Real-time exposure control and instrument operation with the NEID spectrograph GUI

Arvind F. Gupta, Chad F. Bender, Joe P. Ninan, Sarah E. Logsdon, Shubham Kanodia, Eli Golub, Jesus Higuera, Jessica Klusmeyer, Samuel Halverson, Suvrath Mahadevan, Michael McElwain, Christian Schwab, Gudmundur Stefansson, Paul Robertson, Arpita Roy, Ryan Terrien, Jason Wright

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Scopus citations


The NEID spectrograph on the WIYN 3.5-m telescope at Kitt Peak has completed its first full year of science operations and is reliably delivering sub-m/s precision radial velocity measurements. The NEID instrument control system uses the TIMS package (Bender et al. 2016), which is a client-server software system built around the twisted python software stack. During science observations, interaction with the NEID spectrograph is handled through a pair of graphical user interfaces (GUIs), written in PyQT, which wrap the underlying instrument control software and provide straightforward and reliable access to the instrument. Here, we detail the design of these interfaces and present an overview of their use for NEID operations. Observers can use the NEID GUIs to set the exposure time, signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) threshold, and other relevant parameters for observations, configure the calibration bench and observing mode, track or edit observation metadata, and monitor the current state of the instrument. These GUIs facilitate automatic spectrograph configuration and target ingestion from the nightly observing queue, which improves operational efficiency and consistency across epochs. By interfacing with the NEID exposure meter, the GUIs also allow observers to monitor the progress of individual exposures and trigger the shutter on user-defined SNR thresholds. In addition, inset plots of the instantaneous and cumulative exposure meter counts as each observation progresses allow for rapid diagnosis of changing observing conditions as well as guiding failure and other emergent issues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSoftware and Cyberinfrastructure for Astronomy VII
EditorsJorge Ibsen, Gianluca Chiozzi
ISBN (Electronic)9781510653597
StatePublished - 2022
EventSoftware and Cyberinfrastructure for Astronomy VII 2022 - Montreal, Canada
Duration: Jul 17 2022Jul 21 2022

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceSoftware and Cyberinfrastructure for Astronomy VII 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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