Project

General

Profile

Standard Star Instructions

(Author: Douglas Tucker; Created: 29 Aug 2013; Updated: 28 Sep 2013; Updated 5 Aug 2014; Updated 21 Aug 2015; Updated 11 Aug 2016 by DLT and James Lasker; Updated 12 Aug 2016; Updated 22 Aug 2016; Updated 2 Sep 2016; Updated 10 Jan 2017; Updated: 15 Aug 2017)

Instructions for DES Year 5

In the Afternoon

  • Run the kentools commands "ephem" and "standards" (described in the Introduction to kentools) to identify the appropriate sets of standard fields to observe that night. E.g., for the night of August 15, 2017, we have:
prompt> ephem
mjd 57981, date 20170815, Site CTIO, UT-offset 3 hr
Current local time 13:59 CLST     UT 16:59     SidTim 09:54
Sunset     19:25 CLST  22:25 UT   SidTim  230 deg
Eve. -10   20:01 CLST  23:01 UT   SidTim  239 deg  Zeropoint; standards
Eve. -14   20:20 CLST  23:20 UT   SidTim  244 deg  Begin obstac
Eve. -18   20:39 CLST  23:39 UT   SidTim  248 deg  Last chance standards
Midpoint   01:47 CLST  04:47 UT   SidTim  326 deg
Moonrise   03:20 CLST  06:20 UT   SidTim  349 deg
Morn -18   06:55 CLST  09:55 UT   SidTim   43 deg  Begin astronomical twilight
Morn Std   07:13 CLST  10:13 UT   SidTim   47 deg  End obstac; begin standards
Morn -10   07:33 CLST  10:33 UT   SidTim   52 deg
Sunrise    08:09 CLST  11:09 UT   SidTim   61 deg
Moon position (deg): RA 68.7, Dec 17.1 Phase: 0.448 
  • The times of interest are "Eve. -10 (Zeropoint; standards)", "Midpoint ()", and "Morn Std (End obstac; begin standards)":
prompt> standards 23:01
UT Date = '2017/08/15 23:01'     Local time = 20:01
SDSSJ1227-0000        ra 12:27:00  dec +00:00:00  secz 1.9
E8-A                  ra 20:07:22  dec -44:37:01  secz 1.6
SDSSJ1442-0005        ra 14:42:00  dec -00:05:00  secz 1.2

prompt> standards 04:47
UT Date = '2017/08/16 04:47'     Local time = 01:47
SDSSJ0100-0000        ra 01:00:00  dec +00:00:00  secz 1.8
SDSSJ0000-0000        ra 00:00:00  dec +00:00:00  secz 1.4
SDSSJ2140-0000        ra 21:40:00  dec +00:00:00  secz 1.2

prompt> standards 10:13
UT Date = '2017/08/16 10:13'     Local time = 07:13
SDSSJ0000-0000        ra 00:00:00  dec +00:00:00  secz 1.7
SDSSJ0100-0000        ra 01:00:00  dec +00:00:00  secz 1.4
SDSSJ0320-0000        ra 03:20:00  dec +00:00:00  secz 1.2
  • For a DES Full night, we observe 3 standard star fields in evening twilight, and another 3 standard star fields in morning twilight. For a DES Full night, we do not observe midpoint ("switchover") standards.
  • For a DES First-Half night, we observe 3 standard star fields in evening twilight, and 1 standard star field just before midpoint ("switchover").
  • For a DES Second-Half night, we observe 1 standard star field just after midpoint ("switchover") and 3 standard star fields in morning twilight.
  • Sometimes the "standards" command will not be able to find a full set of 3 suitable standard star fields and will only return 2. If it does so for an evening or a morning twilight, that is OK: in that case, you will just observe those 2 fields during that twilight period.
  • For switchover on half nights, choose the highest airmass standard star field returned by the "standards" command for the night's midpoint. (E.g., in the above example, we would choose the standard star field SDSSJ0100-0000, which is at an airmass ("secz") of 1.8 at 04:47UT.
  • The Run Manager should record the standard star fields expected to be used that night within that night's Night Plan tabulated under the DES Shift Schedule (DESShiftsYr6)

During Evening Twilight

  • Unless otherwise instructed, use the Yzirg standard star scripts.
  • Start up obstac about the time the the first filter band of the final standard star field is being exposed (this gives obstac time to start filling its queue) -- (DLT: Verify this!)

