Shane Observing Checklist

Howard's Update to Peter's Shane-centric version of Julia's take on Bernie's slightly expanded copy of JohnJohn's list

These instructions are for Dewar 8 only!

Leave yourself two hours to get from SF state to the Observatory. It may take less, but you never know. Also, arrive at least 4 hours before 12 degree twilight to make sure you have time for any unforseen circumstances.

***Don't forget to bring some food, there isn't even a snack machine at Lick!***

Access Information. You'll need the following info to be able to do anything at all.

  1. __ Diner access code
  2. __ username and password

Target times. Get the twilight information from this page. If at Lick, check the printed calendar. During the summer, it's not corrected for DST! That is, if summer, add an hour to each of the times in the calendar.

  1. ___ 12-degree twilight (dusk)
  2. ___ 12-degree twilight (dawn)
  3. ___ Target time of first exposure (probably a B star). Should be 10 minutes before 12 degree dusk.
  4. ___ Target time to do Iodine and ThAr: at least 30 minutes before 12 degrees
  5. ___ Target time to start flats: 3hours before 12 degrees (or much sooner if more flats or longer flat exposures)

At the Mountain:

Camera room: opening up
  1. _______ Fill CCD dewar as soon as you arrive, to give most time for thermal relaxation. Correct dewar?!
  2. _______ Open collimator cover door (swings down), insert mask (with cross-hairs oriented right way, instructions on mask).
  3. _______ Open prism covers: swing 1 up, slide 2 out, store in safe place.
  4. _______ Carefully open grating cover from behind. Gently.
  5. _______ Turn off lights, leave. Gently.
  6. _______ Check CCD temperature: ~ -136 for dewar 8.

Updates (Nov 2008)


Readout Room: computer setup

Under the 'Hamilton' droplist:

Under the 'Shane misc Menu' dropdown, you may select other helpful programs such as:

Open an Xterm and ssh into plato, type "logsheets" to move to the logshets directory (/u/user/planets/logsheets)

These are the old directions, use the above directions for easier set up

Open four terminal windows

  1. _______ Terminal 1: ssh into shanepc and type "hizx" to start the Data taker. (Sun machine in corner).
  2. _______ Terminal 2: ssh into catpc and type "hamit".
  3. _______ Terminal 3: ssh into shanepc (or catpc) again and type "showmidpt & ". This opens the photon integrator
  4. _______ Terminal 4: ssh into plato. Type "logsheets" or "cd /u/user/planets/logsheets/ to get into the logsheets directory.
    1. _______ Find the most recent logsheet (currently i??.logsheet?)
    2. _______ Save this logsheet using the new run name instead of "i??" the new run name.
    3. _______ Update header information with the proper data.
Slit room:
  1. _______ Look around for image rotator or any other weird stuff that's going to be in the way
  2. _______ Remove polar axis cover if necessary.
  3. _______ Warm up iodine(2 steps): 1) Turn on the switch in the back, 2) Press:"Run/Stop" button in front. Is T climbing? Remember that we're starting at room temp as measured in C. The set point should be 50 C.
  4. _______ Remove clear plastic aperture plate cover, if it's there. Probably isn't.
  5. _______ Iodine cell should be out of the light path.
  6. _______Turn on fan to Medium.
  7. _______ Turn the lights off.
  8. _______On the first night of the run, use the laser to make sure the Iodine cell is properly aligned.


