FourStar Software Documentation

The Observatories of the Carnegie Institution for Science (Carnegie Observatories), Pasadena, CA

Version 2.3

Christoph C. Birk (birk AT obs DOT carnegiescience DOT edu)

Location of this document:

Current Status graphs (How does this work?)


Software Overview
FourStar and Guider FOV
Quick Start manual (what to do before/after an observing run)
System Setup and File Locations
Setup Window
System Files (Locations and Formats)
User GUIs
Camera GUI
QuickLook Tool
Telescope GUI
Further documentation:

  • FourStar User's Manual
  • The FourStar Infrared Camera website.
  • Getter Instructions 2015 (November/2015 warmup/cooldown)
  • Getter Instructions 2018 (August/2018 warmup/cooldown, Plots)


    Warmup/Cooldown August 2018 Plots

    v2.3.2 (2017-09-12)
  • Added a warning (dialog) when the user starts an exposure that is likely to saturate the arrays.
  • Ks: 20 seconds
    H, Hl, Hs: 32 seconds
    J: 120 seconds
    J3: 250 seconds
    J1, J2, NB209: 500 seconds
    NB118: 600 seconds
    v2.3.1 (2015-11-10)
  • Warmup/cooldown cycle and pumping to improve the dewar vacuum.
  • Some minor bug-fixes.
  • v2.3 (2014-06-18)
  • The average aperture value in the QuickLook Tool is displayed in red if the value is above the saturation threshold.
  • saturation = 50000 * exptime / (exptime + fowler*1.4555)
    'fowler' is the number of samples before and after the exposure time (ie. '1' for readmode Double)
  • Disabled the internal ftp mechanism to copy the status- and log-files to the web server at SBS.
  • The new system writes these files to the local disk and uses scp , initiated by a cron job, to copy them to SBS.
    Release Notes

    Software Overview

    The FourStar Control Software is responsible for data acquisition, instrument control (eg. filter wheels) and system monitoring (eg. dewar pressure and temperatures). The control software consists of two programs, 'StarGUI' and 'StarServer'.

    All code for the FourStar control system was written in the 'C' programming language. The user interface ('StarGUI') is a MacOS native application running under MacOS-X 10.5 (Leopard). The graphical components make use of the Carbon framework.
    Note: The StarGUI is currenly beeing ported to Objective-C to use the Cocoa framework and runs under macOS 10.9 (Mavericks) or newer.
    All communication between the GUI and to the hardware is via ethernet (TCP/IP sockets) thus avoiding any necessity for special drivers at the MacOS level.
    The data acquisition software ('Starserver') communicates with the array controller (ASIC) via a USB interface that is utilizes a COM (Common Object Model) libray, provided by Teledyne. The user GUI ('StarGUI') talks to the Starserver via the ethernet network (TCP/IP).

    FourStar and Guider FOV

    Instrument Software Documentation Index

    2009-04-08, Christoph C. Birk, Carnegie Observatories