ESO Faint Object Spectrograph and Camera
Portrait of an Observing Run
Preparing for Observations

A torch for your life
Contact your support astronomer
Instrumental setup
P2PP preparation
Visiting the telescope

A torch for your Life

You should find a torch in your hotel room. If not, ask for it at the Reception (Communications room). Always carry it on you and flash it around while on nocturnal jaunts. Cars are driven with very low illumination to minimise light pollution and so the torch is your only protection against being run over!

Contact your support astronomer

Contact your support astronomer as soon as you are ready for the intruduction.The best way to do so will be to get him/her on his/her beeper --- Dial 90 from any phone and after the single beep dial 03. At the end of the subsequent flurry of beeps speak clearly your phone number several times. You have some 10 seconds to convey the information. Hang up and your support astronomer will call you back and fix a meeting place and time (about 3.00 PM). This first meeting will be to briefly discuss your programme and strategy, identify the areas in which you need help and fix up a time for a more detailed meeting during that night. The support astronomer will be busy with the observer of that night from about 3.30 PM until about an hour after sunset, and may not be available at all if he/she is doing service observations. Thus the preliminary meeting has to be concluded before 3.30 PM.

Instrumental Setup

The observer is expected to discuss his/her observing strategy with the support astronomer and finalise the instrumental setup (Filters, Grisms and Slits) at the earliest, taking into consideration the requirements of the programme and the choices available. Changes to the instrumental setup must be requested at least 24 hours (preferably 36 hours, i.e. the previous afternoon) in advance of the night for which they are required. Do this by informing the support astronomer AND submiting the online setup requestion form. Changing the instrumental set-up during the night is strongly discouraged; it could result in the loss of a substantial amount of observing time.

Phase 2 Proposal Preparation

Starting with Period 66 (October, 2000) the Java based version of P2PP (v2.x)  is being used to execute the observations. The P2PP generates observing blocks which are used by the telescope and instrument control systems to set up the appropriate configuration and execute the observation. So, it is important that the observer has a good working knowledge of P2PP for utilising the allocated time in an efficient manner. A brief outline of the steps involved in running P2PP for 3.6m/EFOSC2 at La Silla is given here. It is not, however, intended to be a substitute (not by far!) for reading the P2PP Manual.

While the support astronomer will provide a basic tutorial for using P2PP it is important that observers gain some familiarity with P2PP before coming to La Silla (or  at the least arrive at the Observatory two days in advance of the observations). A description of different observing modes and the corresponding P2PP parameters is available on the page on Observing Modes

If you have already prepared your observing blocks you will only have to ask your support astronomer for the appropriate computer user account to load them.

Visiting the telescope

Many visiting astronomers express a desire to visit the telescope control room while observations are going on before the start of their run, typically the previous night, to get a feel for the telescope and the instrument (the ease of operation, time overheads, layout of the control room, etc). This is allowed as long as such activites do not interfere with the observations.

At all times, permission must be obtained from the telescope team (such as the coordinator) before entering the building. Please call the intercom at the entrance before entering. In particular the decision whether someone can enter the telescope building rests entirely with the team, and one should not invite "a friend" to the telescope without clearing this first with the team. For safety reasons at no time can a visitor wander around the telescope building without supervision.

During Observations and after

Send comments to : ls-spectro

Last modified: Fri Feb 28 06:58:08 CLST 2003 

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