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Proceedings Paper

External and internal user support for service mode observations with ESO-VLT
Author(s): Petra Nass; Fernando Comerón; Stéphane Marteau; Dave Silva
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Paper Abstract

Since the beginning on April 3, 1999, the start of observations with the ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT), a significant fraction of the observations is executed in Service Mode (SM). SM observations require that the Principal Investigator (PI) provides all necessary information before the observation, so that the night astronomers in Chile have precise and complete indications on the execution requirements of every program. The observers also need to be able to know which observations can possibly be executed during a given night. The missing link between these external users and the operations staff at ESO-Chile is the User Support Department (USD) which ensures that this information flow runs smoothly and in a uniform way. This requires the existence of a well-designed network of reports and communication procedures serving purposes such as conveying information from the users to the observatory, allowing the USD support astronomers an efficient review and validation of the material submitted by the users, enabling reliable program execution tracking, or providing rapid program progress feedback to the users, etc.. These tasks manage a level of information flow that complements that of the VLT Data Flow System. This article will provide an overview about how the exchange of information for SM runs was optimized over the past 7 years, about the lessons learned by interacting with external users and internal operations staff, and the resulting changes and improvements.

Paper Details

Date Published: 30 June 2006
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 6270, Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems, 62702C (30 June 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.672164
Show Author Affiliations
Petra Nass, European Southern Observatory (Germany)
Fernando Comerón, European Southern Observatory (Germany)
Stéphane Marteau, European Southern Observatory (Germany)
Dave Silva, Thirty Meter Telescope, California Institute of Technology (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6270:
Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems
David R. Silva; Rodger E. Doxsey, Editor(s)

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