Introducing VAs to the Telescope and Instrument

Version 1.0:  2004-11-23   F.Selman
Version 1.1:  2006-05-20   O.Schuetz & F.Selman

One day before VA arrival

Familiarise yourself with the VA program

  • Cross-read the corresponding OPC proposal (see lasilla@kila:/~/observations/proposals/)
  • Look up the VA's P2PP account and password (see lasilla@kila:/~/P2PP_PID/progids.out) and note it in the VA info page

VA info page

  • Leave the filled "Information and Reminders" page at the reception. This should be given to the VA together with the other pages he/she receives from reception (phone, computer account)

VA car

  • Check that the amount of gasoline in the VA's car is sufficient

On the VA arrival day

Welcome and introducing the people

  • Show the VA where the hotel reception is located
  • Make clear that due to the weekly changing flight schedules the VA should inquire at the reception desk about the time of his departure to La Serena
  • Show the library building with the computer workspaces
  • Introduce the day TIO: name, beeper, and duties: set-ups, calibrations
  • Introduce the night TIO: name, beeper, and duties: observations, in charge of security of telescope and instrument
  • Explain which car the VA can use/share during (only) the nights of his observations. Inform him/her where to leave the car (dormitories block 3/4)

Introduce the telescope and instrument

  • Tour the relevant places showing the telescope and instrument
  • Tour the RITZ, make sure the observer can make his/her way to it

Introduce the relevant web pages

  • Instrument in a nutshell
  • Manual
  • Templates reference
  • Calibration plan
  • The set-up form
  • Show observing planning tools
  • Tell about Night Log 2.0 (filled by TIO)
  • If desired: Show where to find observing log sheets
  • EOM report

Discussion of the observing strategy

  • Discuss with the VA his/her goals and the observing strategy

Crash course in the use of p2pp

  • Show the relevant computers at the telescope console (w***drl, w***off)
  • Help to download OBs if necessary
  • Start p2pp
  • Explain calibration OB creation
  • Show science OB creation
  • Checking into database if needed
  • What not to do: long OBs, complicated OBs, etc.

Offline reduction machines

  • Clean the astro account previous to the introduction
  • Show the directory structure, where the images arrive, and where they can be reduced
  • Show the relevant quick look tools and/or pipelines
  • Show the facilities available: IRAF, MIDAS, IDL, ds9, Xephem
  • Theli is installed on w2p2off
  • Make clear that a backup of reduced data is the VA's responsibility

Weather constraints and Observatory Policies

  • Show the meteomonitor page and the closing down policy page
  • Support the TIO as the person who takes the decision to close
  • Explain the possibility that the VA run might be interrupted by a ToO and show the relevant page about ToO policies
  • Remind the VA that a change of his/her observing targets cannot be done without prior approval
  • Explain that due to staff working schedules morning sky flats are generally not supported. If a scientifically justified reason for morning sky flats is given, HoSciOps can decide on exceptions. However, Support Astronomers and TIOs may also volunteer to stay for morning flats.

2p2 related issues

  • Especially during summer: Much worse 2p2 seeing compared to DIMM
  • Pointing problems for northern positions > +20 deg
  • WFI autoguider feature: Guiding and IQ problems for southern positions > -70 deg
  • Optimal WFI flatfield sequence: U - Z - H_alpha - NBs - V - I - B - R
  • Mention WFI contamination problem
  • Explain WFI field illumination

NTT specific information

  • tbd

3p6 relevant details

  • tbd

(3) In the afternoon before start of the observations

Final startup

  • Start p2pp and retrieve the VA's OBs
  • Check the OBs: By the P2PP verification routine and also cross-read some OBs for frequent errors
  • Discuss which special calibrations will be required; now and for the coming nights
  • Fill in a data backup request form with the VA (now in remedy; must be filled with the help of the support astronomer). For WFI runs requiring an external USB disk it would be good to inform DHA a day in advance.

Remind on data backup

  • Raw data should be available before the VA's departure
  • Reduced data are the VA's own responsibility