Hello all, I'm Gabe ("1st year" uni student)

Hey all,

I’m Gabe, I’m an Engineering/Astro student in Sydney at Macquarie with an interest in planetary science and engineering. I say “1st year”, but it’s complicated, but that’s where my skill level mostly is. I found out about PANOPTES through the university’s Observatory program and got to know Wilfred by helping out with outreach.

I’ve spoken a bunch to Wilfred and helped set up his PAN008 unit, I’m keen to get involved! I’m relatively new to my degree and don’t really know what I want to do yet, but most likely for this project I’d like to get involved in the software/data side as well as outreach. I’ve been an observatory guide for at least a year now.

I think for now I’ll try and immerse myself more in the project’s workings in my free time and check out the files/data, but if members can suggest tasks for a relative newbie, I’m more than happy to throw myself at it and see if I enjoy it. Looking forward to helping out!

Cheers, Gabe.


Hey Gabe,

In addition to all the projects we talked about last Friday, there are some software specific issues listed under “good first issue” on github.

In particular, if you are wanting to learn some Python and start to get familiar with the code there are two things I would recommend:

  • Move pointing logic out of state: this is sort of a cut-and-paste job but would also involve making sure the tests still work, etc. Probably a really good first issue as you would first have to get familiar with cloning the repos, running the tests, etc.
  • Hardware modifications log: This is a little stand-alone project that we haven’t fully defined but do need. Basically any time we make changes to a unit we want to log it so that we can refer to it later. This can start out as a simple command-line interface but would also eventually be incorporated into the administrative web interface (PAWS). Basically just need a datetime stamp, a user, and a log message to start.

Feel free to jump into one of those. Let us know if you have some questions.


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Welcome, Gabe! We’d love to have help with PANOPTES software development. I’m glad you’re in touch with Wilfred, because he has a good sense of what’s needed regarding software improvements to make PANOPTES run smoothly. Ideally, we’d like to reach as many people as possible and get them involved, one way or another, in the search for transiting exoplanets. We’re glad to have you on our team!


Another project I was thinking about would be to to try and make the image differencing work faster on a raspberry pi. I was going to use a Pi as the main control computer for PAN008, but we currently do a plate-solve on each image in order to correct the tracking between each exposure and that plate-solve was taking 45+ seconds, which is way too long.

Could either try to speed up the plate-solving or just detect the stars as point sources and get a pixel offset without actually solving the image itself. In principle it shouldn’t be too hard. I can give you a Pi if you need one and you would only need a few sets of images to do the offset. If you really got ambitious you could access the GPU on the Pi and really speed it up. Might be a fun project.

I also think eventually it would be fun to try and build a guide camera from a raspberry pi and the pi cam. This would be a good intro to that.

Let me know if you want to chat about it some more.

Sounds really interesting, working with some hardware in conjunction with the software is something I’d like to do, especially if I can help out getting your new version off the ground in my spare time.

However, I am still figuring out the basics. I’ve only just started getting my head around GitHub and have got an IDE set up for Python, don’t know what ideas might be over my head at this stage!

Hello again,
Updated 7/9/19 as I’ve been looking into it some more
I’ve been reading through the documentation, I’m a little confused on how to go forward.
So, I think I’ve reached a bit of an impasse before I can starting running POCS. I am currently running through a MacOS Mojave laptop where I do the majority of my work and I understand either a) I need to install the Ubantu OS (don’t really want to change my OS on this, perhaps get a third party virtual box program?) or download Docker as a virtual environment, which only runs for Windows/Linux. Am I missing a solution or should I be shopping for another virtual environment?
I’ve also installed a package of Anaconda and have been getting used to Spyder, but I already have Python 3.7 on my system. Not sure if I’m installing a lot of unnecessary software and going down multiple pathways.
Thanks, Gabe.

Hey Gabe,

There’s no requriement that you have Ubuntu for working on software development, you should be able to clone the repositry and edit the code without problems. You will want a python environment set up and we recommend Anaconda for that. Anaconda is nice becuase it allows you to create separate environments. Each of those environments could have Python 3.7 but may have different supporting modules installed. To not confuse your host system (the Mac) or any other projects you may be working on it’s usually best to create a separate PANOPTES environment and then get testing working there (see below).

The Docker install makes it convenient as it has everything set up for running a unit properly. Docker is available for a Mac here https://docs.docker.com/docker-for-mac/install/ although that is not as well tested.

There is some work being done to make the Docker install seamless and easy, although that is designed mostly for the running units, i.e. on Ubuntu. Docker for Mac has some issues with networking which may or may not cause complications.

