DRAFT - Observing Plan for MJD 56330 (starting evening of February 06 2013)


Observer 1 Observer 2 Run Manager Run Manager Trainee
March Casas Nord Rooney

Almanac and Weather

Sunset: 20:45
Twilight Ends: 22:05
Twilight Starts: 05:50
Middle of night handover to community at 01:58
Moon Rise: 4:13
Moon Set: 17:38
Moon Illum.: 15%
Expected Weather: hazy, humid (>65%), cloudy on the horizon high and low.

Plan and Goals for the Night

Observing Plan (Obs1)

  1. Afternoon calibration data:
    1. dome flats including u-band in case we get to the half-chip SNe observations.
  2. Calibration observations (Douglas Tucker):
    1. Attached (FebStds.txt) is a list of night-by-night suggestions for the rest of the DES time, assuming the normal evening twilight times and a single standard star field just before middle-of-the-night switchover.
    2. Currently, we are observing 3 standard star fields in evening twilight -- at least one and preferably more in SDSS Stripe 82 -- and one more just before switchover. For the 3 standard fields observed during evening twilight, one should be at low airmass (<1.25), one at medium airmass (1.25-1.65), and one at high airmass (1.65-2.10).
      and, if SDSSJ0100-0000 does not appear in the resulting table, replace it with an observation of the E2-A prenight script
      1. back to grizY, not ugriz (we don't need u's because chip offsets are done)
    3. See the SV "extended SV schedule" page for instructions on how soon you can begin standards and sky observations.
  3. Obstac (Eric Neilsen):
    1. If seeing is <1.3 arcsec, run in auto-mode to observe SPT-E mini-survey.
  4. SN priority observations (Masao/March):
    1. X2 griz [Deadman, so we do no matter what]
    2. Active SN fields to be observed only if seeing is poor (>1.3)
      1. C3 z
      2. C1,C2,S1,S2 griz

Analysis/Support Plan (Obs2)

  • QuickReduce Work (see email from A. Fausti)
  • Centroids and Guiding (see requests from K. Honscheid, T. Diehl)
    • please keep an eye on the guider traces and try to estimate the rate at which oscillations appear vs declination of the target. We would like to see how the horseshoe damper motor upgrade is influencing tracking issues.
  • Monitor PSF and Guider
  • write up procedures and documentation for obs1

Summary for NightSum


Observing Team

Observers: Brian Nord (RM), Marisa March (obs1), Ricard Casas (obs2), Philip Rooney (RM Trainee)
Telops: Alberto Alvarez
Also present: Anja von der Linden, Douglas Applegate (AM community observers)

Observing Plan

  • Dome flat sequence: (grizY)
  • Standards in grizY (3 fields early in the night; 1 before handover)
  • SN observations: X2 griz (deadman); C3 z; C1,C2,S1,S2 griz
  • SPT-E via obstac


  • Dome flat sequence: (grizY)
  • No standards: too cloudy
  • No SN; clouds are beautfiul bad things
  • SPT-E via obstac
  • Developed high-level task documentation for observer 1.
  • result of cloud-cover
    • Closed dome when clouds got dense.
    • reopened a bit later, skipped standards and SN and went straight to SPT-E


  • Weather:
    • med-high humidity
    • lots of clouds
  • Software:
    • Observer 2 is almost too slow to work on.


  • ridiculous amount of clouds
  • seeing very high at end of night
  • Observer 2 is extremely slow.


List of Checklists for the night:

Here is a list of checklists (who might nominally do them) [where they can be found] <when to do them>

Checklist Name Who Where found When to do
Late Afternoon Checklist Obs1/Obs2 E-log > New Entry > Form After Flats.zeris started Started
Beginning of Night checklist obs1/obs2 E-log, New Entry, Form After Standards are started
CTIO Report for End of Night obs2 1:30am (if half-night)
Synopsis_Night RM E-log, New Entry, Category 1:30 am (if half-night)
Synopsis_Problem RM E-log, New Entry, Category 1:30 am (if half-night)
Synopsis_Engineering RM E-log, New Entry, Category 1:30 am (if half-night)
NightSum RM command line, Observer 2 after synopses finished

DECam Configuration and Setup

SISPI Configuration File sv.ini
Proposal ID 2012B-0003
Image Processing (Calibration) NCSA
Image Processing (First Cut) NCSA

Information Used in Daily/Nightly Forms and Checklists

This is a one-stop shop for your information for filling out checklists.

