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Proceedings Paper

Submillimeter flexible scheduling with the JCMT
Author(s): Graeme D. Watt
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Paper Abstract

The advent of SCUBA, and the imminent delivery of a new state-of-the-art heterodyne receiver to operate in the 650 micrometers and 450 micrometers bands, indicate that the JCMT is primarily being driven towards high-frequency submillimeter observations. The number of applications from the community requesting time using SCUBA has already led to a large over- subscription for the high-frequency submillimeter weather. Thus it has become significantly more important, and timely to experiment with flexible observations in order to maintain the JCMTs status as one of the world's submillimeter telescopes. It has been estimated elsewhere that weather conditions appropriate for efficient operation of these types of instruments in their highest frequency modes occurs only about 30 percent of the time over Mauna Kea. Techniques for predicting the water vapor content over the mountain, and hence the sky opacity, would be extremely useful and studies are in progress towards this goal. A brief analysis of actual sky opacity records indicates that a figure nearer 25 percent may be appropriate over the past 3 years. There is evidence that certain meteorological disturbances, such as the El Nino effect, may result in an enhancement of the percentage of extremely dry weather to around 40 percent. This paper describes early attempts to flexibly schedule high-frequency submillimeter observations on the JCMT. Some of these schemes have met with more success than others. In the light of past experiences, a significantly different flexible queue-driven system was implemented for the first observing semester using SCUBA in an attempt to maximize the scientific return achievable given the 'weather' available. Details are presented of the operation and result obtained from this highly successful scheme. A brief description is also given of the currently running, slightly revised version of the system.

Paper Details

Date Published: 3 July 1998
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 3349, Observatory Operations to Optimize Scientific Return, (3 July 1998); doi: 10.1117/12.316479
Show Author Affiliations
Graeme D. Watt, Joint Astronomy Ctr. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3349:
Observatory Operations to Optimize Scientific Return
Peter J. Quinn, Editor(s)

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