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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 the SOC to prepare the schedule and perform the observations. Suitably qualified astronomers with comparatively straightforward projects may be allowed 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.

All projects will be allocated a ``friend''. This person will be available to help observers who travel to the SOC for their observations and can assist with the planning of the observation, setting up schedule files and in the initial data analysis. The friend is not expected to help with the actual observation.

At the SOC

A Duty Astronomer is rostered to help observers at the SOC with setting up their observations and to help all observers if there are telescope problems. The duty astronomer's role is described in the DA Duties page.

After the observing, filling out the observers questionnaire will help us track of our performance. 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. They should be contactable on +612 6790 4077. Use the portal to check who the DA is. 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.

Please send an email to to document any issues in our fault report system. See here for more information.

In addition to the DA, a Narrabri staff member is rostered ``on-call'' at all times. The on-call person is intended to handle problems that are beyond the DA.

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).

Original: Derek McKay
Modified: Bob Sault (15-Feb-2004), Phil Edwards (20-Aug-2009), Robin Wark (15-May-2015)