can be used by other instruments.

Images are auto-scaled by the program to the screen. Flexcam also allows dark frame, or background frame, subtraction. The centroid of a star’s image is computed, while data from ghost images is excluded.

This program was written by Shanti Rao of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This software is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Karina Edmonds of the California Institute of Technology at (626) 395-2322. Refer to NPO-44361.

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