ANALOG-TO-DIGITAL UNIT (ADU)

The original voltage produced by the detection of a photoelectron in the CCD detector must be converted into a digital number in order to be stored and processes.  Often called a "count", although the number isn't equal to the number of photoelectrons because of the GAIN.

CHARGE-COUPLED DEVICE (CCD)

A type of imaging detector based upon semi-conductor technology.

CO-INVESTIGATOR (Co-I)

A user who has been given direct access to a PROJECT by the project's PRIME INVESTIGATOR.  Co-I's are allowed to change things, add tasks, etc.

DECLINATION (DEC)

Celestial latitude, measured in degrees, arcminutes, and arcseconds  north or south from the celestial equator.  Often referred to using the greek letter δ.

EXPOSURE TIME CALCULATOR

A tool to help you estimate what combination of exposure time, object brightness, and final SIGNAL-TO-NOISE (a measure of image quality) is to be expected.

GAIN

The number of original photoelectrons detected in the CCD detector before it was turned into a digital number (ADU).

JULIAN DATE (JD)

A way of measuring time in decimal civil days rather than in years, months, days, hours, minutes, and seconds.  The whole number part of JD changes at noon rather than at midnight for historical reasons.

MERIT

A synonym for a SCHEDULING MERIT.

MONET

The Monitoring Network of Telescopes, operated by the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, the McDonald Observatory of the Univ. of Texas at Austin, and the South African Astronomical Observatory.

OBSERVATION

The lowest unit of robotic operations triggered by an activated TASK which has been scheduled and resulted in images being taken.

PRIME INVESTIGATOR (PI)

The user mainly responsible for a PROJECT.  S/he can give access to the project to CO-INVESTIGATORS.

PROJECT

The highest unit of robotic operations.  Each project has a PRINCIPLE INVESTIGATOR and perhaps CO-INVESTIGATORS who manage it.  TASKs are added to the project to perform some robotic observation.

RIGHT ASCENSION (RA)

Celestial longitude, measured (for historical reasons) in stellar hours, minutes, and seconds.  Often abbreviated as "R.A." or "RA" or labelled with the greek letter α.

SCHEDULING MERIT

An algorithm for determining whether a TASK should be performed.  Merits are ways of describing the priority of a TASK based on things like height above the horizon, seeing, making observations during a particular time period, etc.

 SEEING

The degree of atmospheric disturbance measured as the effective angular width of a point-source like a star when measured in an image with a long exposure.

SETUP

A description of what steps are required to perform some observation.  For example, which filters are to be used and which exposure times.

SIGNAL-TO-NOISE (S/N)

A way to quantify how good a measurement is: the ratio of the total signal including noise to just the noise by itself.  One needs at least a S/N of 3 to see anything, 5 to really detect something, and much, much more for any decent measurement.

STELLA

The sister project of MONET operated by the Leibnitz Institut für Astrophysik in Potsdam.  The STELLA software is the basis for the robotic operations.

TARGET

An astronomical object to be observed.  Relevant for the system is mainly the position on the sky (in RIGHT ASCENSION and DECLINATION) and brightness.

TASK

A job to be performed by the robotic system within some PROJECT.  It consists of information about which TARGETs are to be observed, which scheduling MERITs are to be applied in order to assess which tasks should be performed.  When a task is selected by the robotic SCHEDULER, it results in an OBSERVATION being made.