Late Afternoon Checklist

In E-log; New Entry > Form > "late afternoon checklist"
Item description example
Observers Observer names BNord, MMarch
Running SISPI instance name DECam_<date instance started> DECam_20130205
Afternoon Calibration Script Name find under SelectDECam script DECAM/prenight_zeros_flats
Execute daily procedure empty n/a

Beginning of Night Checklist

In E-log; New Entry > Form > "Beginning-of-night Checklist"
Item description example
Observers Observer names BNord, MMarch
Time Evening Twilight Ends time when sun half sets see almanac below
Time Morning Twilight Begins time when sun half rises see almanac below
SISPI Interlocks failed which piece of SISPI didn't work or caused red buttons Hexapod
Check if Afternoon Calibration was completed ask Run Manager yes/no
RASICAM ok? open up rasicam webpage adn look for errors n/a
skip the rest

h3.CTIO Report for End of Night


PROPOSAL 2012B-0003
SEEING SOURCE The Telescope I used

E-Log: Formats and Examples

Each e-log must contain the following information, but the format is up to you. If you don't want to think about it, here's a one to use:

  • Set of fields or single field
  • Observation type
  • Field Name
  • Field airmass (get from ICS or OBS1)
  • Exposure ID range
    • (any skipped exposures due to SISPI skip or interlock)

E-log Example: one supernova field

Field Set 

Field: SN/C1
Airmass: 1.1
Expid: 175179

Center Check:
RA offset: -325.2
DEC offset: 45.2

Offset exposure:
expid 175180

Center Check:
RA offset: -22.1
DEC offset: 10.5

Offset exposure
expid 175181

Center Check:
RA offset: -3.1
DEC offset: 1.7

Expid Range: 175182-190
(skipped: 175180)


WorkFlow Observation Decisions

Primary: Seeing Policy

  • If seeing > 1.3 :
    • if not clear (clouds):
      • if SN fields up (airmass < 2): then SN
      • if SN fields down : then obstac
    • if clear : then do half-chip offsets
  • if seeing < 1.3 : obstac

Wind Speed

  • if 5 < speed < 15 : raise wind screen to 30%
  • if speed > 15 : close louver


  • SN fields only: if off by 10 in either direction: shift coordinates, don't recenter (getting offsets via kentools)


Detailed Workflow: Recipes for Running DECam

Below, we show the detailed workflow for each part of the n ight
  • >> = buttons to hit
  • $ = prompt


Workbench Setup

  1. restart sispi (beware multiple locations are involved in this) [for RM only];
    1. Go to system1 where SISPI is controlled (this step is often already complete)
      1. $ open terminal at OBS1 Machine
      2. $ vncviewer system1:2
      3. $ enter password (ask previous RM)
        1. should now be in window, titled " "
    2. >> open terminal window for the "sispiuser" login name"
      1. you can use another terminal window that's already open as long as the prompt is labeled with "sispiuser"
    3. $ cd /usr/remote/user/sispi/decam/architectures/ctio/
    4. $ setup SISPI
    5. $ shutdownSISPI DECam_<YYYYMMDD> (the name of the open instance)
      1. if yesterday's date doesn't work, try today's date
      2. alternative for this step: go to architect console and click ‘Shutdown’
    6. clean up
      1. $ cleanup_ramdisk
      2. $ cleanup_processes -k
      3. $ check_diskspace
    7. start sispi (check that prompt contains "sispiuser@system1")
      1. $ architect -c sv.ini (Windows will start popping up after a few minutes)
        1. Wait till all the PanView windows are up
        2. SISPI GUIs should start up automatically
          1. if not up automatically, then open a new SISPI GUI, using the DES logo in the main menu bar
    8. Log-in to observer console
      1. >> login: DECamObserver
      2. >> password: ask RM
    9. Setup Observer Control
      1. >> System Control
      2. >> Edit
      3. >> Clear
      4. >> Enter Observer names
      5. >> Enter Proposal ID: 2012B-0003
      6. >> ignore program and investigator
      7. >> SAVE (will fill in remaining empty fields automatically)
    10. Prepare to observe
      1. >> System Control
      2. >> Configure [in Observer Console]
      3. Looking ahead: the next thing you'll do is take junk exposures (see "Initial Calibrations" section below)
  2. Setup Observer 2 Terminal (can happen simultaneous to the above)
    1. check speed of machine; kill processes if necessary
    2. >> open terminal
    3. start kentools
      1. $ observer
      2. test previous exposure
        1. $ load
        2. $ seeingall
        3. $ center


Initial Calibrations

The first exposure(s) of the afternoon are used to clear out pixels from the CCDs.

  1. Take junk (zero) exposures ('2' as indicated below)
    1. >> Observer Console
    2. >> System Control
    3. >> Turn VSub On [on far right side]
    4. >> Exposure Control
    5. >> Manual [far right side]
    6. >> type=zero,object=junk,dtsqueue=none,count=2
    7. E-log default see section above about how to enter e-logs.
  2. Set up calibration exposures
    1. Look:
      1. >> ICS window
      2. >> TCS subwindow
      3. >> "screen button" == green? double-check with TelOps that telescope pointed at screen.
    2. Start Calibrations (Flats and Zeros)
      1. >> Observer Console
      2. >> Exposure Control
      3. >> Load Exposure Script
      4. >> Select DECam Script
      5. >> Choose "DECam/prenight_zeros_flats"
      6. >> ADD
      7. >> GO
    3. Edit Queue (remove 20s r-band exposures, because they are over-exposed)
      1. >> Click to unlock the "lock button" (in Exposure queue sub-panel)
      2. >> highlight an exposure
      3. >> hit backspace key to delete exposure
    4. E-log: Use Afternoon Checklist (get expid range from Obs1, or from looking at Obscon on personal machine)

