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Proceedings Paper

Scheduling and executing Phase II observing scripts on the Hobby-Eberly Telescope
Author(s): Niall I. Gaffney; Mark E. Cornell
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Paper Abstract

We describe our scheme for scheduling and observing with the Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET). The HET will be operated 85 percent of the time in a queue-scheduled, service observing mode. Principal investigators (PIs) use software planning tools to determine how to make their observations with the HET, and submit proposals for telescope time to local Time Allocation Committees (TACs). Once time has been granted, PIs submit detailed observing scripts which instruct HET operations how, when, and under what conditions data are to be taken. These scripts are compiled into a relational database which is used to schedule the telescope. Observations are scheduled using TAC and PI-assigned priorities to rank plans relative to ne another. Resident astronomers use these priorities plus a set of simple precedence rules to determine which objects are to be observed each night. The execution of observation scripts is mostly automated, with the software commanding the telescope position and building data acquisition macros for each instrument. Aside from building and running the nightly observing queue, the resident astronomers are responsible for identifying targets, starting exposures, and validating data quality. They may also revise the observing queue in real time as conditions change. We discuss our initial experience working with this system, scheduling and executing observations during the commissioning of the HET.

Paper Details

Date Published: 3 July 1998
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 3349, Observatory Operations to Optimize Scientific Return, (3 July 1998); doi: 10.1117/12.316481
Show Author Affiliations
Niall I. Gaffney, Hobby-Eberly Telescope (United States)
Mark E. Cornell, McDonald Observatory (United States)


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

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