At Midpoint/Switchover (for DES Half-Nights only)

  • Unless otherwise instructed, use the grizY standard star scripts.
  • (First-Half only:) To avoid overrunning into the second half, reserve about 7 minutes at the end of first half for slewing to and observing the mid-point standard star field -- i.e., the telescope probably should be slewing to the standard star field at about 4:40UT.

During Morning Twilight

  • Unless otherwise instructed, use the grizY standard star scripts.

General Advice

  • The standard star scripts are available from the "Load Exposure Script” drop-down menu on the SISPI Observer Console GUI (see: https://cdcvs.fnal.gov/redmine/projects/desops/wiki/StandardScripts):
    1. Select Exposure Control and then click on Load Exposure Script
    2. Click on the right button labeled Select DECam Script
    3. A pop-up window shows you the available scripts from the DES and DECam areas. Scroll up or down until you find the script you want to load. Select it and click Submit (Be careful you choose the right sub-directory: there are sub-directories for grizY, Yzirg, ugrizY, and Yzrigu json scripts for each of the standard star fields!)
    4. The exposures defined in the script will be appended to the Exposure Queue. If the queue is empty and enabled, processing of the first exposure will start right away
  • The standards star scripts can also be found in both of these directories on observer2:
    • /usr/remote/user/DECamObserver/ExposureScripts/User_Standards/DES/
    • /usr/remote/user/sispi/decam/ExposureScripts/DES/standards/
  • Don't bother with standards if the sky is obviously cloudy. ("Obviously cloudy" == any clouds seen by eye outside higher than 20 degrees above the horizon, or moderate to heavy clouds seen on the RASICAM or TASCA displays. If in doubt, take a full complement of standards.)
  • If heading into a (first half-night) switchover or heading into morning twilight, don't interrupt a SN sequence just to start standards on time, since SN sequences are basically "all-or-nothing" and we don't want to have to completely re-do a SN sequence the next night. (It is however permissible to break into an obstac sequence of wide-field survey exposures to start standards on time. Just let the current wide-field exposure to finish before moving on to standards.)
  • Standard star fields are typically widely separated and typically require long slews. To speed the process, the observers may want to observe the standards from East to West or from West to East, so the telescope doesn't need to slew back and forth over the sky. (I.e., not from East to West and back to East again.) Typically, this means observing the fields in order of either increasing RA or decreasing RA (minding the RA=360/0deg wrap!).
  • (For experts:) There are additional useful commands for the standard stars described under General Instructions section below.

Special Instructions for DES Year 4

During DES Year 4, to help with the absolute calibration of the DES photometric system, we will be inter-mixing special HST CalSpec spectrophotometric standards in with the usual complement of nightly standards. Not every night will have a CalSpec standard, but many of them will. The CalSpec standards will be observed as part of the evening/morning twilight standard star observations. To make things more transparent to the observer, a new standard star picker script has been built that outputs a triad of standards, one of which will be a CalSpec standard (if one is available). The output for the CalSpec standard will be the name of a json file (e.g., "WD0308-565_CCD_52.json") to be used for that night (not only are there different stars, but, for the CalSpec program, we want to place the CalSpec standard on various CCDs on different nights and use different exposure times -- e.g., the json file "WD0308-565_CCD_52.json" is for placing CalSpec standard WD0308-565 on the DECam CCD 52 -- hence the multiple json files per CalSpec standard). The json files for the CalSpec standards should appear in the SISPI Exposure console menu, just like the json files for the normal nightly standards, but, just in case they don't, you can find them in the CalSpec subdirectory of either of these two directories on observer1/observer2/observer3:
/usr/remote/user/DECamObserver/ExposureScripts/User_Standards
and
/usr/remote/user/sispi/decam/ExposureScripts/DES/standards
(The json scripts for the "normal" nightly standards are also under these two main directories, in the "grizY", "Yzirg", "ugrizY", and "Yzirgu" subdirectories. The names of the subdirectories for the "normal" nightly standards describe which filters are used -- in particular, whether the u-band filter is used -- and whether one starts with the reddest filter (Y-band) or with the bluest ("u" or "g").)
Note that we only have grizY json scripts for these special CalSpec program fields; so, if you have a special CalSpec program field during evening twilight, just use the provided grizY json script (i.e., don't try to create a Yzirg json script for the special CalSpec program field).

