Supporting an observation
Organising the observation
A proposal granted time at the ATCA is generally expected to organise for an astronomer to be present at Narrabri to prepare the schedule files and perform the observations. Suitably qualified astronomers with comparatively straightforward projects may be able to observe remotely.
Where a project has more than 16 hours of continuous observing, at least two observers must take part: it is not permissible for observers to observe for more than 16 hours in 24. Combinations of local and remote observing may be possible to achieve this.
Astronomers new to the ATCA may request a ``friend''. This can be requested on the observing proposal, when an accomodation booking is made, or by contacting the at_friends ([at] atnf.csiro.au) The friend is usually based in Epping, and will assist in planning the observation, setting up schedule files and in the initial data analysis. The friend is generally not expected to be at the telescope at the time of the observation.
At the telescope
A duty astronomer is rostered on at the observatory whenever observing is taking place (see the roster). In addition to helping with simpler scheduling issues and data analysis, the duty astronomer will help in the initial setting up of the telescope. The duty astronomer has no obligation to participate in the observing. The duty astronomer's role is described in ``Duty astronomer duties''.
After the observing, filling out the on-line observers questionnaire will help us track how we are going. Please help us keep our standards up by filling out a questionnaire with your feedback.
In case of trouble during observations
In case of a general observing problems or systems failure, first contact the duty astronomer. It is their responsibility to decide if and when a part of the Array should be taken out of use for urgent repairs or other maintenance.
The on-line fault report system should be used to report Array and general Observatory faults and problems.
In addition to the duty astronomer, a staff member is rostered ``on-call'' at all times (there is an ``on-call'' roster in the Control Room and next to the fire panel in the Reception area). The on-call person is intended to handle problems that are beyond the duty astronomer. They have the authority to overrule the decision of the duty astronomer. The on-call person should not be called upon for trivialities. In general, the on-call person is not to be called:
- if the problem affects fewer than two antennas;
- if you know that the problem has no easy solution, or
- if the problem occurs after 3 am.
Emergency and semi-emergency situations
The on-call person, or some staff member should be notified at any time of cryogenics failures, drive failures, complete power loss or generator failure, air conditioning failure or equipment overtemperature, serious personal injury or fire.
These conditions have the potential to cause serious damage to the Array systems.
Fire and primary monitor alarms are triggers by many of these emergency situations. The alarms sound in the house of the on-call person (and then in the houses of all site residents, if the alarm is not answered). Do not disable this alarm until a staff member arrives.
Original: Derek McKay
Modified: Bob Sault (15-Feb-2004), Phil Edwards (20-Aug-2009)