KPNO & WIYN Target of Opportunity Response
Last modified: 2010 August 04 by Merrill
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
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:
Astrometric Search and Recovery of Asteroids and Comets Discovered by WISE
(Proposal ID: 10B-0405)
Dr. Robert McMillan
Address: Lunar and Planetary Lab and Steward Obs., 1629 E. Univ. Blvd, Tucson AZ,
85721-0092, USA, Phone: 520-621-6968
CoIs:James Scotti, Jeffrey Larsen, Amy Mainzer, Joseph Masiero
Summary of McMillan et al. KPNO:
The McMillan et al. program is not scheduled for KPNO.
KPNO 4m -- Imaging N/A
Summary of McMillan et al. WIYN:
can only be triggered during NOAO scheduled nights (Note: on the posted telescope schedule these are designated with a blue, underlined
P#; time designated with W,I,Y in the associated PI column is explicitly unavailable )
and only for those nights with the appropriate instrument (MiniMo) scheduled as available.
WIYN 3.5m -- Imaging The McMillan et al. program trigger up to a total of 10 imaging interrupts with MiniMo, each lasting up to two hours (clock time).
Interrupts are restricted to no more than one trigger per night and no more than one in a four night period.
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.
- For the KPNO 4m or 2.1m, if making the initial contact to trigger the program needs to
be done outside of normal observing hours and falls between 08h00
and 16h00 MST on a weekday, those triggering their
program should email Mike
Merrill, head of Mountain Scientific, and Abi Saha, Acting Director of KPNO.
If a response it not made in a timely manner (< one hour), then KPNO Observing
Support office (520-318-8279) or the Mountain (520-318-8600) may
be contacted and the request made to be placed in contact with
Merrill or Saha. If both Merrill and Saha are not reachable,
Steve Howell is an additional possible contact.
- For the WIYN 3.5m, if making the initial contact to trigger the program needs to be done
outside of normal observing hours and falls between 08h00 and 16h00 MST on a weekday, those
triggering their program should email Pierre Martin (email@example.com), Director of WIYN, and
Patricia Knezek (firstname.lastname@example.org), Deputy Director of WIYN. If a response it not made in a timely
manner (< one hour), then the WIYN Administrative Coordinator (Sheryl Falgout, 520-318-8396, email@example.com)
may be contacted and the request made to be placed in contact with Martin or Knezek. If both Martin and Knezek
are not reachable, the Operations Manager (Heidi Schweiker) (520-318-8140, firstname.lastname@example.org) is an additional possible contact.
- Between 16h00-08h00 MST weekdays or any time on
weekends, they should instead try to contact an Observing Assistant
at either the 4m (520-318-8620) or WIYN telescopes (520-318-8760),
as appropriate for the trigger (e.g., if observations are being
requested from the 4m, call the 4m). If observations are being
requested from the 2.1m, please call the 4m OA. If you cannot
reach the 4m OA, you may call the 2.1m directly. Note that
between 16h00 and 18 degree twilight it is likely that reaching
the OA will be difficult, but that if anyone is reachable it will
be one of the observers. Even if the ToO program ends up reaching
the scheduled observer before one of the OAs, we request that the
ToO program contact does follow-up later to make sure the OA knows
that a ToO program trigger request has been made. We ask the OA to
email both Merrill and Saha (KPNO 4m trigger) or Martin and Knezek (WIYN 3.5m trigger)
that such a request has been made,
including the name of who requested the ToO and the program ID.
If the OA is the first person contacted by the ToO program and
the OA has verified that the request is coming from an approved
program (McMillan et al for 2010B), then the
OA should put the person representing the ToO program in direct
contact with the observer, after explaining to the observer that
an approved ToO program observation is being requested. The OA
should take care to note the time that observations for the ToO
program begin. This is defined to be the time that observing
stops for the scheduled program (i.e. start of slew to new
position) and when time resumes (end of slew from ToO target
back to scheduled program target). These times should be emailed
to Merrill and Saha (KPNO 4m trigger) or Martin and Knezek (WIYN 3.5m trigger).
If the observations are being taken at
the 2.1m, the 4m OA should make clear to the observer that they
should note when observations start and end for the ToO program
and communicate these times to the OA (who should then pass
these times on to Merrill and Saha).
- The PI or his designate should email KPNO Director
(Saha@noao.edu) each time a request is made for observations,
indicating at which telescope(s) observations had been requested.
If the request was made for the WIYN 3.5m, the PI or his designate should also email the WIYN Director (email@example.com).
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
When all the files are copied to "rose", execute the "transfer" command to transfer the files to the downtown ftp computer ("ftp.tuc.noao.edu").
4meter@tan% ssh too@rose bin/transfer
Overview of the Procedure
- The observer copies the ToO data files to "rose".
- The observer runs the "transfer" script to copy the files to the "ftp" computer downtown.
- The ToO data files are retrieved via anonymous ftp from the "pub/too" directory on "ftp.noao.edu".
- NOAO staff delete the files from "ftp" and "rose".
- Setup the "too" account on "rose" and "ftp". The UID is 844.
Set up SSH without a password
- From "rose" to "ftp".
- From Kitt Peak observing computers (tan, nutmeg, khaki, sapphire, azure, sand, mrbill, vanilla) to "rose".
- install the "transfer" script on "rose" in ~too/bin