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OT Special Instructions 2011A

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This page provides instructions for completing Phase II Science Programs for all Gemini North and Gemini South instruments. It includes submission details and procedural changes. Please read this page carefully!

 Deadlines and Mechanism for Return of Completed Science Programs

The Phase II deadline of January 14, 2011 is a hard deadline for both queue and classical programs. Programs that have not completed their Phase II definitions by the deadline will be considered withdrawn and will be cancelled.

The mechanism for submitting your completed Phase II Science Program is by using the Store command in the Observing Tool and is the same for all instruments. See the Observing Database information for more details.

Dates for submission of completed Phase II information are (all 6pm local time):

Phase II deadlines for all instruments
Deadline Notes
14 January 2011 Mandatory deadline for all queue and classical programs.
MOS Mask Cut Deadlines

At Gemini North: MOS masks will be cut at Gemini South and shipped to Hawaii.

At Gemini South: MOS masks will be cut twice a week. 

The mask design and corresponding Phase II updates must be submitted at least one week before they will be cut. The time between mask design submission and when the mask can be available at the telescope is approximately 2 weeks for Gemini South and 3 weeks for Gemini North (due to mask shipping time).

We strongly encourage all MOS PIs to submit their mask designs as early as possible (either at the start of the semester if not using GMOS pre-imaging or immediately after the pre-imaging is taken) in order to increase the chance that the MOS observations will be completed. Gemini reserves the right to not cut masks for queue programs submitted within 6 weeks of the end of the semester if the queue coordinators determine that the MOS observation cannot be scheduled.

Classical program PIs must submit their mask designs at least two weeks prior to their arrival at Gemini South and three weeks prior to their arrival at Gemini North. 

Please ensure that the latest version of the mask design software is used.

29 December 2010 2 February 2011 
8 March 2011
9 April 2011 
13 May 2011
1 June 2011 
6 July 2011

Dates of preparation of LGS targets lists by Gemini staff for approval by Space Command. Change requests for target additions and alterations must be made well in advance of these dates for the target to be included in the next LGS run, and observations set to "ready" at least two days prior. (These restrictions do not apply to LGS programs granted ToO status.)

The mandatory deadline applies to all queue and classical programs including templates for Quick Response / ToO observations. The mask design deadlines are more flexible but we encourage PIs to submit their mask designs and final MOS observations as early as possible (see the table above). The LGS target list preparation dates are subject to change if LGS runs are rescheduled.

Programs that have not completed their Phase II definitions by the deadline noted above will be dropped from the queue or classical schedule. In exceptional cases an exemption may be requested by emailing the Heads of Science Operations (ijorgensen at gemini.edu, brodgers at gemini.edu)

In some cases GMOS PIs may be contacted directly and asked to submit their Phase II early to provide sufficient observations for pre-imaging and MOS spectroscopy at the very start of the semester. In all cases it benefits programs with early targets to get their Phase II ready early, as 11A programs will most likely be observed at the end of 10B to fill the queue.

 Distribution of Phase II Skeletons

All observations must be defined using the Observing Tool (OT) software. Gemini staff have translated approved Phase I proposals into the Phase II format of the OT. In this process, the observations and other details entered in Phase I are used to construct a ("skeleton") framework of your Science Program. NGO staff may have also copied relevant observation templates from the OT example libraries into selected programs. Please use any templates as the starting point for completing the Phase II observations.

Instructions on skeleton retrieval were sent to PIs on December 15, 2011. As in previous semesters, the Phase II skeletons are downloaded/uploaded directly from/to the Gemini telescope databases to enable more efficient and rapid processing. See more information on using the Observing Database.

A new release of the OT is available to support Semester 2011A Phase II preparation (as well as on-going 2009B, 2010A, and 2010B programs); do not use the previous "2010B" public releaseThere are OT installation instructions available. If you are unfamiliar with the OT, there is an OT tutorial that provides a useful introduction. In addition, each instrument also has several web pages that provide guidance on observing strategies and how to describe these in the OT. OT libraries with example observations and configurations for each instrument must be fetched and used for your observations, as these contain updated calibration observations as well as templates.

 Relaxation of Observing Condition Constraints and Other Observation Changes

By default observations must use the observing conditions constraints approved by the ITAC during the Phase I process.  Band 3 programs must use the approved Band 3 conditions. It is always acceptable to relax the conditions since more relaxed conditions lead to a higher probability of execution. Requests for changes to better conditions that approved for a target can be made via the change request procedure.

