Using Chimera

Chimera provides a few features to make your life easier when getting started with the system:

  • reasonable defaults;
  • fake devices as default when no configuration is supplied;
  • minimum boilerplate on command line once configured;
  • an easy to read/write configuration format: YAML: YAML Ain’t Markup Language.

Once installed, Chimera provides a few command line programs:

  • chimera
  • chimera-tel
  • chimera-cam
  • chimera-dome
  • chimera-focus
  • chimera-sched

Starting Chimera

To start the server component of the software, run:

chimera [-v|v]

This will start the server, with either the device set described in the configuration file or the set of default ones provided if no configuration is present.

Using the Chimera scripts

Every script has a –help option that displays usage information in great detail; here we will provide a few examples and/or use cases for your every day observing needs.

Additionally, all chimera scripts have a common set of options:

--version show program’s version number and exit
-h, --help show this help message and exit
-v, --verbose Display information while working
-q, --quiet Don’t display information while working [default=True]


Say you want to take two frames of 10 seconds each and save to file names like fake-images-XXXX.fits:

chimera-cam --frames 2 --exptime 10 --output fake-images


In routine operations, the dome and the telescope devices are synchronized; it is however possible to move either independently:

chimera-dome --to=AZ


Slew the scope:

chimera-tel --slew --object M5

As noted before, the dome will follow the telescope’s position automatically. If the dome is still moving, chimera-cam will wait until the dome finishes:

chimera-cam --frames 1 --filters R,G,B --interval 2 --exptime 30

After about one and a half minute, you’ll have three nice frames of M5 in R, G and B filters, ready to stack and make nice false color image.


This script controls a configured (or fake) filter wheel:

chimera-filter [-F|--list-filters]

chimera-filter [-f |--set-filter=] FILTERNAME

The former command will list the filters configured in chimera (or the fakes), the latter moves the filter wheel to the position referred to by the filter’s name.


This scripts controls a configured scheduler controller:

chimera-sched --new -f my_objects.txt

For example, creates a new observation queue with the objects from my_objects.txt file. For more information about the scheduler types, please check chimera-sched --help.