The University of Auckland

Project #50: Telescope scheduling



Telescopes observe celestial objects (or sources) in the sky. The telescopes are usually movable and can point at different positions in the sky. Very large scientific telescopes in astronomical observatories are highly specialised, very expensive and scarce. Hence, they must be used as efficiently as possible.

In a typical operation mode, a telescope will be configured to observe a given list of sources, which correspond to positions in the sky. It remains pointed at a source of the list for a certain observation period, e.g. 10 minutes, after which the telescope is rotated and tilted to point to the next object on the list. Due to the fact that the movement between positions takes time and that necessary observation periods might vary, this observation of sources becomes a difficult optimisation problem.

In this project you will develop scheduling and ordering algorithms to optimise the use of telescopes. This includes the development of a tool that can process lists of source to be observed which then creates optimised observation sequences that can be used for the operation of real telescopes.

This project will be done in collaboration with A/Prof Willem van Straten, Institute for Radio Astronomy and Space Research, AUT.


Telescope scheduling tool







Partner department supervisor

Partner department Co-supervisor



Lab allocations have not been finalised