We are continuing the "poor weather queue" to fill telescope time under very poor, but usable, conditions. Poor weather proposals can be submitted at any time using the PIT.

The Observing Conditions component also makes it possible to add airmass or hour angle constraints. While needed for some programs, use of these constraints is equivalent to a change to better conditions constraints than approved by the ITAC. Therefore, any use of the airmass or hour angle constraints requires approval via the change request procedure.

If during detailed definition you find that the approved observations need to be modified in any other significant way (change of targets, gratings, etc) , please follow the change request procedure.

 User Support

The National Gemini Offices are responsible for Phase II support for the established facility and visiting instruments as mandated by the Gemini Board. Phase II support for the other instruments remains with the Gemini Observatory staff. In outline, the Phase II process for the established instruments is as follows:

  • PIs interact with NGO support staff to complete Phase II using the OT for all observations with NIRI and NIFS (including Altair), NICI, Phoenix, GNIRS, both GMOSs (including MOS mask design), T-ReCS and Michelle.
  • All Phase II Science Programs are checked by NGO staff prior to being forwarded to the Gemini Contact Scientist. (Note that Gemini CSs will return any Phase II programs that are received directly from PIs, with instructions to contact their NGO).
  • Gemini Contact Scientist checks Phase II Science Programs; if there is any problem the Science Program will be returned to the NGO support staff. The NGO staff will then iterate further with the PI.
  • Only when the Gemini Contact Scientist agrees that the Science Program is ready will it be activated in the queue for execution. The PI will be notified that their program is in the active queue and that the Gemini CS is now the primary contact point.

You can help us and speed this process by checking the program yourself (see the OT/Phase II checklist and instrument-specific checklists on the OT instrument component pages).

If you wish to change the primary contact for this program, e.g. to a Co-I, please e-mail Sandy Leggett (sleggett at gemini.edu) with a copy to the Gemini Heads of Science Operations (ijorgensen at gemini.edu, brodgers at gemini.edu) and a copy to your National Gemini office.

You can verify the contact names by fetching your program or from the "interactive snapshot" of the Observing Database, accessed from the contents list on the schedules web page. (The NGO and Gemini support staff email addresses are listed on the support staff web page). Please use the HelpDesk for any general queries about your program or the Phase II process or tools.

 OT and Other Late-Breaking Changes for 2011A

The principal changes to the OT software are listed on the OT Release Notes page. There are also several new policy changes. Here we summarise how they affect Phase II observation definition and point the user to further details.

 NGOs adding OT library templates to 2011A skeletons

NGO staff may have added relevant template observations from the OT libraries to selected programs in order to improve the Phase II process. Please use these templates as the starting point for the final Phase II observation definitions. Contact your NGO contact scientist if you have any questions.

If you would like to consult the full OT libraries, they can be quickly fetched by selecting "Fetch Libraries..." from the File menu of the OT Science Program Editor. 

 Major new OT capabilities and procedure changes

  • There are many changes to the OT libraries, especially for GMOS. Fetch the new libraries  by selecting "Fetch Libraries..." from the File menu of the OT Science Program Editor. 
  • Warnings are given if a guide star is not reachable by the GMOS OIWFS probe in any offset position. Offset position for which the guide star is unreachable are displayed in the Position Editor. The field in which a guide star can be chosen for a given set of offset positions is also shown with a green square in the Position Editor.
  • Improvements to orbital elements queries for non-sidereal targets
  • Both the GNIRS short and long camera cross-dispersed prisms (SDX or LDX) can be selected with the 0.05 "/pix scale (long camera).
  • The GNIRS read mode can now be set in the GNIRS sequence iterator 

 Minimizing the effects of atmospheric refraction in GMOS data

The GMOS instrument web pages have been updated to give information about some of the consequences that can result from the fact the GMOSs do not have atmospheric dispersion correctors. Advice is given on how to limit the effects on data.

 Phase II Deadline for Classical Programs

The Phase II deadline for classical programs is the same as the queue deadline, in this case January 14, 2011. For classical programs, backup observations to use poorer conditions, if appropriate, must have been specified and approved by this date. 

 Status of Submitted Programs and Observations

The queue summary and "interactive database snapshot" pages show the current execution status of all queue programs and indicates when data have been taken. (For the next level of detail,click on the "execution status" link under each program to see the status of each observation or on the execution log links in the contents list to see which observations were executed each night).

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