NIGHT (starting after dinner after sunset)

  1. turn on AOS (
    1. >> Architect Console
    2. >> READOUT6
      1. >> AOS (click)
      2. >> System Control Subpanel
      3. >> See fields with FOCUS and AOS
      4. >> See empty "Command" field
      5. >> enter in Command field: init_pid 2
  2. Prepare to start night of observing
    1. Primary indicator for exposing first Bright Star
      1. Sun angle < -9.7 deg
      2. TelOps will automatically get a bright star ready for you; you can also ask if the sun is down, but have not received a bright star alert.
  3. Bright Star Exposure: Check Telescope Centering
    1. Take an exposure of Bright star that TelOps has prepared.
      1. >> Observer Console
      2. >> Exposure Control
      3. >> Exp form
      4. >> enter: type = object; time =10; count = 1; filter = r
      5. >> ADD
      6. >> GO
    2. Calculate Center Offset [Obs2]
      1. center EXPID [at observer 2 in kentools]
      2. re-center telescope if offsetx or offsety > 10 arcsec
        1. tell TelOps and Obs1 the new center
        2. wait for slew to complete
        3. repeat center check
    3. E-log the full list of bright star exposures and offsets
  4. Perform Standard Star Field Observations
    1. Prepare choices for standard star fields
      1. Open terminal window or use an open one.
      2. $ cd ~/
      3. $ source ~/dtucker/bin/setup_StdStarFieldPicker.csh
      4. $ --UT='<DATE>'
        1. <DATE> = YYYY/MM/DD HH:MM
        2. Example: 2013/01/30 00:43
        3. Time is the time the standards sequence will start
        4. if SDSSJ0100-0000 does not appear in the resulting table, replace it with an observation of the E2-A prenight script
    2. Populate Queue with chosen fields
      1. >> Observer Console
      2. >> Exposure Control
      3. >> Load Exposure Script
      4. >> go to DECamObserver/ExposureScripts/FEB2013Standards
        1. Choose the fields here based on having run the above decamStdFieldsTimeDate script and teh requirements there.
    3. >> ADD
    4. >> GO
    5. go to the second in this sequence and re-do for each of hte three standards fields.
    6. E-log: all standards at once
  5. SN fields
    1. Decide on SN field you want based on airmass limits and the current airmass fo a given field (get the latter information from Xephem or JSkyCalc)
    2. Open Slew Script for Field and run it
      1. >> Observer Console
      2. >> Exposure Control
      3. >> Load Exposure Script
      4. >> Select DECamScript
      5. >> choose DES/<FIELDNAME>-slew.json
        1. <FIELDNAME> = S1, S2, etc.
      6. >> submit
      7. >> ADD
      8. >> GO
    3. wait for slew to finish; monitor the ICS/TCS window and subwindow in Monitor "OBS1-D"
    4. check center (OBS2)
      1. center <EXPID> in kent tools
      2. get offsets from Obs2
    5. add ra dec offsets in arcsec
      1. >> Observer Console
      2. >> Exposure Control
      3. >> set RA dropdown to DeltaRA
      4. >> enter offsets in arcsec
    6. check center again before observing field
      1. take 10s rband exposure
      2. check center
    7. select field script
      1. >> Observer Console
      2. >> Exposure Control
      3. >> Load Exposure Script
      4. >> Select DECamScript
      5. >> Choose field: DES/sv_sn_<FIELDNAME>_griz.json
      6. >> submit
      7. >> ADD
      8. >> go (if necessary)
    8. set slew for next field (just as above)
    9. repeat center check until within 10 arcsec x and y
    10. E-log for SN fields
    11. End-of-Night Standards
      1. >> Observer Console
      2. >> Load Exposure Scripts
      3. >> DECamScript
      4. >> Choose File: DES/postnight_flats_zeros.json
      5. >> submit
      6. >> add?
    12. E-log for EON standards

End of Night

  1. CTIO Night report (
    1. log in to page
      1. login: astronomer
      2. password: ask RM
  2. Turn off AOS
    1. init_pid 1
  3. Make Night Sum
    1. (
    2. fill out logbook with tags, Synopsis_Night, Synopsis_Problem, Synopsis_Engineering (no need to fill out end-of-night checklist)
    3. Make and Publish Nightsum
      1. log into observer2 as user sispi
      2. set up the environment:
        $ setup nightsum
      3. run the makesum script:
        $ cd ~sispi/nightsum-reports
        $ makesum
      4. The step above will create a dir named nightsum-<MJD>. Check the results by pointong your browser to
      5. Go to the logbook and make changes as needed. Repeat the makesum step until you are happy with the results.
      6. Then, publish the results so it shows up on the web server on
        $ cd ~sispi/nightsum-reports
        $ pubsum