To identify the appropriate triads of standard fields to observe, it is simplest just to run the kentools commands "ephem" and "calspec" described in the Introduction to kentools. ("calspec" is the DES Year 4 equivalent of the kentools command "standards" used in previous years.) Don't bother with standards if the sky is obviously cloudy, though. ("Obviously cloudy" == any clouds seen by eye outside higher than 20 degrees above the horizon, or moderate to heavy clouds seen on the RASICAM or TASCA displays. If in doubt, take a full complement of standards.)

Caveat: The field C26202 is both a normal nightly standard star field and a special calspec program field. If the kentools calspec commands returns "C26202/HST", use the normal nightly standard grizY or Yzirg script; if the command returns C26202_CCD<NN>, where <NN> is a CCD number, use the appropriate calspec script, instead._

([Outdated:] In additional, a lookup table, with entries in 15-minute increments, can be found here: NightlyAndCalSpecStandards.txt (Currently, it covers nights from August 14-September 5, 2016.)*)*

On full DES nights, observe standards during both evening and morning twilight (if sky is clear); on DES half-nights, observe standards during twilight and at the middle-of-the-night switchover.

  • For evening/morning twilight, observe all 3 standards output by the "calspec" command
    • For the "normal" nightly standards, use the "Yzirg" scripts for evening twilight and the "grizY" scripts
      for morning twilight and middle-of-the-night switchover observations (but, if you accidentally get this
      switched around, it is not a big deal).
    • Standard star fields are typically widely separated and typically require wide slews. To speed the process, the observers may want to observe the standards from East to West or from West to East, so the telescope doesn't need to slew back and forth over the sky. (I.e., not from East to West and back to East again.) Typically, this means observing the fields in order of either increasing RA or decreasing RA (minding the RA=360/0deg wrap!)
  • For the middle-of-the-night switchover, observe only one of the 3 standards output by the "calspec" command -- preferably the high-airmass standard.
  • If heading into a (first half-night) switchover or heading into morning twilight, don't interrupt a SN sequence just to start standards on time, since SN sequences are basically "all-or-nothing" and we don't want to have to completely re-do a SN sequence the next night. (It is however permissible to break into an obstac sequence of wide-field survey exposures to start standards on time. Just let the current wide-field exposure to finish before moving on to standards.)
  • For further details for the "normal" nightly standards, see the next section on General Instructions .

For reference, here is a table of all standard star fields ("normal" nightly and "calspec") that the observer might expect to see: The DES Year 4 Standard Fields.


General Instructions (Primarily for DES Years 1, 2, 3; also some useful background for DES Year 5)

To cut to the chase, it is simplest just to run the kentools commands "ephem" and "standards" described in the Introduction to kentools to find the appropriate triads of standard fields to observe. If, however, you prefer tabulated lists, read the following and see the standard star look-up tables for each month below. Don't bother with standards if the sky is obviously cloudy, though. ("Obviously cloudy" == any clouds seen by eye outside higher than 20 degrees above the horizon, or moderate to heavy clouds seen on the RASICAM or TASCA displays. If in doubt, take a full complement of standards.)

