What'sat the Bok Telescope?
  • Catalog capabilities.  Observing catalogs should now be anonymously "ftp'd" to ftp://bokpc1.as.arizona.edu/. The only alternative method to transfer a catalog file to bokpc1 is via floppy disk. Ftp will only work if you are inside the SO Kitt Peak firewall (e.g., from computers located in the 90-inch telescope control room -- you can transfer catalogs to bokpc1 from your laptop once you've connected your machine to the network in the control room). The telescope control system (TCS) has the capability of reading MMT-style object catalogs.  Description of the MMT catalog format can be found here. Remember that your catalog needs to be named with a .cat extension so that it can be read by TCS. TCS also can automatically creates a catalog of objects acquired during each night for easy reacquisition at a future date or time.
  • ATTENTION ALL USERS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA FACILITIES AT THE SUMMIT OF KITT PEAK: There have been several recent problems with room assignments at the Steward Observatory dormitory. Because of these incidents, the dormitory reservation policy will be strictly enforced from now on. Please review the current dormitory policies. Rooms 1 and 2 are set aside for observers using the Bok Telescope. Room 5 is set aside for Spacewatch observers. Any use of rooms 3, 4, 6, or 7 MUST be reserved in advance. To reserve a room, contact Erica Baker (eeb@email.arizona.edu) via email with your complete request as soon as possible since assignments for rooms 3, 6, and 7 are on a first-come, first-serve basis. Current dorm room assignments can be viewed at http://daffy.as.arizona.edu/~kmerrill/dorms/dorm.htm.
  • B&C SPECTROGRAPH USERS! A Steward 1024x512 CCD Guider Camera masked to 512x512 pixels and run in frame-transfer mode, used both for the acquisition of targets and guiding. It offers numerous advantages over past cameras used as it is much more sensitive. Observers should be able to see V = 21-22 mag objects in a dark sky with a 10 sec exposure. The CCD also shows the extent of low surface-brightness objects such as galaxies much better that the old camera. The field of view can be zoomed as before. A zoom that shows the entire length of the slit (about 4.5 arcmin) has a scale of 0.5 arcsec/pixel and will be the default setting. The observer can zoom and focus the lens that images the reflective aperture plate through a port on the side of the adapter that encases the zoom lens. Of course, the higher the zoom, the smaller the area of the sky that will be available for possible guide stars. As with the old camera system, the camera should be focused so that the jaws of the slit are as sharp as possible and the staff that mounts the instrument will focus the lens. If you decide to change the zoom during your run, please insure that the image of the slit is still in focus. Another advantage of the new slit viewer/guider is that it supports accurate telescope offsets to place targets in the slit. In the event that there are no suitable guide stars in the field, the offset guide camera is still available for use. Note, however, that the slit cannot be viewed while the offset guider is in use. The new CCD camera can guide on extremely faint stars. It has been found that in a 1-second exposure, G191 B2B (V = 11.8) yields about 11,000 ADU. The guider has no problems guiding at flux levels of 200-300 ADU providing that the guiding parameters (set by the telescope operator) are appropriately set. Therefore, in a 5-second exposure (which is a guide speed that is not too slow given the accurate tracking characteristics of the telescope), one can expect to be able to guide on a V ~ 17.9 star.

    Special thanks go to Gary Schmidt, Gary Rosenbaum, Bill Wood, Howard Lester, Mike Lesser and the Steward Observatory Machine Shop for making this new powerful tool available to the B&C Spectrograph user community.

  • Keys. Observers needing keys to the facility now need to see Erica Baker in Room 358 (621-7659; eeb@email.arizona.edu). If Erica is not available, keys can be checked out by observers from Room N205 (within the Director's suite; 621-1829) Please make sure that you promptly return borrowed keys after the end of your run.
  • DHCP at the 90".  Observers can connect their computers to the Network via DHCP. DHCP provides a much easier interface with the Network than previously available at the 90". If needed, non-DHCP ("static") connections are still available.
  • Disappearance of the University telephone number: Due to the exorbitant monthly rates for University telephone service on Kitt Peak, the 621-prefix line that previously served the 90" has been replaced by a second KPNO line.  Phone numbers for the 90" site are now 318-8690 and 318-8691.  The important change for observers is that long-distance calls can no longer be charged automatically to University accounts.  Instead, it is necessary that long-distance calls from the telescope be made on a calling or charge card.  Realize that since the long-distance provider for KPNO is not ATT, you may have to explicitly dial the 800 number for your credit card service.  For example, to use a University-provided ATT calling card for long distance calls, dial 9-1-800-CALL-ATT, and then proceed as instructed.  For U of A scientists, expense forms can be filed once your bill arrives and you will be reimbursed from your grant.
  • A PC-TCS network interface has been developed by Dave Harvey and Gary Schmidt for communication between instrumentation and the telescope computer.  This should greatly simplify the request for telescope position and status, as well as for issuing guide commands, offsets, and raster sequences.
  • Policy Revision: To allow time for the instrument technician to return to Tucson before the end of the workday, a PI instrument and observer must arrive on the mountain sufficiently early in the day that the instrument can be mounted, checked-out, and the telescope balanced by 3:30pm. Previously, this deadline was 4:00pm.
  • Important Reminders:

  • 1)  At the start of their observing run, observers should RESET the bokobs account on bok. In addition, it is a good idea to change the PASSWORD of the bokobs account. Make sure that you accurately record the new password in the space provided on the control room white board.

    2) Observers need to make sure that they are completely done using bok by 1:00 P.M. following the final night of their observing run. bokobs may be reset at any time past 1:00 P.M. following your final night of observing and may be reset earlier unless observatory staff and/or the incoming observers are not notified otherwise.

    3) Potential new observers must make sure to become certified with the appropriate instrument(s) and follow the procedures for reserving dorm rooms and meals.  These and other policies are spelled out in the Guidelines For Observing at the UAO Telescopes, which all observers must study.