You will want to be able to run the tests as described on the README.

Hey all,

I’ve been getting my head around terminal and have followed install instructions via: Mac OSX Development Install for Mojave OSX. As far as I can tell, installation went smoothly from Anaconda and setting up the environment as well as Homebrew, but I started getting fatal errors in my terminal when going through astrometry instructions. I’ve added my terminal history from where I began installing astrometry from the wiki ‘curl’ code in Terminal. Attempts to go forward in the installation have resulted in a number of missing directories that I think mean I screwed up.

I’ll keep troubleshooting when I can, but I think I may have screwed up the install at the astronomy section in the wiki page. There is a link to the astromometry instructions and after looking through them I concluded they were much older and in some areas did the same thing (ie. the curl download) I went ahead and ran the code in the wiki section and did not do any of the instructions in the astrometry website (XCode, XQuartz, etc.). I have the XCode Command-line utilities, Homebrew and (I think) pip.

If anyone can help me out, that would be appreciated.

Hey Gabe, I’ll look over the terminal items later but in general the astrometry.net install can be annoying. It’s better these days but is definitely one of the reasons we were moving toward docker.

Another possible solution is the newly available conda version. In short, in the new environment you create for anaconda you can do:

conda install -c conda-forge astrometry

which is trying to install from the conda-forge channel. That is only a few days old and I have not tested it yet (probably no one has) but might be worth a try.

After it is installed you can get the index files for astrometry via:

python pocs/utils/data.py

Let me know how that goes.

Before I touch anything, are there any other dependencies this astrometry.net install requires? The astrometry website listed a number of them through Homebrew and XCode, XCode tools, XQuartz and pips.
Would I still need some of those programs other than conda/pips? XCode for instance is quite a big program in terms of file size.

conda would be intsalling everything you need and doing it in an isolated environment so that it doesn’t interfere with the rest of your system. That’s actually the main purpose of using conda is to handle all those dependencies correctly for you. In theory. :grin:

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Okay, I’ll give that a go as soon as I’m back on my laptop.

In addition to the conda install, I’ve set up Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS on my desktop. I’m attempting the Docker install and have gotten as far as Docker (version 19.03.2, build 6a30dfc), gcloud (Google Cloud SDK [263.0.0]) and up to docker-credential-gcr configure-docker under the ‘let Docker use gcloud’ subheading. When I try and run the aforementioned script in Terminal I get:

> WARNING: Unable to execute `docker version`: exit status 1
> This is expected if `docker` is not installed, or if `dockerd` cannot be reached...
> Configuring docker-credential-gcr as a registry-specific credential helper. This is only supported by Docker client versions 1.13+
> /home/gabe/.docker/config.json configured to use this credential helper for GCR registries

docker-credential-gcr gcr-login lets me log into my Google Container Registry just fine, but then if I try and run docker pull gcr.io/panoptes-survey/pocs:latest:

> Got permission denied while trying to connect to the Docker daemon socket at unix:///var/run/docker.sock: Post http://%2Fvar%2Frun%2Fdocker.sock/v1.40/images/create?fromImage=gcr.io%2Fpanoptes-survey%2Fpocs&tag=latest: dial unix /var/run/docker.sock: connect: permission denied

After looking around, I feel like the issue is with something called Dockerd as per the first error message. When I try and run dockerd I get:

> dockerd needs to be started with root. To see how to run dockerd in rootless mode with unprivileged user, see the documentation


If you want to try the docker version the best thing to do is:

bash -c $(wget https://install.projectpanoptes.org)
(FYI, those are back-ticks, not single quotes)


bash -c "$(wget -qO- https://install.projectpanoptes.org)"

Which in theory will do everything for you. This is the method we are aiming to get to.

I get the response that this has been installed:

> index.html        100%[===================>]   6.76K  --.-KB/s    in 0s      
> 2019-09-19 17:06:06 (39.0 MB/s) - 'index.html.4’ saved [6926/6926]
> bash: -c: option requires an argument

If I try and run something, say, docker run -it -p 9000:9000 --name pocs gcr.io/panoptes-survey/pocs, I get:

> docker: Got permission denied while trying to connect to the Docker daemon socket at unix:///var/run/docker.sock: Post http://%2Fvar%2Frun%2Fdocker.sock/v1.40/containers/create?name=pocs: dial unix /var/run/docker.sock: connect: permission denied.
> See 'docker run --help'.

From what I can tell, no POCs repository that I can find or a panoptes env has been created

This is from your old install because you had an error above.

Sorry, the command is:

bash -c "$(wget -qO- https://install.projectpanoptes.org)"

I will edit the above as well.