The Guidecam Software for VIMOS

What is GUIDECAM?

Guidecam is a Skycat-based tool that allows to select a guide star from catalogues overlaid on the focus field of view, the VIMOS field of view and of the telescope guide probe.

In view of the experience obtained during the previous semesters of VIMOS operations, the selection of a guide star by the user with the Guidecam tool is mandatory for all (pre-)imaging observations. The user must select a guide star which does not vignet the field of view or, in case this is not possible, a guide star that produces acceptable vignetting, for example by blocking only those regions of the detector array where no objects of scientific interest are found.

Once the user selects a guide star, the following parameters must be entered in the acquisition template (e.g. VIMOS_img_acq_Preset): coordinates of the guide star ('Guide Star RA' and 'Guide Star DEC' template keywords) and guide probe orientation (PPOS keyword either POS or NEG value). 'Get Guide Star from' entry field in the acquisition template should be set to SETUPFILE. The correct values for the coordinates and Guide Probe orientation are obtained from the button "Get Guide Star Coords" in Guidecam Guide Probe Settings panel.

Please select the guide star carefully, especially in the case of imaging observations involving offsets! It is the responsibility of the user to check with Guidecam that the chosen guide star does not produce unacceptable vignetting in any of the frames to be produced by the execution of an OB. ESO will consider as executed within specifications an OB producing vignetted frames, implicitly assuming that such vignetting was already verified by the user and found to be acceptable.

In case that the selected guide star turns out to be inaccessible during the execution of the OB, the telescope operator will try to select an alternative one and use it for the observation, even if this alternative guide star produces vignetting. ESO reserves the right to charge to the time allocated to the run the time spent in identifying and setting up the alternative guide star.

Supported Platforms

As of Period 75, Guidecam is supported for Linux RedHat 9, but has been used successfully under other Linux operating systems.

Note about this release

Guidecam is shipped with the additional "Finding Chart" plug-in. Please note that it is mandatory to produce VIMOS (pre-)imaging finding charts with the Guidecam tool.

New: the Finding Chart plug-in allows you to superimpose the VIMOS detector footprint on your Finding Chart. Learn more about the plug-in in our Finding Charts cookbook.


Guidecam Installation

To install Guidecam, you will need to retrieve the tarball for your operating system, unpack it, and start the Guidecam executable.

Please follow these steps:

  • Move to the directory where you want to install Guidecam.
  • Download the following tarball to the chosen directory:
  • Unpack the tarball gunzip -c guidecam[Version].tar.gz | tar xvf -

    This creates a directory structure that starts with:

    guidecam[Version]/
  • Move to the guidecam directory cd guidecam[Version]
  • Initialize the environment variables according to your shell

    tcsh users:

    source setvars.tcsh

    bash users:

    source setvars.bash
  • Start-up the software ./bin/guidecamLite

    If the Guidecam main panel appears, you have successfully installed Guidecam. You can delete the compressed TAR file.


Guidecam Users' Manual

Instrument selector


This page is specific to VIMOS