Readout Room: Focusing

  1. _______ Set Spectrograph controller settings:
    1. ______ filter to clear (1)
    2. ______ lamp to Th-Ar (5)
    3. ______ decker, aperture plate to focus (a)
    4. ______Set height, grating, and CCD to position on most recent logsheet
  2. _______ Change to focus parameters on data taker:
    1. _______ Integ. Time (B) to 20 sec
    2. _______ Window size (D) to 1000 rows by 1851 columns, origin 0 97.
    3. _______ Binning (E) to 1 by 1
    4. _______ Obs. type (F) to Normal fast
    5. _______ Recording (G) to not recorded
    6. _______Display: TV
    7. _______ Object Name (I) to focus
    8. _______ Start exposure (R). Th-Ar "A line" should appear at about 760, 800. Looks like this (FIXME real image):
                            * *
  3. The first adjustment is to place to A line in the proper position. If the A line is not relatively close to (760:800), then will not work.
    To increase the row number of the A line by one, increase the height setting by 8.9 units. To increase the column number of the A line by one, increase the grating setting by 1.1 units.
  4. ______ Run focusing program ( can now be run from any directory on gouda) (Running from plato doesn't work anymore)
    1. ______open an xterm, and type: "idl" to to open idl
    2. ______Run it: IDL> foc,/hi,/shanepc,/plt,/mark
    3. ______ In new xterm, ssh plato, type: "focus" to change to focusing dir (or just cd /u/user/planets/focus), type: "idl"
    4. ______ Run it: IDL> foc,/hi,/shanepc,[/plt,/mark]
    5. ______ Focus pos must be bigger than 500000
    6. ______ Tweak grating and height as instructed by program, until lines are in boxes
    7. ______ The final adjustment is to CCD focus. Note focus FWHM. Nudge the “CCD Focus” setting back and forth, +/- 2, to minimize FWHM.
      (ideal FWHM =~ 1.40, but minimizing the value is sufficient.) Note: reads the scr.ccd file, is recording is on, then won't work.
  5. ______ After minimizing the CCD focus, change setting to:
  6. _____________Recording (G) to disk. Save 1 focus image.
  7. ______ Close IDL
  8. ______ Update logsheet with grating, height, CCD Focus, focus, and an entry for the focus exposure.
  9. ______ Copy the focus image from shane (should be /data/d1.ccd) to /net/plato/u/user/planets/thar_archive/DDmonYY_d8thar.ccd.

Readout room: Start Flats

(The (B) column is for the beginning of the night and (E) is for the end.)

  1. ______ (B) ______ (E) decker, aperture plate to 640:5.0 (O like Oooooopen)
  2. ______ (B) ______ (E) Window size (D) to 1700 rows by 1851 columns, origin 0 97.
  3. ______ (B) ______ (E) Recording (G) to disk!!!!
  4. ______ (B) ______ (E) Object Name (I) to wideflat
  5. ______ (B) ______ (E) In new XTerm, ssh to catpc (not plato): cd focus to get to the focus directory, open idl
  6. ______ (B) ______ (E) Then: IDL> autoflat, number=15, /time. The number may vary if time is short; anything more than 10 should be OK.
  7. ______ (B) ______ (E) Enter 20 and 2 for bg12 and bg13 exposure times. The data taker will report an integration time of 20000s = 333.33 m. This is OK.
  8. ______ (B) ______ (E) Look at first flat, make sure it's OK. Not saturating (no flat top in column cut)? No iodine lines? (Yes to either of those is bad.)

