The central 75-inch monitor can display any of the computer screens in the room, and its output can be displayed in the lab room on the first floor. The four 40-inch monitors on either side of the main screen show the environmental screens for Kitt Peak (SARA North) (left) and Cerro Tololo (SARA South) (right).
The computer screens on the console are the actual screens telescope operators use to control the SARA North (left) and SARA South (right) telescopes. This view shows the data storage and reduction consoles on the left station and the local telescope control screens on the right console. The large console at the bottom of the screen is the principal investigators' station (Captain). This console can control any of the other displays and choose to put them on the main console if problems arise.
FIU is a member of the Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy (SARA) consortium which consists of ten universities that together operate research telescopes at Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO) in Arizona, and at Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory (CTIO) in Chile. Both of these telescopes are operated remotely during some nights using control computers at FIU. The SARA Control room will house computers equipped to control both instruments as well as the local telescope in the dome atop the Stocker AstroScence Center, the FIU telescope.
Dr. Webb’s investigation into the most efficient layout for control rooms led to a particularly efficient arrangement that opened up a unique stylistic opportunity. The most efficient arrangement for the circular SARA control room would be a layout that features stations for control of each telescope facing a main large screen monitor. On the wall opposite the entrance, the large-screen monitor will be able to display any of the images from the three telescopes (KPNO, CTIO, FIU). Weather monitors for all three observatories will be prominently displayed on smaller screens mounted on either side of the main screen so observers can constantly monitor the weather conditions at all three locations at a glance.
Students who will be controlling the telescopes will occupy a semicircular desk facing the large monitor, each operator having two screens: one for telescope control and the other for camera control. Behind the telescope, controllers will be a station for the principal investigator (PI). From here, the astronomer in charge of the night will sit and monitor the activities of all of the telescopes. The PI computer would have the ability to see any of the telescope screens, as well as project any of the monitors up on the large screen. Around the sides will be two computer stations where students can analyze and print the data.