Instructions for Visiting Astronomer

During the first year there will be only observations for the Public Surveys, which are all executed in service mode.

Early Science Time Visitor Runs

The only exception is for a limited small number of nights assigned to groups that provided special filter sets. In this case a number of special procedures need to be applied due to the fact that the visitor mode is not yet implemented with the actual observation tools:

  • General guide lines for visiting astronomers on Paranal can be found on the Science Operations Web
  • Unlike for VLT(I) runs there will be no support astronomer at the console until the end night, but a well experienced telescope and instrument operator.
  • OBs are to be prepared with p2pp version 3 for the public surveys.
  • Phase 2 support is provided by Paranal Science Operations (, but we expect that the PIs prepare and check-in their package or part of their package before the arrival on Paranal (on the other hand it is in this case ok to arrive a day before the run).
  • The verification of OBs within p2pp will be disabled for the "early visitor mode" runs to avoid that policy checks are performed which are meant only for the public surveys. If users intend to check the consistency of their OBs then they may contact Paranal Science Operations (
  • We believe that the respective observers have already installed sadt and p2pp-v3 on their personal laptops. We could provide a local installation on our computers if this is not true.
  • OBs are scheduled at night time with the service mode tool ot (not with p2pp). Changes to the OBs, once checked in and accepted for the scheduling, are limited to a small number of parameters (in BOB). Further changes can be done only in the user p2pp, and the OBs must checked again into the data base: duplicate the OB, modify it, check it into the database. (In future there will be an edit option in ot, when the visitor mode is implemented in the version 3 tools, but this is not yet fully implemented).
  • In general the data package can not be prepared on Paranal. We can plugin up to 4 usb disks on the user work station, and can otherwise only offer to deliver the data via the Garching archive (if the PIs do not anyway have an agreement with CASU). This must be organized on case by case basis after estimating the different data flow rates of the projects.
  • Safety rules, policies on target changes and other rules are to be applied according to what is defined for VLT(I) runs.
  • As already mentioned above: Soft rules for service mode observations (like limits for the execution time of OBs to give an example) are not applied in these runs, while some other rules still make sense to follow (airmass limit set to 2.0, limits on DIT to avoid saturation, etc) even though these rules are not enforced by the operators.