Originally from Maryland, Kirsten moved to Hawaii to attend college at UH Manoa, where she is currently majoring in Mechanical Engineering.  After she completes her bachelor’s degree in Spring 2014, she plans to return to school to obtain a master’s degree.  In her free time, she works as a server and likes to play volleyball.

Home State: Washington
Institute when accepted:  UH Manoa

Dome Control Automation: An Innovative Approach with Inertial Navigation Sensors
Project Site: Oceanit
Mentor: Allister Knox, Michael Bush

Project Abstract:

When observing the night sky, the mount slews the telescope to track satellites that orbit the earth. In an observatory, when the telescope slews to new azimuth, the dome slit must move with and remain in front of the telescope’s field of view, allowing an unimpeded imaging of the sky. To ensure the dome slit and telescope move synchronously, a system needs to be implemented to automate the dome. Rather than using the mount software to send serial commands directly to the dome motor controller, the system will utilize inertial movement sensors to track the motion of the telescope and move the dome to the correct azimuth. This system will decouple the mount control software from dome control. Accelerometers are placed on the telescope to measure the linear acceleration of the telescope. Simple simulations in SolidWorks were used to visualize and compute the possible movements of the telescope. The project will continue by attaching the accelerometer to telescope and develop a code to interpret output data into movement of the dome. After system implementation, testing, and calibration, the dome will be automated and move correctly while the telescope is tracking. Depending on the positional accuracy of the initial implementation, the company may continue to improve on the system by editing the written code, to enhance the interpretation of data from the accelerometer.