Observing Tool

The Observing Tool (JCMTOT) is used to prepare and submit observations to be done at the JCMT.

Observing Tool primer
Installation instructions

The JCMTOT is a component of software within the OMP, used to manage flexible scheduling at JCMT. Its purpose is to increase overall observing efficiency and facilitate communication with the PIs, and at the same time reduce the workload on our support staff and Telescope Operators. It will also allow you, the PI, to control your observing strategy. Note that the MSBs that you specify directly run the telescope and the data-acquisition during the observations.


A list of frequently asked questions and issues can be found on the FAQ page, and users may also find the following presentation titled “JCMT Observing Tool Tips and Tricks” useful.

JCMTOT checklist

The following is a list of items you should check before uploading an MSB to the database.


  • Is the project code/PI/title correct?
  • Do the number of hours match the allocated number of hours for the project?
  • Are the target positions correct – do they match the proposed targets?
  • Have different priorities been applied to the project MSBs to ensure the program is executed in an order that is sensible/scientifically useful.
  • Have the “Notes” section of the project been updated to enable the telescope operator and visiting observer to understand the project aims.

Heterodyne specific

  • Are all MSBs between 30-70 minutes? Use the “observe” counter in the “MSB Editor” component to get the total time up to what is required.
  • Has a reference position/off position/chop position been supplied where necessary?
  • If needed have short (~5 minutes) reference check observations been provided – with appropriate notes to explain what is required?

SCUBA-2 specific

  • Are all SCUBA-2 MSBs no more than 40 minutes in length? Use the “observe” counter in the “MSB Editor” component to get the total time up to what is required.

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