Area Code 520 Emergency Services 911 Forest Service/Mt. Lemmon 576-1344 Catalina Supervisor Jim Grantham (email@example.com) 621-7931 Kitt Peak Supervisor/Resident Bill Wood (firstname.lastname@example.org) 318-8690 Instrument Specialist Gary Rosenbaum (email@example.com) 621-5136 Joe Hoscheidt (firstname.lastname@example.org) 621-5136 Operations Manager Bob Peterson (email@example.com) 621-5136 Technical Director Jeff Kingsley (firstname.lastname@example.org) 626-5669 Cognizant Observer Paul Smith (90", 61", 60") (email@example.com) 621-2779 Deputy Director George Rieke (firstname.lastname@example.org) 621-2832 Associate Director Buddy Powell (email@example.com) 621-1537 Director Peter Strittmatter (firstname.lastname@example.org) 621-6524 Tucson Operations Office Erica Baker (email@example.com) 621-7659 Business Office 621-2280 Multiple Mirror Telescope 621-1558 Kitt Peak Station 318-8690/8691 Mt. Bigelow Station 576-1283 Mt. Lemmon Station 621-7931
KITT PEAK: A new observer should make arrangements for qualification well in advance with the Cognizant Observer or delegate. Since a Telescope Operator, who is explicitly responsible for the safe operation of the 90-inch telescope, is on duty, it may be that a short daytime walk-through is all that will be required at that telescope for an observer with some experience. Please ensure that the Cognizant Observer and Operations Manager are informed that check-out has been completed in writing. Lists of check-out procedures can be obtained from Penny Schmitt and can be found on our www web site.
The 90-inch telescope is the largest instrument operated solely by Steward Observatory and is maintained as a first-class research facility. It is essential that a certified observer be on premises during nighttime hours unless weather is so bad that travel is hazardous or an equipment failure prevents observing altogether. Even in such cases, an observer's absence must be cleared with the Operations Manager or the Site Supervisor. Weather fronts can clear as quickly as they arrive, and the Observatory expects that its major facilities will be used to their greatest extent.
CATALINAS: For check-out in the use of the telescopes at the two Catalina sites, please consult the Cognizant Observer and make the necessary arrangements with the appropriate person for check-out. These telescopes are operated without night assistants, so careful observance of the instructions and procedures is of great importance. Again, please inform the Cognizant Observer and Operations Manager in writing once check-out has been completed.
An emergency alert system (dialer) has been provided for safety consideration at the 60-inch and 61-inch telescopes. The system consists of a pendant transmitter and a telephone interface unit. In the event of an emergency, where one cannot get to the telephone, the transmitter can be activated and a telephone call will be automatically placed to the site resident.
If you are working alone in the dome, we urge you to wear the pendant transmitter at all times. However, upon leaving the dome, please return the pendant transmitter to the posted location.
If the unit is inadvertently initiated, an abort switch is located on the telephone interface unit in the telescope control room. Instructions for the use of the unit are posted on the bulletin boards in the control rooms.
INSTRUMENTATION: Authorization for the use of specific instrumentation must also be obtained by arrangement with the Cognizant Observer or delegated representative. Check-out generally requires at least two nights of practice with a qualified observer. The Operations Manager will be responsible for maintaining the authorized users' list.
Arrangements for check-out must be made well in advance of the scheduled run. ALLOCATION OF OBSERVING TIME BY THE SCHEDULING COMMITTEE DOES NOT IMPLY CERTIFICATION FOR OBSERVING. TELESCOPE TIME WILL BE FORFEITED IF THE OBSERVER HAS NOT BEEN CERTIFIED. It is the sole responsibility of the observer to see that he has been properly checked out in advance of this first independently scheduled observing run.
At the Kitt Peak telescopes, the responsibility for opening or closing down in adverse weather conditions rests with the 90-inch Telescope Operator. If the observer disagrees with the decision, the matter should be brought subsequently to the attention of the Deputy Director. A detailed set of instructions to the Kitt Peak Operation staff is available on the mountain to review.
At the Catalina Observatories, the responsibility for telescope operations rests with the observer. If in doubt, please err on the side of caution.
The following guidelines for shutdown should be applied with common sense and judgment to ensure that safe limits are not exceeded.
HIGH WINDS. Strong and gusty winds pose a threat to windscreens and also carry dust, sand, and snow that threaten the condition of optical surfaces. Do not work into a wind of steady velocity or frequent gusts exceeding 40 mph (35 at Catalina's). Operations downwind should cease when the wind velocity exceeds 45 mph (40 at Catalina's), or when there are frequent gusts of such velocity. Lower wind velocities may require shutdown if the dust content of the air is substantial. Fresh snow blowing off nearby trees poses a special hazard at the Catalina telescopes. A great deal of noise from buffeting of the windscreens, or pronounced shaking of the telescope, should be recognized as a warning signal no matter what the anemometer may read.
