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Fibre Configuration


af2_configure is the program used to create a fibre configuration. You should start the process of creating configuration files well in advance of your run, and send your configuration files to your Support Astronomer (SA) for checking at least one week before your run. See the af2_configure manual for more information.

Please follow these instruction to dowload and install af2_configure on your computer:

  1. Download the source and executable:
    • Linux and Solaris: af2_configure.tar.gz. This gzip-ed tar file contains the source and the precompiled Linux (i686) and Solaris (SunOS sun4u) executables. The executable was created under Redhat Enterprise but should work without recompiling in many other distributions.

  2. Unpack it in a directory of your choice:

    for GNU tar: gtar -zxf af2_configure.tar.gz
    for Solaris tar: gzip -cd af2_configure.tar.gz | tar -xf -

  3. IMPORTANT: the latest version of af2_configure can automatically download the updated versions of the files below from this server. To download the files manually please follow these instructions:

    The versions of the files used to generate the configuration files should be the same as the current system versions used to perform the physical setup; the versions linked above are synchronised with the system versions.

  4. Go into the test directory:

    cd af2_configure/test

  5. Execute af2_configure (default answers are fine, you will be asked for a .fld file, a few of which you will find in the test directory):


    Note: the executable is dynamically linked. You can check if all libraries to run it are available on your system with the following command:

    ldd ../bin/af2_configure.x

    Check the output carefully for error messages. In case there are any, follow the guidelines below to compile af2_configure.

  6. Documentation can be found in af2_configure/doc directory. Also make sure to check the AF2/WYFFOS web page.
Compiling (only if necessary):
  1. Set the SYSTEM environment variable
    setenv SYSTEM sun4_Solaris
  2. Go into the source directory for af2_configure
    cd af2_configure/src/af2
  3. ./mk deinstall
  4. Go into the source directory for chr
    cd ../chr
  5. ./mk deinstall
  6. Go into the source directory for sla
    cd ../sla
  7. ./mk deinstall
  8. Change back into the src directory
    cd ..
  9. Undefine the SYSTEM environment variable
    unsetenv SYSTEM
  10. Run the build command
    (answer 'y' to the question about using internal versions of chr and sla libraries)

Checking your configurations

Your configurations should be checked by the telescope observing system software in advance of your observations to avoid any risk to the fibres. Send your configuration files to your SA for checking at least one week in advance of your run, so that there's sufficient time to fix any problems that may occur.

Instructions on how to check a configuration file:

This is a brief set of instructions on how to check configurations at the telescope, e.g. should you wish to make changes to, or create new, configurations.

  1. In the WHT control room, log in as whtobs (your SA will provide you with the password) at the machine labeled as whtdrpc1 (or whtdrpc2).

  2. Open a terminal and create a directory corresponding to the PI's surname, as follows:

    >mkdir /home/whtobs/AF2/PI_NAME/

  3. Copy your configuration files using scp. For example, if you brought your files in a flash drive, and it is mounted as /media/flashdrive/, do:

    >cd /media/pendrive/
    >scp configuration_files*"

  4. Connect to icsdev (or, alternatively, icsdev2) using ssh:

    >ssh -X whtobs@icsdev (or, alternatively, >ssh -X whtobs@icsdev2)

  5. Once logged in, type


    and then

    >cd /home/whtobs/AF2/PI_NAME/

    You can now check your configuration files by typing:

    >af2 checkt configuration_file.cfg xx:xx:xx

    where xx:xx:xx is the sidereal time (the average) you are planning to observe the given configuration (you can check this at

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Contact:  (AF2 Instrument Specialist)
Last modified: 14 August 2013