EUROPEAN SOUTHERN OBSERVATORY
Service Observing: Phase II
Warning: This page is for Period 81 only (starting April 1st, 2007). For Programs to be executed during Period 80 (including DDT and ToO), please refer to the instructions for that period.
|SofI, EFOSC2, HARPS||Full Phase II required, follow instructions on this page. Dead line for submission of the Information Package is Thursday, 14 February 2008, at 12:00 Central European Time|
|WFI, FEROS||Supported by USD, follow their general and WFI- and FEROS-specific instructions|
This document is designed to guide you through the Phase II of your Service Observations (SO) at La Silla for Period 81.
Service Programs on WFI and FEROS on ESO/MPI 2.2m get support from the User Support Department; for these programs, you should refer to the generic Phase II at VLT and WFI page, to the WFI-specific page and links therein. All the other La Silla instruments are covered in here.
Most of this document is also relevant for Director Discretionary Time (DDT) and, in some cases, for Target of Opportunity (ToO) observations.
This document is not valid for P.80 and anterior (P.79 info). Changes from the previous period are in bold face; if you are a usual customer of La Silla SM, look for these.
During this Phase II, you will prepare all the observations to be executed for your program. The observations are defined using "Observation Blocks" (OBs). Each OB specifies an individual observing sequence that can --and should-- be scheduled and executed completely without interruption. OBs can specify simple operations like "acquire one R-band image with EMMI" as well as complex operations like "Preset the telescope, identify the star and move it to the 0.6" slit, and obtain a sequence of jittered spectra in the K band through the low resolution grism, then another sequence of jittered spectra in the J band" with SofI. This preparation is performed using the P2PP tool (more below).
In addition to the OBs, you will have to prepare finding charts for each of your OBs, and to write up a README file describing your strategy. All these informations, which constitute your "Information Package" are to be submitted to the La Silla Science Operation (SciOp), which will review them. Accepted OBs are queued for scheduling, while rejected OBs will be returned to you, and must be corrected and re-submitted before scheduling can begin. The instrument scientist (IS) is responsible for this process. Don't hesitate to contact him for any question related to the strategy of your observations, or their implementation in OBs: an iteration at this stage can save a lot of time and headache at a later time. The name and email of the IS can be found in the La Silla SciOps pages. If you don't receive a reply within a couple of days, re-send your message to firstname.lastname@example.org: it can happen that SciOp astronomers cannot access their email, but lasilla is checked several times every day.
Various flavors of Service Observing are available. The type of Service Mode applicable for your program is indicated in the message you have (or soon will) receive.
The VLT and WFI have different classes of programs (A, B, C) of different priorities. This is not the case at La Silla (except WFI and FEROS). Basically, all programs start with the same priority. All other constraints being equal, a started program has priority over a non-started program. At the end of the period, all programs are closed, and the remaining OBs are generally not carried over to the next period.
The PIs of all Service Observation programs must complete the following steps:
1-Install the P2PP Tool:
refer to http://www.eso.org/observing/p2pp/P2PP-tool.html for instructions. Be sure to retrieve the Java version, P2PP v. >= 2.9, and to retrieve the version number listed on that page. For help with this installation, pls contact email@example.com (not SciOp: we are P2PP users, but have no special knowledge about the installation of that program; the specialists are at USD). Again, p2pp-2.8.* (and previous) will not work properly.
2-Install the appropriate P2PP Instrument Package(s).
As of 2002-02-01, all the instrument packages are automatically updated within P2PP (v >=2.5). The appropriate OB will be uploaded automatically by P2PP. The instrument package you download now contains the computation of the execution time.
3-Read the general documentation:
4-Read the instrument specific pages
Each instrument is listed on the Instrument Operation Teams page. Please download and read the instrument User's Manual.
5-Discuss your observing strategy
with your support astronomer. Unless you are a
veryexperienced La Silla observer, we strongly recommend at least one iteration. Better a short email exchange soon with your support astronomer than a notification the day before the dead line that you have to re-write all your OBs.
6-Create Observation Blocks (OBs),
following instructions and advice in P2PP User's Manual.
Your P2PP ID and Password were included in your notification message. If not, or if you did not receive your message, contact the User Support Department, firstname.lastname@example.org.
For P2PP specific problems, pls contact email@example.com.
For telescope, instrument, template and strategy problems, contact your support astronomer.