HUMIDITY. If there appears to be imminent danger of fog in the near vicinity of the telescope dome, or if there is any sign of condensation inside the dome or on parts of the shutter from which moisture could fall onto the telescope, operations should be suspended and the dome closed. In general, an increasing humidity near 90% RH precipitates such a condition and is recognized as the value that requires dome closure. In no circumstances should optical parts be permitted to become fogged or frosted, or water or snow be permitted to fall upon them. If observing has been carried on in conditions of very high humidity, it may be necessary to take steps after closing to prevent the formation of fog or frost on cold optical parts, such as using dry air lines from the telescope base to instrument, or using bottled dry nitrogen on accessible optics. The Instrument Specialist or Site Resident can give more details.
RAIN, SNOW, OR OTHER ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS. In threatening weather conditions, it is the responsibility of the Telescope Operator, (if there is one), or of the observer (if there is no Telescope Operator), to ensure that the dome is closed early enough to prevent damage to the telescope and equipment. Weather conditions on mountains can change very quickly, and the observer or night assistant should be constantly aware of outside conditions at all times.
ELECTRICAL STORMS. If electrical storms occur close by, the dome must be closed (to guard against the possibility that power failure could prevent closing it later as conditions become even more severe), and electrical and electronic equipment, particularly computers, must be turned off and unplugged.
In many cases, it is necessary to open the electrical disconnect switches serving instrument, computer, and dome power systems. GUIDELINE: IF YOU CAN HEAR THE THUNDER, IT IS TIME TO CLOSE DOWN.
SMOKE: Smoke from forest fires (mainly in the Catalina's) can also lead to damage of the telescope optics. Close the dome and turn off ventilation fans as soon as you are aware of any such problem. Immediately notify the Forest Service, if no one answers, call the Emergency Services number. The Site Resident or the Operations Manager should then be notified. Stow the telescope and cover all optical surfaces.
At Kitt Peak, the Operations staff must be informed of such changes before they are made. The staff have been requested to ensure that changes ARE reversed before the observer leaves. If there is any doubt on the part of the Operations staff about the reversibility of a change, they are instructed to prevent such changes until either the Operations Manager, the Deputy Director or the faculty member in charge of the specific piece of user instrumentation has been consulted and has given his approval.
At the Catalina stations, observers are requested to clear such changes with the Deputy Director and the Cognizant Observer and/or the person responsible for the particular piece of equipment.
At the Catalina telescopes, trouble report forms (60") should be carefully filled out and placed near the observing log book. A note on the black board could help ensure that they will be discovered. At the 61", the Operations Report (computer text file) should be completed whether or not there is trouble to report. The information reported allows the Observatory to maintain a weather and seeing database that is useful to the Observatory as well as all observers. In addition, a verbal trouble report summary can also be made using the telephone recorder system in the Operations office. These recordings, however, are not likely to be heard during weekends, when the written trouble reports become the important contact.
The observer should personally make sure that the problem encountered has been solved by the appropriate members of the observatory staff (i.e. that the system functions properly). This should be effected by working closely with the staff member and/or astronomer responsible for the instrument causing the problem -- and, if necessary, by seeking assistance from the for Operations Manager. The Site Resident is the first line of defense and will assist in ensuring that all required repairs/replacements have been carried out. The Operations Manager has the responsibility for coordinating action on Operations Reports with the Technical Division.
On the Catalina telescopes, any observing program requiring special assistance (balancing, for example), special equipment, or special attention to the condition of the telescope should be reported to observatory personnel as early as possible. In fact, a special section is included in the observing time request for noting such requirements. (Please note however, that Operations personnel will probably review the time requests). In these situations, considerable initiative will be expected of the observer in view of the limited availability of observatory personnel.
Visiting observers from other institutions are requested to contact the Operations Manager or the Cognizant Observer as soon as they have been informed of their time allocation and in any case not later than three weeks before their run. Arrangements for check- out, materials, observing equipment, etc., can then be made in an appropriate manner.
AT THE KITT PEAK STATION: The Site Resident, the Instrumentation Specialist, and the Observatory Technician, under the direction of the Steward Observatory Kitt Peak Supervisor will assist observers in installing equipment and will carry out final balancing of the telescope. They will ensure that facility and instruments are in good condition and will transmit requests for assistance through the Operations Manager who will, in turn, coordinate those requests with the Technical Division staff.
The Telescope Operator's duty hours are normally 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before sunrise. A prioritized worklist is maintained in the control room for the Telescope Operator to implement should observing be suspended because of inclement weather. After midnight, during inclement weather and with the permission of the observer, the Telescope Operator may leave the dome (once the dome and telescope are properly secured for the night) but is to remain on call until finally released by the observer. The Telescope Operator must prepare an Operations Report, a computerized summary of the operations and weather conditions for each scheduled night.
AT THE CATALINA STATION: The Site Resident will assist the observer, by advance arrangement, in installing and balancing equipment on the telescope.
