RECON Observation Protocol

For all official RECON campaigns, we would like all teams to collect the following four videos whenever possible:

  1. Position Video – Before aligning telescope, sites should set up and power on both the telescope and camera/IOTA/computer system to allow enough time for the IOTA-VTI to update to the current almanac. Some of the IOTA-VTI boxes will indicate when the almanac has been updated while other will not. Since this can take up to 15 minutes for some of the IOTA-VTI boxes, it is best to power everything up first. You can continue to align the telescope using the camera, finding the target field, and focusing the telescope in the mean time. After the almanac has updated, record a 5-10 second video with the IOTA-VTI set to “POSITION.” This ensures we have information about where the telescope was located during the event. After you have recorded this position video, you can set the IOTA-VTI back to “TIME.”
  2. Event Video – Record a continuous video file during the event window listed for your location on the table found on the RECON Event Detail Page for a given event.
  3. Sky Field Video – After the event, you should leave the camera system powered on but turn off the power to the telescope and record a 2 minute video. The telescope will not be tracking during this video so you will see stars moving through the field of view. The video will be used to create a sky-field image for use during data processing.
  4. Dark Field Video – After recording the sky field video, you should cover the front end of the telescope with the lens cover and record an additional 2 minute video with no light entering the telescope. This video will be used to create a dark-field image for use during data processing.

Each of these above videos should be saved as a separate file in the directory labelled C:/Users/RECON/Data/YYYYMMDD/. (Note that this directory is the UTC date of the observation.) You should set VirtualDub to save video directly to this folder with the first file being named YYYYMMDD_01. VirtualDub will then index each of the subsequent videos as YYYYMMDD_02, YYYYMMDD_03, etc.  You should record the filenames and information about each file using the RECON Observation Logsheet. On the logsheet, the most important items of information are the type of video, the sense-up, and the start-time. After the event, you should either a) make an electronic copy of the logsheet (using cell phone or copier) and save to the same directory, or b) type the information into a text file in the same directory. See Reporting Observations for more details.