You must create one OB for each observation; each OB must include an acquisition template. Observations that have to be repeated must have the corresponding number of copies of the same OB (use the "duplicate" function in P2PP). While preparing the OBs, just use the normal automatic save to disk (local cache). The instructions on how to send us the OBs are given later.
For OPC-pre-approved TARGET OF OPPORTUNITY observations, please provide a model of the OB you want to execute, assuming a typical object. Leave the coordinates to 00:00:00, 00:00:00. When you trigger the ToO, send us the coordinates, and the adjusted exposure times if needed. You don't have to provide multiple copies of these model OBs. The ToO must be triggered using the Web Form available at http://www.eso.org/lasilla/sciops/bin/sciOp_tooForm.cgi. This trigger must reach us 16h00 La Silla time. The La Silla ToO policy is found here
- For DDT ToO Program,
- prepare the OBs
- export them in a local impex directory
- make a tar file with the .obx files, the README and finders (see below)
- email the tar file to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For desesperaterly urgent program, contact us directly: we may sometimes consider some exceptions to the above.
- For DDT non-ToO program, send us the OBs as for any normal SO program, as soon as possible after you got the time.
OB Rules and Advices:
Some observing strategies cannot be supported in Service Mode; in particular, real-time decisions about the sequencing of OBs, complex OB sequencing, or decisions based on the outcome of previously executed OBs (like adjustment of integration times or execution of some OBs instead of others).
OBs are only executed once. If you want to repeat an identical observation multiple times, you must submit multiple OBs. This requirement applies to standard stars as well.
OBs are executed non-contiguously. Since efficient Service Mode operations require continuous flexibility to best match the OB constraints with actual observing conditions, OBs for a given programme are normally scheduled non-contiguously. Therefore, users should not expect their OBs to be executed on a specific sequence or in a linked way, unless a sound scientific justification (to be indicated in the README file) exists. Exceptions to this rule are cases in which one OB observing a calibrations source needs to be executed contiguously to a science OB.
OB execution times must be below 1 hour. Long OBs are more difficult to schedule and execute within the specified constraints because of the unpredictable evolution of the observing conditions. For this reason, OBs taking more than one hour to execute time are accepted by ESO only in exceptional cases. Contact your support astronomer to request an exception.
Time constraints must be indicated in the OBs. If you intend to observe time-critical events or monitor a target at specific time windows, you need to indicate this under the Time Intervals tab of the OBs. This information needs to be provided also in the corresponding section of the README file. Specifying time windows as broad as possible will reduce the possibilities that your OBs are not executed because of higher priority programmes or because the external conditions did not allow the observations during the interval that you specified.
Specify the weakest possible Constraint Set values. OBs that can be executed under a broad range of conditions are easier to schedule, especially if they belong to priority groups B or C. In particular, if photometry is needed of a field, it is normally sufficient to obtain a short integration under photometric conditions (transparency = PHOT) and carry out the rest of the integration with OBs having a transparency = CLR constraint.
Standard Calibration Plan
We take care of the standard calibration OBs (defined in the table below): you don't have to define OBs for these (but you can), and you don't have to take them into account when computing your total time. Just mention in your README file (see below) that you want standard calibrations.
If you want more calibrations, or specific calibrations, you will have to prepare the corresponding OBs, and the night-time calibrations will be charged on your time credit.------------------------------------------------------------------------------
STANDARD CALIBRATION PLAN
we take care of all the "technical" OBs, including setup, focus...
+ Visible Imaging (SuSI2, EMMI, EFOSC2) in UBVRI
- Biases, Twilight Flats (if possible, priority given to standard
filters) or Dome Flat fields.
- At least 2 Landolt Standard star fields at different airmasses
during the night, if it is photometric night and PHOT requested.
+ Visible Imaging (SuSI2, EMMI, EFOSC2) in non-standard filters (not UBVRI)
- Biases, Dome Flat fields.
- NO STANDARD. You have to provide the OBs.
+ Visible Spectroscopy (EMMI, EFOSC, FEROS, CES, HARPS): - Biases, Dome Flats, day-time wavelength calibration frames. - 1 spectrophotometric standard star with broad slit during the night (with the exception of CES and HARPS for which standards are observed upon request only). Radial velocity, line profile, and other exotic standards are NOT part of the calibration plan and have to be provided.
