Observer2 setup and Data Quality Operations


Setting up

Set up the console for data monitoring by running the start_obs2 command (you might have to cd to annis/obs2).The image above shows the layout that produces. Below is a description of the windows and intended use going from left to right.

Left monitors: images

(1) DEcam focal plane image

After your first " load " or " bigload " (see Introduction to kentools for details on these commands), stretch out the ds9 window over these two monitors. This will allow you to inspect details of the images you pull up. You might just watch the default ccd, but bigload lets you see all of the camera. Watch the sky- its one of the best ways to make sure there is nothing wrong with the data.

My way of working the display is with the right click mouse button; the scale menu "scale parameters" sub-window is also useful. YMMV.

Top center monitor: seeing

(2) Dome slit viewer

There is a webcam showing what the telescope is looking at. It shows dome slit orientation in comparison to where the Blanco is pointing. We used to have problems with dome occluding the pupil; this will let
one see that.

(3) RASICAM Display

The RASICAM display show a sensitive view of clouds. Shown here is the webpage, (
The other display is invoked by "" which gives a movie of the night.

(4) Quick Reduce Display

The left panel shows the QR Observing History page. We pay close attention to that, monitoring the seeing and ellipticity reported by QR. The other tab in this browser shows QR monitor page, which is good to see if QR is running. Login and Instructions are available at

Bottom center monitor: working the images

(5) xterms running kentools

This is the kentools window. Kentools are fabulously useful. Invoke "commands" to see what it can do. I spend doing " inv; load; seeingall " on almost every image. It's your job to find that image which makes it onto the Bragging rights (ie seeing records etc) page.

Once in a while do " psc ". The latter gives measurements of transmission, seeing, and sky brightness and reports t(eff), which is good to keep track of.

First thing you do on getting back to the telescope after dinner is to run " flatCheck ". The resulting plot is in the monitor above; there seems to be no way to get rid of it.

One can also do screen grabs. There's a button on the top of the top left monitor, or one can just run " xv ". Good galaxies can be put into the electronic log book. One could grab the Tololo Environmental page a the end of the night and put it into notebook. One could grab the flatCheck output and put it into the log as well.

(6) The NED result

Running a " ned " command in kentools and clicking on a beautiful galaxy brings up a browser with what NED knows about the object. There are other such commands in kentools.

Top right monitor: obstac+weather

(7) DECam pointing history plot

The plot of the DES footprint with what we've done tonight is produced by the pointing command. This command can be run from kentools or the shell and pointing --help will give you lots of options. By default the start_obs2 script starts a pointing window with a 30s continuous refresh rate. It shows the footprint projected on the sky at the current time (as it would look if you were to walk outside the dome). The colored markers represent the DECam images taken tonight and should be updated every 30s as well (might not be too interesting if you are doing SN). As single exposure is transparent, and as more exposures are taken overlapping the same part of the sky the color will get darker. As the night progresses, you should see the footprint move across the sky, the moon rise and set, and the number of exposures pile up (if we are lucky). The legend contains some information about the most recent exposure taken and some of the things being plotted.

Email Alex Drlica-Wagner <> if you have problems with the pointing command or if you don't see the window when you run start_obs2. More details on the pointing script can be found in Introduction to pointing.

(8) Web browser for monitoring

The browser has tabs open to the DES operations page and the daily playbook page.

  • Tololo Site Environmental Page

The Tololo environmental page, one of the best to watch. Monitor seeing, windspeed, humidity, LST, and sun altitude here. Check conditions for closing louvers or raising windscreens.

  • Daily Playbook

These are the step-by-step instructions for nightly operations.

(9) Obstac murmuring

The wide window is doing a

tail -f /usr/remote/user/sispi/decam/instances/DECam_201*/logs/OBSTACSRVR-current.log | grep INFO

a "murmuring", that allow you to watch ObsTac's thought process.

Bottom right monitor: nightly reporting

(10) Web browser for reports

The end-of-night checklist Checklist

  • Electronic notebook

The first tab is the electronic notebook, which is used throughout the night. Learn to become one with it. Also make sure you understand the right buttons to press to turn the
night summary text pasted into the elog into usefully formatted night summary. Keep everything, especially the mundane in the slog, keep the night summary a summary.
To login: user: DECamObserver password: on the post-it on the screen.

  • CTIO Night Report

Shown is an edit version of the CTIO night report. You have to fill it out, and it's much easier to get it going in the afternoon and keep it up to date during the night. Trust me.

Part of doing that is filling out the proposal information, which one can find in the next tab, which is the CTIO telescope schedules. Click in.

One can find the history of these via:

To login: user: astronomer password: on the post-it on the screen.

  • Nightsum

The 4th and 5th tabs are for night summary work. The first shows the directory in which all the night sums live. The one you are working on will show up after you do the "makesum" command. The 5th tab shows an example night summary page. Edit the url to look at the one you are working on.

(11) xterm to sispi@observer2

The top xterm does ssh to sispi@observer2. The password is on the post-it on the screen. You have to do a

cd ~sispi/nightsum-reports
setup nightsun

before doing the night sum commands makesum and pubsum.

(12) xterm with nightsum example

This one will have cat-ed an example nightsum-draft file. Copy this somewhere (better, use the one in the dir ~/Templates)
and start editing it. Shown is my vi session of editing the night sum during the night. You want to do this.