Nightly Observing Plan for MJD 58466 (starting the evening of Dec 13, 2018)


  • Rob Morgan (Observer 2, Run Manager)
  • Santi Avila (Observer 1)

CTIO Staff


from kentools ephem

mjd 58466, date 20181213, Site CTIO, UT-offset 3 hr
Current local time 17:03 CLST     UT 20:03     SidTim 20:50
Event      Local-Time  Greenwich  Sidereal-Time
Sunset     20:47 CLST  23:47 UT   00:34    8 deg  
Eve. -10   21:28 CLST  00:28 UT   01:15   19 deg  Zeropoint; standards
Eve. -14   21:51 CLST  00:51 UT   01:38   24 deg  Begin obstac
Eve. -18   22:15 CLST  01:15 UT   02:02   30 deg  Last chance standards
Moonset    01:22 CLST  04:22 UT   05:09   77 deg  
Midpoint   01:37 CLST  04:37 UT   05:24   81 deg  
Morn -18   04:59 CLST  07:59 UT   08:47  132 deg  Begin astronomical twilight
Morn -14   05:24 CLST  08:24 UT   09:11  138 deg  End obstac; begin standards
Morn -10   05:47 CLST  08:47 UT   09:34  144 deg  
Sunrise    06:27 CLST  09:27 UT   10:15  154 deg  
Moon position (deg): RA 340.0, Dec -11.3 Phase: 0.428

Weather Conditions

  • At 17:00 local time, clear, cool (14 degrees) with mild breeze (9 mph), humidity 46%
  • Tonight: Forecast about 10% clouds at start of night, then increasing to about 40% from 22:00 local time to midpoint, Temp. 9 degrees, light breeze shifting from northwest to south, moderate humidity ~50%.
  • Detailed hourly forecast | Satellite maps

Observing Plan and Goals for the Night

  • DES Half night
  • Evening standards
    UT Date = '2018/12/14 00:28'     Local time = 21:28
    SDSSJ0320-0000        ra 03:20:00  dec +00:00:00  secz 1.4
    SDSSJ0100-0000        ra 01:00:00  dec +00:00:00  secz 1.2
  • Midpoint standards
    UT Date = '2018/12/14 04:32'     Local time = 01:32
    SDSSJ0843-0000        ra 08:43:00  dec +00:00:00  secz 1.8

    h3. Useful links

Nightsum | CTIO Night Report | DECam Logbook
Tololo Environmental Web Page | Detailed hourly forecast | Satellite maps

Notes from 4PM Meeting

Telescope and camera are good, calibrations about to start. All data from last night processed by DESDM, all declared good, and accepted into survey table.

For tonight:

  • Do standards if clear.
  • Execute GW test in GW-test-20181213.json. This is a 60 second exposure in z to test the GW pipeline in preparation for the LIGO engineering run from Dec 14 to Dec 18.
  • At start of night, remaining survey fields likely still at airmass above 1.4, so instead of starting with Obstac, the decision tree is as follows:

1. If seeing <1.1" in i-band and sky is clear, execute MACS-J0416-i-band-2 script in /usr/remote/user/DECamObserver/ExposureScripts/DES_script/MACSJ0416_i_2.json. This is a deep field with good spectroscopy for photo-z calibration. Estimate this will take about 40 minutes

2. If seeing <1.3" in i-band and sky completely clear, execute up to 1 photosweep (about 1 hr), with preference for complete photosweep in a night. Instructions on creating photosweep scripts are below.

3. Otherwise execute E2 narrowband script SN-E2-N964.json, which should also take 1 hour.

4. Execute Obstac starting after 01:31 UT (10:31 PM local time), when remaining survey fields should reach airmass limit, unless seeing is bad (see below).

  • If seeing is bad (Bad means if the psf is > 1.6 arcsec for several exposures in a row with no sign of improvement) complete Photosweep if completely clear, then Narrowband (details below). If running Narrowband, prioritize E2.
  • If seeing remains bad repeat Narrowband E2

If you have "Bad Seeing" and photometric and not worse than 2.0", do
Photosweep. Instructions can be found here:

Do not bother with this program if clouds are visible on Rasicam or if
seeing is highly variable, for the varying aperture corrections make
it difficult to get to mmag accuracy.

One needs to run a script at CTIO to generate the jsons (see the
instructions wiki page). Having done that the Photosweep scripts can
be found in
with names like: photosweep20180914-2200Z.json

Select the one with timestamp closest to the next top of hour, now in
UT (we got the z added). Do not bother with this is there's < 30
minutes left in the night. A script probably takes an hour.


If "Bad Seeing" and not photometric, or if "Bad Seeing" and everything
else if done, then do Narrowband. Instructions and a description can be found here:

Narrowband scripts are in the same directory as Photosweep, and have names like SN-C3X-N964.json

They are on the SN fields, so select the field that is closest to transit. Transit time for SN fields can be found on this page:

These are expected to be about an hour long. If the clouds are only moderate, we could do these.

Priorities (highest to lowest)

Other Notes