SBIG AO Control

The SBIG AO-7, AO-8, AO-8T, AO-L, and AO-X adaptive optics units are tip/tilt autoguider accessories that integrate with many models of SBIG cameras. The AO units require a radically different user interface than that provided by the standard Guide Tab autoguider functions; therefore, the Guide tab is not used. The AO device works by tilting an optical device - either a mirror or a thick window - to offset the image rapidly and precisely.

For configuration information for this driver, please see SBIG w/ AO.

It is strongly recommended that this entire section be read before attempting to use an AO tip/tilt autoguider unit. The documentation supplied with the AO should also be read to familiarize yourself with the characteristics of the device.

An SBIG AO device uses a special driver which controls both the camera and the AO unit itself. The Guide tab is not used; instead, a special SBIG AO Control window appears. The SBIG AO Control window is similar to the Camera Control window in that it is a tabbed dialog.

The SBIG AO Control window cannot be hidden as long as the AO is connected; however it will minimize when the MaxIm DL application is minimized.

The four SBIG AO Control tabs are:

Locate Take exposures to locate and select the guide star, including choosing exposure and binning settings. Also used to calibrate the motor drive (if used) and the AO optic.

Track    Track a star and monitor its position both visually and numerically. Control the exposure duration (track time) and certain guiding parameters, and monitor the guide star position.

Drive     Setup auxiliary correction using the telescope mount motors. This is optionally used to keep the guide star within range of the tip/tilt optic when mounts having large drift or periodic error are used.

Setup    Select the track box size, view or edit AO tip/tilt optic calibration settings, exercise the tip/tilt optic system to check operation, and dither exposures to compare guided and unguided star images.

When the AO unit is in operation, all of the regular Camera Control exposure controls operate normally. This means that exposure sequencing and automatic tricolor operation is supported while tracking with an AO unit. It is strongly recommended that a five second exposure delay be set to allow the AO unit to reacquire the guide star before the next exposure starts.

Before operating the AO unit, please read the Overview of AO Operation.