KPNO & WIYN Target of Opportunity Response

Last modified: 2010 August 04 by Merrill

Background: Target of Opportunity status can be granted to a few observing proposals each semester to allow observations of unpredictable phenomena. An example may be Gamma-Ray Burst targets, where rapid follow-up with ground-based instruments in visible and IR bands can provide important information about the event or the host object.

Because of the rapidly changing nature of such targets, it is important that we be able to react quickly and efficiently to such requests.

In general, the approved programs agree to work to minimize the negative impact on the regularly scheduled programs. This includes trying to make use of existing calibration data (e.g. flat field images etc.), using the instrument set-up of the scheduled program (i.e. not requiring a grating change, etc.). However, the regularly scheduled observers are obligated to obtain calibration frames (e.g. flat fields) if not part of the normal program and if a only a reasonable degree of effort is required to obtain the necessary calibration. The KPNO Director (Saha) or Supervisor of Mountain Scientific Support (Merrill) will be the adjudicator of what is reasonable if there is a need for a definition of "reasonable" in the context of the requested calibration observations. In the case of the WIYN 3.5m, the adjudicator of what is reasonable will be WIYN Director (Martin) or Deputy Director (Knezek) if needed.

Approved 2010B Target of Opportunity Projects:

Call-up Procedure -- Triggering a ToO Observation

Whom the PIs (or their designate, e.g. Co-Is) should contact to initiate the process of triggering an approved observation for their Target of Opportunity Program depends on the local (Arizona) time at which they are trying to make initial contact and which telescope they wish to use. In general, the goal is to put the ToO program into direct contact with the observers using the telescope and instrument that the ToO program is approved to use. We also want the observatories (KPNO & WIYN) to be able to track the activation of the program. The Observatories also can help with the communication between the teams and in helping to make sure that data makes it from the telescope to the ToO teams.

Before contacting anyone, the PI or contact from the ToO program will check the KPNO telescope schedule to verify that the telescope/instrument they want to use is available (i.e. it is a NOAO scheduled night as described above). They will then follow the procedure below depending on the time/day of attempting contact.

Data Taking

The current observer will be asked to take the ToO data following the detailed recipe furnished by the calling team. If the observer does not feel capable of making the observations, the OA (4m and WIYN only) may be requested to make the observations, assuming that the OA has had adequate experience with the instrument. The appropriate instrument, telescope, and/or observatory scientists may be contacted by the OA for assistance/guidance. Mike Merrill (all telescopes) and/or Abi Saha (KPNO 4m and 2.1m) and/or Martin/Knezek (WIYN 3.5m) may be contacted to clarify any confusion or misunderstanding over appropriate action to take. To avoid extra effort, we recommend that calibration data (such as flat field exposures) taken by the observers be shared with the ToO team.

Any images taken specifically for a ToO program should be identified with the NOAO proposal number (10B-0405 for McMillan) to make it easier to identify in the NOAO data archive. Use obspars or equivalent to put the information in the headers and be sure to restore the Porposal ID for the scheduled observer after the ToO observations have been completed.

If no one is available to take the data, the OA may have to notify the ToO team that we cannot support the request for that night, but should consult with Merrill or Saha (KPNO 4m and 2.1m) or with Martin or Knezek (WIYN 3.5m) before stopping efforts to obtain the data.

The data will be made available the following morning according to the Data Distribution Protocol below.

Guidance for performing ToO observations with specific instruments:

Data Distribution Protocol

By the following morning, KPNO staff (OA) will have arranged with the scheduled observer to transfer the Target of Opportunity (ToO) data files to a location from which the data may be transfered by sftp (or other agreed upon protocol) and to notify the ToO requester after the files have been transferred and are available.

The current Protocol for ToO data distribution can be found at Target of Opportunity (ToO) data files and are included below for completeness:

  • Instructions for Observers

    The observer will copy the data files to a computer ("rose") in the Admin. buidling on Kitt Peak. The account on "rose" is "too" with same password as the 4-meter observing password. No password is required from the observing accounts on most of the Kitt Peak observing computers.

    Use "scp" or "sftp" to copy the data files. These following examples assume that the three ToO data files are contained in the subdirectory "data-dir".

        4meter@tan% scp -pr data-dir/ too@rose:
        dflat2001.fits       100% |******************************|   133 MB    00:12
        zero2002.fits        100% |******************************|   133 MB    00:12
        obj2003.fits         100% |******************************|   133 MB    00:12
        4meter@tan% cd data-dir
        4meter@tan% sftp too@rose
        Connecting to rose...
        sftp> mput *
        Uploading dflat2001.fits to /data/too/dflat2001.fits
        Uploading zero2002.fits to /data/too/zero2002.fits
        Uploading obj2003.fits to /data/too/obj2003.fits
        sftp> quit

    When all the files are copied to "rose", execute the "transfer" command to transfer the files to the downtown ftp computer ("").

        4meter@tan% ssh too@rose bin/transfer

  • Overview of the Procedure

  • Installation Notes

    Last update: 2007 April 13