THIS IS AN ADVANCED OPTION

As it can be tricky to write your own scripts, and because ACP planner is somewhat archaic, I'm going to let you in on a little secret.  Before I do, however, if you haven't yet, please read our FAQ on Script Writing here.

There are two ways to do this - The best way is with a hidden directive called "chain".  The second is with the use of "Plan Stacking"

FOR CHAIN

Use the web-based script planner (http://www.itelescope.net/reservations) to write your script for example, the M51. as a stand alone, perhaps as "M51.txt". Then use the generator to generate a separate script for your second observation. Let's say you called it: M51-2.txt

Now, use the "My Plans" section in the iTelescope interface to download your M51.txt plan. Edit the script, and add only one line to the end:

#chain M51-2.txt

Save it, and re-upload it under the original file name, and you're done.

An example of this in use would be there two plans:

For example:


Plan 1


M51.txt


#count 1,1,1

#interval 300,300,300

#binning 1,1,1

#filter Red,Green,Blue

M51    13.4983    47.2

#chain M51-2.txt

 

 

Plan 2

 

M51-2.txt


#count 3

#interval 300

#filter Luminance

M51    13.4983    47.2


This will result in only one minor annoyance -- your receipt will not include the log for the M51 images. (You will be billed, but you won't see the log itself). You can review the log any time by using "My Logs" on the web.

Note that you can chain an unlimited number of scripts in this manner.

As to billing, yes, you are billed only for the time the shutter is open on your target. You are not billed for slews, focusing, or centering exposures. The exception is that there's a minimum billing amount for a scope (usually a few points), so that science users can't do 30 exposures of 10 seconds each, and be billed for only 5 minutes of time when the run will take well over an hour.

Actual time to run a plan depends on the number of focuses, the number and binning of images, and the duration of your exposure time. A good rule of thumb is:

Total imaging time +
7 minutes for initial focus/slew +
1 minute per image taken for readout/calibration +
30 seconds per image taken for dithering +
5 minutes, general error (2nd focus star, reservation start delay, etc.) =
Total reservation time


If using periodic focus or periodic point, first determine the number of focus/pointing runs by taking the Total reservation time from above and divide it by the interval you set for periodic focus/point, and subtract 1.  (IE: if you choose periodic focus and point every 30 minutes, divide Total reservation time by 30, and then subtract one from that answer, as the initial focus/point will happen automatically.)


For each periodic focus run add 3 minutes

For each periodic pointing run add 4 minutes

This will very nicely approximate your total session time, which you can then use to determine your expected end time.

*IMPORTANT* - Use of #chain directive in a script will break the capped billing system - please avoid using #chain if you wish the capped billing system to function.


FOR PLAN STACKING

Plan Stacking simply takes the idea of chain and moves it all into one single plan.  For example:

M51.txt


#count 1,1,1

#interval 300,300,300

#binning 1,1,1

#filter Red,Green,Blue

M51    13.4983    47.2

#count 3

#interval 300

#filter Luminance

M51    13.4983    47.2


With this method, the system will take the Red, Green, and Blue image of M51, but instead of ending the plan at that time, it will start again once it sees the second "#count" continuing to image the Luminance.  This can also be done with different targets - So you can effectively jump from one target to another consecutively without pause.

The one major drawback here is that Plan Stacking does not force the system to do a pointing run in between targets, so if you stack too many targets in a row, you in crease the likelihood that the system will run into a pointing error.

---------------------

Fine Move Method - NEOs, searches for comets etc. No Tracking.

With the exception of T27, none of our systems have a rotator and have a fixed PA, so this cannot be adjusted.  We also have #manual deactivated on all of our networked systems as our community has many members with very different levels of experience and no real way to define which users are experienced enough to handle manually slewing a system without damaging it.


So, to prevent this damage, the only solution is to eliminate the possibility.


What you can do, however, is use #trackoff and point the target directly at a specific RA/DEC, image, and in the same plan (without the use of #chain and henceforth without additional plate-solve/corrective slew) enter a second target with #trackoff and a new RA/DEC:  As a simple example:


#trackoff

#count 3

#interval 60

#binning 1

#filter Clear

mytarget11.77 +5

#count 3

#interval 60

#binning 1

#filter Clear

mytarget12.33 +10

 

This script will have the system perform an initial plate-solve and then corrective slew to RA 11.77 DEC +5.  Next, it will take 3 x 60 Clear bin 1 images and then slew direction to RA 11.77 and the DEC 12.33 +10, at which point it will take 3 x 60 Clear bin 1 images - note that there is no platesolve or corrective slew between targets, and with #trackoff in use, the system will not track any stars - holding it's position for each session. 


You can also keep tracking on for this, but you will have drift in the position based on the target - either way, this may fit your requirements.


We do offer this type of full manual control you are looking for in privately hosted systems.