He will make rounds each morning to check the condition of the several telescopes, verify site security, check the Operations Reports and make appropriate arrangements for repairs. The Observers are strongly encouraged to complete the Operations Report.
Assignments are made by the Director or his designee, and revised schedules are announced by the Operations Manager.
In case of unexpected astronomical events of sufficient importance, scheduled time may be pre-empted and reassigned by the Director.
A record is to be made in the equipment log whenever equipment is removed from a given site either by an observer or Technical Division staff. The record should include identification of what was removed, by whom, where it was taken, and when it will be returned. The observer/staff member concerned is responsible for returning the equipment as soon as possible.
The Site Resident will maintain an inventory of equipment available at each site and will ensure that equipment levels are maintained. Serious losses must be reported immediately to the Operations Manager who will give instructions for their replacement.
It is essential that all astronomers and staff members cooperate fully in ensuring that Observatory equipment is available, in first class condition, when it is needed.
The technical staff will maintain appropriate test equipment which should be kept at the various sites for their own use. No observer should use or remove any of the test equipment without explicit approval of the Operations Manager or the Technical Director. As a courtesy, please notify other staff members by leaving a note on the white board.
Observers are expected not to need dormitory space until the day of the first night of their run and to vacate the dormitories the day after the last night of their run. It is assumed that no more than two dormitory rooms will be required for the duration of the run. Any additional needs for dormitory space must be arranged with the Operations Office.
Family members may accompany scheduled observers only if there is room and only with the explicit permission of the Cognizant Observer. Young children and pets should not be taken on observing runs. Partying is not permitted on the observatory premises.
On Kitt Peak, the 90-inch observers have priority concerning use of the downstairs bedrooms. Observers on other telescopes at Kitt Peak who plan to use the dormitory must first check with the scheduled observers to determine if space is available. Facilities can then be scheduled through the Operations Office. For observers not scheduled on Steward Observatory facilities a fee of $25.00 per night will be charged.
We occasionally find that a visitor's run is hampered unnecessarily by a lack of familiarity with our procedures in providing support. Although we try to respond to emergencies whenever they occur, we have limited resources to support the telescopes and their users. In addition, many services simply cannot be arranged without advance warning -- opening additional dorm rooms, obtaining cryogens for cooling dewars, arranging meals at Kitt Peak are examples. To help visitors get the most from their runs, we have put forward the following guidelines:
Visitors to the Multiple Mirror Telescope should contact the MMTO directly for information.
Visitors should arrange for their own transportation and that of their equipment to the telescopes and for the duration of their runs. Road conditions at Mt. Bigelow (61-inch) and Mt. Lemmon (60-inch and 40-inch) can be bad during the winter, any time from November through April.
Visitors are expected to unpack and set up their instrumentation; it is very difficult to divert Observatory staff to assist with these tasks. Observatory staff will help visitors mount their equipment on the telescopes and balance the telescopes, but a specific time for this activity should be set with the Operations Manager. Moreover, these tasks must be completed by 3:30 p.m.
At the ends of their runs, visitors should remove their equipment from the telescope, break it down, and pack it. We expect the telescopes to be vacated by 1:00 p.m. of the afternoon of the day following the run so that the next observers can install their equipment.
Equipment must conform to a standard configuration of the telescope -- e.g., bolt circle, back focus distance, electrical interfaces. Details of the mechanical configurations can be obtained from the Operations Manager; electronic interfaces should be discussed with the Technical Director. If an instrument needs a range of parameters not required by our own instrumentation -- for example, an extreme back focus distance -- it may take some time to make necessary measurements to see if the requirement can be met. Such questions should be directed to the Operations Manager. In particular, last minute modifications of the telescopes to make them compatible with visitor instrumentation are forbidden; please don't ask.
Visitors should bring their own supplies (i.e. flashlights, alarm clocks, etc.), tools, and warm clothes. The telescopes are equipped only with minimal sets of hand tools and low grade oscilloscopes. Visitors should be prepared to carry out maintenance and repair of their equipment; our supplies at the remote facilities are limited--any use of the inventory must be arranged with the Operations Manager. At the 90-inch, meals can be purchased from Kitt Peak; however, reservations must be made with the Business Office at least four days before the first meal will be required. Food at the other telescopes is strictly on a bring-your-own basis.
Emergencies will happen. For small problems, visitors can seek help from any accessible staff member. "Small" means requiring no more than 30 minutes for solution. For larger problems, and so that other essential tasks at the observatories are not unnecessarily interfered with, help should be arranged through the Operations Manager. In all cases that a staff member is asked to run errands in Tucson, it must be cleared with the Operations Manager.
Our staff lives on appreciation as much as bread and water. Please acknowledge any special support both on the spot and in any publications resulting from work at our observatories. We are always interested in how a visitor's run has gone. Please let us know by the end of your time what you have learned and also whether you have any suggestions for improving our facilities or our support. An Observing Run Evaluation form is available at the telescopes to aid with feedback regarding the level of support and facility condition.