Remote Observing

JCMT staff perform remote operations of the JCMT from Hilo. This page will provide guidance for those wishing to connect remotely when they are aware that data is being collected on their program. It is also to provide guidance for observers visiting the EAO/JCMT in person wishing to participate in remote observing from Hilo.

Remote Connection

Observers with a current program being executed at the JCMT can remotely view the current observation log for a given night by logging into the OMP system for their program and clicking on “Click here to remote eavesdrop“. If you have any issues with the process of monitoring the Remote Eavesdropping page or joining the zoom session please email your FOP or if urgent please email

Remote Eavesdropping page

The Remote Eavesdropping page provides users with the OMP log produced by the telescope operator. At the start of this log a link will be provided to you to a zoom connection to the JCMT Remote Observing Control (JROC) room and the telescope operator on duty that night.

Zoom connection

It should be noted that users who connect to the above session must abide by the zoom acceptable use policy
JCMT users are reminded that:
  1. Zoom should be used to facilitate JCMT observing only.
  2. The zoom meeting link should not be shared without permission outside of COIs listed on a projects OMP page.
  3. The Telescope Operator reserves the right to stop the zoom meeting at any time.
  4. The Telescope Operator may not be available at all times as JCMT operations is our highest priority.
  5. On public channels please avoid discussing sensitive proprietary project information.

Automated email alert

When the first MSB from your project is accepted on any given night, you should receive an automated email alerting you to the fact. This email will direct you to the link for the Remote Eavesdropping page for that night.

In person Remote Observing: Hilo logistics

Arrival in Hilo

Please ensure you time your arrival to meet with staff during office hours/at a time that works with your staff contact. You will ned to have signed a computer agreement form and obtained a computer password and login at that time. The visitors page is a great place to check for such arrangements.

Arrival for night time observing

The typical observing night begins around 18:00, when the Telescope Operator has had time to run pre-observing checks. At this time (if you are not already in the building) please come to the EAO back door (next to the kitchen/by the picnic tables) and ring on the doorbell to be let in.


EAO back entrance – for out of hours access during remote observing.

When you are in the building for remote observing (and any time between the hours 18:00 and 07:00) please ensure you sign in (and out) at the book by the back door (during normal office hours please sign in at reception). Please also ensure you are familiar with the information found on the Safety Briefing page.

Please note that there is no mandatory “two person rule” (for those familiar with JCMT summit observing). This means it is possible to be more flexible with your hours during remote observing. Previous observers have found it useful to offset their hours from the typical night to enable afternoon interaction with EAO staff and still contribute to the first part of nighttime operations.

Departure after night time observing

It is unlikely you will be spending the entire night assisting with observing. Often it is not convenient (i.e. sleep/travel arrangements or going up/down the mountain) and your time may be better spent at the EAO office during the day time with our science staff. However your main duties as an observer assisting from Hilo is to ensure your program’s wishes are fully expressed to the Telescope Operator, be this in person or via email.

If you are intending to travel up to Hale Pohaku during your visit please ensure you allow yourself enough time to get a good sleep before driving. If necessary please coordinate with your support astronomer and vehicle scheduler about adjusting the departure time from Hilo to travel to Hale Pohaku (our classical “up” time is 3pm).

When leaving the EAO building please ensure you have signed out – either at main reception and/or the book by the EAO back door.

Transport when in Hilo

Having your own rental car is particularly useful for  visiting observers doing numerous days of remote observing. It makes it quicker and more efficient to get between the Hotel and EAO office, and collect supplies (food is not provided at the EAO office for observers – unlike at Hale Pohaku).


The following is a list of taxi company and hours at which they should be available.

  •  AA Marshall’s Taxi          936-2654
    Hours of Operation:                    12:00a – 11:55p
  • Da Best Taxi                     557-7059
    Hours of Operation:                    7:00a – 10:00p
  • WJJ Taxi Service              938-8786
    Hours of Operation:                   24/7
  • Ace One Taxi                   935-8303
    Hours of Operation:                   24/7


In case of an emergency the meeting point is at the front of the Gemini building – they have a covered area, lighting and often observe from Hilo so may be able to provide assistance in an emergency. To call the emergency services dial 911. To call the emergency services from an EAO telephone dial 8-911.


If you need to be contacted during the run, the number for the JCMT Remote Operations rooms in Hilo are:

  • JROC-1: (808) 969-6558 (Primary Control Room);
  • JROC-2: (808) 969-6586 (Secondary Control Room).

Hilo – computer terminal

You will be using the computer lu’u in the Remote Observing room. Please log in to this computer with your guest login account jcmtXX.

Remote Observing: Computing/Monitoring


At the start of the night when joining remote operations from Hilo you will need to log into the summit computer. If  you are working from Hale Pohaku you will need to first log into the EAO system:

>> ssh jcmtXX@ssh -X

and then for both Hilo and Hale Pohaku log into the summit using either:

>> ssh pueo -X

or if pueo is unreachable for any reason:

>> ssh ulili -X

you will then need to run up the observing software gui:

>> jcmtObs

Before you go any further please verbally confirm with the Telescope Operator that it is OK to click the ‘Observer up‘ up. This will bring up the necessary software needed for observing as described here.

If you intend to perform data reduction and/or follow the instructions on the Summit/EAO computing Guide you will need to log in to sc2dr5. At Hilo this is straightforward – simply follow the instructions given in the Guide. At Hale Pohaku you will again need to log into the EAO system before logging into the summit computer sc2dr5:

>> ssh jcmtXX@ssh -X
>> ssh sc2dr5 -X

When you are ready to finish observing from Hilo or Hale Pohaku but the telescope is still running, please follow this procedure:

    • Verbally communicate to the TSS that you are planning to finish, and that you will therefore need them to (temporarily) stop the observing queue when the current observation has completed.
    • Wait until the current observation has completed, and no observations are under way.
    • Check with the TSS verbally that it is OK to perform an “Observer Down”.
    • When the TSS has approved it, click the jcmtObs “Observer Down” button.


When you are supporting night time operations from Hilo and Hale Pohaku your duties are the same as those listed on the Summit duties/Information page. In addition to this it is helpful to assist the Telescope Operator further by monitoring the JCMT Telescope Status Window. Specifically please keep an eye on the “Mount” box and the PAZ and PEL values. These are the Position errors in Azimuth and Elevation. They typically fluctuate around zero. If you see these values remain consistently high – it could indicate a power issue at the JCMT – please alert the Telescope Operator.

It is possible to monitor the output from the summit pipeline for SCUBA-2 or ACSIS by running ORACDR from sc2dr5.

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