Readout room: Flats Done
  1. ______ Update logsheet with info on flat exposures. If you are taking N flats, there should be an entry for exposures 2—N+1 and one for exposures N+2—2N+1.
Iodine Exposure
  1. ______ In the slit room:
    1. ______ (B) ______ (E) Check: is iodine cell warmed up (50C)?
    2. ______ (B) ______ (E) Move iodine cell into optical path.
  2. ______ Back in the readout room:
    1. _____ (B) _____ (E) decker, aperture plate still at 640:2.0 (L), same as for observing
    2. ______ (B) ______ (E) filter to bg13 (3)
    3. ______ (B) ______ (E) lamp to Polar Quartz (8) (Allow 5 minutes of warmup time).
    4. ______ (B) ______ (E) Object Name (I) to iodine
    5. ______ (B) ______ (E) Integ. Time (B) to 22 sec
    6. ______ (B) ______ (E) Read this whole step! Start exposure, then pause after 2 seconds!
    7. ______ (B) ______ (E) filter to bg12 (2)
    8. ______ (B) ______ (E) Resume (u) exposure and let it finish.
    9. ______ (B) ______ (E) Check for iodine lines. At centered zoom level 2, should see lines on top but not on bottom of image.
    10. ______ (B) ______ (E) Update logsheet with an entry for the iodine exposure.
Thorium-Argon Exposure
  1. _xxxx_ (B) _xxxxx_ (E) Note that it is OK if the iodine cell is in the light path for the ThAr exposures; the ThAr lamp is later in the optical path.
  2. ______ (B) ______ (E) decker, aperture plate to 640:2.0 (L), same as Iodine and same as for observing.
  3. ______ (B) ______ (E) filter to clear (1)
  4. ______ (B) ______ (E) lamp to ThAr (5).
  5. ______ (B) ______ (E) Object Name (I) to thar
  6. ______ (B) ______ (E) Integ. Time (B) to 3 sec
  7. ______ (B) ______ (E) Start exposure and let it read out
  8. ______(B)_______(E) lamp to No Lamps (1)
  9. ______ (B) ______ (E) Update logsheet.

You are nearly ready to observe.

  1. ______ Start the pointing program on Karnak: Type "coords &" from an X terminal. Click "no" when asked to connect to Poco. To make the font bigger and more legible, type Control-= in the window.
  2. ______ Goto "New File" and Load your /u/user/starlists/????.list for the starlist.
  3. ______ On the same Xterm, type "telcoc &", a window showing the telescope coordinates will pop up.
  4. ______Check the end time of an observation with this page.
Slit room: Setup photon integrator
  1. ______ Flip Top switch on: whine noise should start
  2. ______ Flip Bottom switch on.
  3. ______ Slowly dial voltage up to 705 (V: 125 to 150).
  4. ______ Top switch on: whine noise should start.
  5. ______ Check that gain dial is at 0.1 (not 1, 10, 100).
  6. ______ Pull plunger (left of aperture plate) out. Listen for whirr noise.
  7. ______ Lights off. Should be completely dark. Leave.


No checklist can help you here. But, that being said ...
  1. ______ Check midpoint time of first exposure matches output of date -u on your computer
  2. ______ Check for iodine lines every so often! The cell can crap out.

Post observing:

Slit room: Integrator Shutdown
  1. _____ Plunger in
  2. _____ Slowly dial down voltage to zero
  3. _____ Two power switches (top and bottom) to off
Readout Room: ThAr and Iodine again
  1. ______ Iodine exposure as at beginning of night
  2. ______ ThAr exposure as at beginning of night
Slit room: Prep for flats
  1. ______ Move iodine cell out of path, I2 cell heater off, fan off. Lights out. (Leave on fan for entire run).
  2. ______ Put notes on two slit room and two camera room doors: “Flats, stay out until 10 AM”
Readout Room: Flats again
  1. ______ Email with an equivalent message.
  2. ______ Start flats routine as before
  3. ______ Update logsheets with prospective exposures
  4. ______ In logsheets, run IDL> logchecker


Sleep! Did you put up the signs? And email mhtechs?

The Morning After

Camera Room: Close up
  1. ______ Refill the CCD dewar
  2. ______ If last night of observing, close up the spectrometer
    1. ______ Close grating cover, gently, from behind
    2. ______ Close prism covers: slide 2 in, swing 1 down
    3. ______ Remove crosshair mask, close collimator cover door

Copy all data and logsheets to SF state. directory: /mir1/logsheets/

Copy logsheets to Berkeley and run barylog there. logsheet directory: /mir1/logsheets/ on any machine

barylog directory: /mir1/bary/ on fornax. Copy bcvel.ascii to /mir1/bary at SFSU, any machine

Reduce all data at SF State. log on to 55cnc goto /mir7/reduce_d8/. Find the most recent reduction script and open the text file.

Update the observations, and calibration images with the appropriate numbers from your run. Finally, run the idl command @name_of_script. (ie i30.1 for run i30, night 1.