  • Standard star fields are to be observed every evening and morning twilight (and, for half nights, at switchover) that appear to be clear, where "clear" is determined by a quick visual inspection of the RASICAM image, of the TASCA image, or of the sky itself. If in doubt, assume the sky is clear and take a full complement of standards.
  • For evening twilight, the standards can begin about 45 minutes before the end of Astronomical (18-deg) Twilight. If there is a late start, standards can continue until the end of Astronomical Twilight; after the end of Astronomical Twilight twilight, survey science observations must begin.
  • For morning twilight, the standards should start 25 minutes after the start of Astronomical (18-deg) Twilight.
  • If possible, for each twilight period, 3 standard star fields should be observed: one at low airmass (X<1.25), on at medium airmass (X=1.25-1.65), and one at high airmass (X=1.65-2.10). It is generally better to observe the high-airmass field first, since its airmass will be changing the most rapidly. [Added 16 Dec 2013:] If you are comfortable doing so, you can try to arrange the observing sequence of the intermediate- and low-airmass fields so as to reduce slew time.
  • For half-nights, 1 or 2 fields -- preferably a low-airmass field and a high-airmass field -- should be observed just before switchover. (If only one field, a high-airmass field is preferred.)
  • The list of DES standard star fields can be found here: The Standard Fields. Note that they
    are broken into 3 types: a "Golden" sample, a "Silver" sample, and a "Bronze" sample. The "Golden"
    sample fields, which have photometrically calibrated standards in all 5 DES filters (grizY) over the full DECam focal plane, take precedence. The "Silver" and "Bronze" either are missing calibrated Y-band data or do not have calibrated standards just yet over the full DECam focal plane. Always make sure that at least one "Golden" (SDSS) standard star field is observed each clear night.
  • For evening twilight, use the DES/standard/Yzirg scripts (which start with Y-band and end with g-band); for morning twilight or pre-switchover, use the DES/standard/grizY scripts (which start with g-band and end with Y-band). (For those rare nights when we also observe in u-band, please use the corresponding "DES/standard/Yzirgu" and "DES/standard/ugrizY" scripts.)
  • The script DES/defocus_nightly.json should be appended to the last evening standard. No "break" is needed. The script stays on the last standard field, defocuses, takes a single r-band image and refocuses. Obstac can continue on from this point without trouble. If this script fails and the camera is out of focus press the z-trim button on the ICS screen. This nightly defocus script should be run about once a week. Keep track in elog and announce at the 4 o'clock meeting.
  • There are several useful scripts in the StdStarPicker package in the DECamObserver account on observer2, including decamStdFieldsTimeDate.py and decamStdFieldsQueryNextSet.py.
  • To get a full list of standard star fields that are in a good position to observe (airmass < 2.10,
    moon separation > 15 deg, within Blanco horizon limits), use decamStdFieldsTimeDate.py:

  source ~/dtucker/bin/setup_StdStarFieldPicker.csh      (or .bash if you are using bash shell)

  decamStdFieldsTimeDate.py --help                       (for detailed help)
  decamStdFieldsTimeDate.py --UT=now                     (for a list accessible right now)
  decamStdFieldsTimeDate.py --UT='2013/09/17 00:43'      (for a list accessible at 00:43UT on Sept 17, 2013)

  • To get a preferred triad of standard fields -- a low-airmass field, a medium-airmass field, and a
    high-airmass field -- for a given time and date, use decamStdFieldsQueryNextSet.py (Note: the kentools command "standards" is a wrapper for this python script):

  source ~/dtucker/bin/setup_StdStarFieldPicker.csh        (or .bash if you are using bash shell)

  decamStdFieldsQueryNextSet.py --help                     (for detailed help)
  decamStdFieldsQueryNextSet.py --UT=now -v                (for a triad accessible right now)
  decamStdFieldsQueryNextSet.py --UT='2013/09/17 00:43' -v (for a triad accessible at 00:43UT on Sept 17, 2013)

  (Warning: decamStdFieldsQueryNextSet.py will output a default json file, "stdstar.json".  Just ignore it.)

  • For simplicity, look-up tables -- one for each month of DES Year 2 Operations -- listing the preferred triad for each 15-min interval throughout each night, can be found here:

(Old Year 1 and Year 2 versions can be found in the attached files below. Note that the tables vary year-to-year, since Moon-avoidance is built into these tables and the Standard Star Picker tool from which these tables were derived.)

  • You can also just run the the kentools commands "ephem" and "standards" described in the Introduction to kentools to find the appropriate triads of standard fields to observe. This is usually the simplest option.

Attachments