+ SofI Infrared Imaging:
- "Special Dome Flats" (cf manual)
- 2 photometric standard stars during the night for JHKs
(polarimetric standards are not part of the standard calib.plan; non
standard filters are not included, you need to provide the OBs).
+ SofI Infrared Spectroscopy:
- Dome flats, wavelength calibration
- 1 Hip standard stars during the night.
- no standard calibration plan - specify what you need.
In case of doubt, please consult your support astronomer. Note that User-supplied Calibration OBs are executed only once. This is valid both for the "on-sky" calibrations (i.e. those with a specified target) and the "dome" calibrations (flats, arcs...).
Total time and overheads
IMPORTANT NOTE: The total time of your OBs must not be larger than the time allocated to your program. The "execution time" report of P2PP is to be used (note that this works only with P2PP v>=2.7. Pervious version generate quasi random execution times for La Silla instruments). To use them, press [Recalc Exec Time] for a given OB, or use the Report > ExecTime facility.
While completing the P2PP process, you may find the following tools useful:
- ESO Exposure Time Calculators: http://www.eso.org/observing/etc. The ETCs have been checked in May-Jun.2004.
- Various User Support Tools found on the User Support Services and Tools page
- ESO Archive home page: http://archive.eso.org
When you are done with the preparation of your OBs, select them all, and check them in (File > Check In). This will send them to the Repository at ESO. In your P2PP, they will appear padlocked, and will be in "read only" mode. If you change your mind, you have first to "check out" the OB before editing it. Doing so, it will be removed from the Repository, and therefore not be available for execution: you will have to check it in again.
Note that this is not optional: you have to check your OBs in, using the [file] > [Check-in] system, otherwise we will not have them, and your program will not be executed. The old way (sending the OBs via email) is not available anymore.
7-Create the finding charts
Finding charts are submitted as a part of the OBs. Please read the P2PP User Manual for a detailed description on attaching finding charts to OBs..
Each finding charts must have the following information and characteristics:
- observing run ID
- PI name
- OB name or Target name, as used in the OB to which it is attached
- N and E
- scale must be indicated with a bar, and writing the bar length
- the entire field of view of the instrument must be visible.
- the wavelength range at which the finding chart was obtained
- the image should be negative (dark stars and light background)
- the file must be in JPEG format, and its size must be <1Mb
- the target(s) position(s) must be clearly indicated
- spectroscopy finding chards must indicate the slit position
- if appropriate, spectroscopic run should have two finding chart for each OB: 1/ full instrument field, and 2/ magnified image indicating the spectroscopic target.
The only exception to this rule is the ToO observations for which the target is not yet known.OBs whose finding chart is missing or does not have all these characteristics will be rejected.
If you *really* feel a finder is not needed for your program, you can try to convince your support astronomer, but it is very probable that it will take you less effort to generate the finders than to get permission not to provide them...
To create compliant finders we recommend you use skycat with the finding chart plugin.. You can find it at http://archive.eso.org for the SkyCat tool, and info on the plugin is at http://www.eso.org/observing/p2pp/P2PP-FC-cookbook.html
8-fill in a README fileStarting from Period 75 the preparation and submission of README file is done using the P2PP tool. Please have a look at the appropriate section of the general SM document.
Submission of the Observation Blocks
All. service mode OBs must be submitted to the ESO database from P2PP, including the finding charts.
Submission of the README file
Checking in the OBs will not submit the README file: this has to be done using the CheckIn Readme option under the Readme menu.
Wait for the acknowledgement from your support astronomer. He will check your OBs and will possibly suggest you some changes. When everything is done, your OBs will be marked at "ready for execution" in the repository. If you check them out, they will disappear from the repository, and will not be scheduled.
As long as you did not get an "OK" from your support astronomer, the OBs are NOT schedulled and will not be executed.
11- Data DistributionWe will notify you when the program is complete, and send you the data. The package will contain the relevant calibration frames for your program, acquired within the noon-to-noon period centered on the night of the science observations. So if you see that some calibration frames are missing, please check the ESO Archive. Usually you will find them in one of the calibration batches executed a few days after the science observations.
Please remark that most of the policies
and special procedures defined for Paranal are also valid for La
Silla. In case of doubt or question, contact email@example.com
Sorry to be so directive, but this is the only way for us to get all the information we need to execute your observations.