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William Wester, 09/02/2017 01:29 PM


Observer1 Daily Checklist

Afternoon Checklist (Dome Closed)

A version of this checklist is available as a pre-defined form in the eLog.
We don't ask you to fill it out. These are the things that should you should do
when you get up to the dome in the afternoon. Typically they are started
after the "4 o'Clock Meeting". Note variances in the eLog.

  • Observer(s) Present:
  • SISPI Instance: This is now autogenerated. The format is DECam_YYYYMMDD
  • SISPI configured with correct DES PropID (2012B-0001 as of 12/5/2014)
  • SISPI Interlocks OK [Y/N]:
  • SISPI Interlocks that are not OK [List]:
  • Check Telemetry GUIs:
    Explanation of SISPI Telemetry GUI Plots
  • Check if Morning Calibration Completed [Y/N]:
  • Check the eLog to see if Telops did the "2 PM Checklist"
  • Calibration [NOTE: calibrations are often done by Telops. Just run flatCheck once done.]
    • Verify Dome is Closed
    • Verify Dome Flat Setup (ask Telops) Dome Flat setup
    • Turn VSUB on
    • Submit Afternoon Calibration Script (/user/sispi/decam/ExposureScripts/DECam/prenight_zeros_flats.json):
    • Calib Script Name (if not the standard script):
    • Check a few exposures on the Comfort Display. Is the focal plane complete?
    • When script is done, in kentools (on observer2), run "flatCheck" - see if plot is OK.
  • Check GPS Monitor is Operating [Y/N]:
    See that GPSMon is working
  • Comments:

Start of Observing Checklist (Dome Open)

This the beginning of night checklist. These are the things that observers do
after dinner. A version of this checklist is available as a pre-defined
form in the eLog. We don't ask you to fill it out. Note variances in the eLog.

After Calibration

  • Twilight Starts (Time):
  • Twilight Ends (Time):
  • Dome is Open about an hour before sunset (No would be the variance) [Y/N]:
    • If not, have TELOPs open the dome.
  • SISPI Interlocks OK [Y/N]:
  • SISPI Interlocks that are not OK [List]:
    • Check interlocks on SISPI at system1:7001/apps/interlock_viewer/
  • Check That Afternoon Calibrations Completed [Y/N]:

After Sunset

  • Read plan for the night. (Linked in first column on shift calendar: 2016 = DESShiftsYr5)
  • Preselect standard Stars for appropriate UT
    • If no standards listed in night plan: use kentools, run "standards <UT to start standards>" (struck through for Year 4: 10/08/16 DLT)
    • (For DES Year 4:) If no standards listed in night plan: use kentools, run "calspec <UT to start standards>"
  • Check RASICAM Running. If not running ask Telops to start it. [Y/N]:
  • After sunset but before -10 degree twilight, preload initial exposure scripts:
    • Make sure blocker is in. Vsub remains OFF for now.
    • Click Load Exposure Script, then Select DECam Script
      • Select DES/flush_Vsub.json and hit Submit
      • Click Add Break
    • Now you will preload the pointing exposure:
      • Type pull-down menu should be object.
      • Object box put "pointing"
      • Time is 3s
      • Count is 1
      • Filter is r
      • Click Add
      • Click Add Break
      • Click Add and Add Break again
  • Wait until -10 degree twilight (actually you can turn vsub on and do the flushes before -10, since the shutter doesn't open)
  • Sun at -10 degree twilight
    • Communicate with Telescope Operator. Turn Vsub ON (System Control Tab).
    • Hit Go to execute flush script loaded earlier.
      • Just checking: did you Turn VSub ON like we asked you to ?
      • Click Go to execute the Pointing Object Exposure that was preloaded
      • More info: Telescope Zeropoint Procedures
      • If TCS is rebooted this procedure needs to be repeated.
      • Wait for Observer 2 to analyze the pointing results using kentools "center". You will need to rerun the pointing script if the offset is greater than 10". If it is less, you can delete the extra pointing exposure you preloaded and move onto standard stars. Note: there is a different spec for pointing accuracy once observing has started. See Observer2 instructions.
  • Click Load Exposure Script, then Select DECam Script
    • As the high airmass standard star observation is most time critical, submit the high airmass standard star script first
      • For evening standards, use the Yzirg scripts under DES/standard/Yzirg (see Standard Star Instructions)
      • ... although if you accidentally use the grizY scripts, it is not a big deal... (--D. Tucker)
      • ... also, the special CalSpec standards being observed during Year4 only have grizY scripts; so, if you have one of these special CalSpec standards during evening twilight, just use the grizY script... (--D. Tucker; 01/10/2017)
    • Repeat for the other Standard Star scripts (do the one closest on the sky to the first next).
    • OMIT (11/13/14 HTD) Click Add Break to add a break at the end of all Standard Stars
    • (About once every 7 nights: Add DES/defocus_nightly.json before the last break to append it to the last evening standard)
  • Click Go to execute the Standard Star Scripts that were preloaded
    • After the first image of last standard star script click Enable Auto to start OBSTAC thinking
  • Wait for -14 deg twilight, if necessary (particularly if Standard Stars are skipped due to clouds), then begin OBSTAC Observing [Time]:
    If obstac is not used , submit Night Scripts:
    Script Names:
  • While ObsTac is running, do these periodically:
    • Check Telemetry:
      Telemetry OK [Y/N]:
      The Standard SISPI Telemetry Plots are explained at
      Explanation of SISPI Telemetry GUI Plots
      [need to list some critical items to record]
    • Check DTS Operating:
      DTS OK [Y/N]:
      Check "Delivered"
      Alternatively you can access the page http://dts.noao.edu/status/
      Mike Fitzpatrick notes that the "Pend" column is the number of pending transfers out of that node and is usually near 1, but can be much higher during fast cadence programs or calibration sequences. If you suspect something is really "stuck" and nothing is moving, an email to &
  • Check Image Health:
  • Check Images on Comfort Display:
  • Comments:

End of Night Checklist

This are the end of night instructions for both observers. The pre-formatted checklist in the eLog has been superseded by the nightsum tool.

Observer 1:
  • Stopping OBSTAC: stop at -14deg (do this by disabling auto)
    Suggestion: add stopping OBSTAC before -14deg as an alarm to your iCal.
  • Calibration:
    • Take Standard Star sequences (See Start of Observing Checklist for details on choosing these scripts) [Script Name]:
      • For morning standards (and end-of-half-night standards), the current official procedure is to use the grizY scripts under DES/standard/grizY (see Standard Star Instructions)
      • ... although if you accidentally use the Yzirg scripts, it is not a big deal... (--D. Tucker)
      • if it is cloudy, then it might not be worth taking standards (but if in doubt, take 'em)
    • Submit End-of-Night Calibration Script Choose script based on success of PM calibrations [Script Name]:
      • If PM calibrations were successful, run DECam/postnight_zeros.json
      • If PM calibrations were not successful, run DECam/postnight_zeros_flats.json
  • Cleanup the observer1 desktop:
    • Close any extra terminal window you have opened during the night
    • Close any extra browser windows you have opened during the night. Be careful not to close any SISPI GUIs
    • Go to the System Control section of the observer console GUI and clear the setup information
      • Click on Edit
      • Click on Clear
      • Click on Save
  • Bring the instrument into a safe state
    • Turn Vsub off (if it is not off already)
    • Move the block filter into the beam (if it is not already)
  • If waiting for Obs2 to finish pubsum, it would be very kind, to our fellow Blanco users, if you could collect dirty cups and do the washing up.