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Observation planning and finding charts for HiPERCAM, ULTRACAM and ULTRASPEC

The hcam_finder package provides Python scripts hfinder, ufinder and usfinder for observation planning with HiPERCAM on the WHT and GTC, ULTRACAM on the NTT and ULTRASPEC on the TNT, respectively.

These tools allow you to generate finding charts as well as specify the instrument setup you require, whilst providing an estimate of observing cadence, exposure time and S/N estimates.


Creating a finding chart and instrument setup for the above instruments are more tightly connected than is usually the case with CCD imagers. To avoid errors in phase II setups, you must use the tools above to generate finding charts. By doing so, and reading the instrument-specific documentation below, you will avoid the non-optimal phase II setups that arise from a lack of awareness of the peculiarities of imagers designed for high time resolution.

hcam_finder is written in Python and is based on TKinter. It should be compatible with Python2 and Python3.


The software is written as much as possible to make use of core Python components. It requires my own hcam_widgets module. It also relies on the third party libraries astropy for astronomical calculations and catalog lookup, as well as ginga for image display. Optionally, you can also use astroquery to expand the range of surveys one can download images from.

Installing using pip should take care of these dependencies. Simply install with:

pip install hcam_finder

or if you don’t have root access:

sudo pip install hcam_finder


pip install --user hcam_finder


hfinder is of course entirely bug free! However, if you do find an issue, please raise it at the github page.

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