Remote Observing with the ATCA
Astronomers who are successful in being granted time on ATNF telescopes are expected to operate the telescopes for themselves. New and inexperienced ATCA observers need to visit the SOC to be trained to do their observing. Experienced observers may observe remotely, but they need to visit the SOC at least once a year to maintain their currency.
The participation of users in observing, including interactions with staff, is a critical part of the contribution that users make towards optimising productivity and impact from the ATNF telescopes.
Remote Observing Conditions
Users should note that the following conditions apply for remote observations:
- At all times, remote observing is at the discretion of the Head of Science Operations (Phil Edwards).
- Less observing support is available for remote observations so this observing mode is restricted to experienced observers. Remote observers should be competent to create schedules, initialise and execute their observations without support: They should be capable of recognising problems and knowing how to handle them should they arise.
- Remote observing will only be granted to astronomers who have observed, in person, at the SOC within the previous twelve months. Regular, competent observers (typically, people observing on at least three separate occasions or more than 10 days per semester) can (with approval) extend the time between their return visits by six months.
- Observers need to demonstrate (before the remote observation is approved) that their computer and internect connection have sufficient power, responsiveness and connectivity to adequately run the observing software. Observers must be able to initiate and receive phone calls to/from the observatories and the SOC and operations staff from their observing station.
- Remote observing is requested using the ATCA portal.
- Any network failures result in lost time. It is not the responsibility of the Duty Astronomer (or any other person) to take over observations. This is one of the (low-level) risks of remote observations.
Remote Observing Schedules
A schedule for forthcoming remote observations is available here.
How to apply for and take remote observations
Information on how set up and operate the array remotely is given in the ATCA Guide to Remote Observing and Mopra Guide to Remote Observing. These documents should be read well in advance of the observations.
Original: Jessica Chapman
Modified: Robin Wark (3-Mar-2015)