Remote observing is a new mode of operations recently implemented at the JCMT. On selected nights (identifiable on the schedule) the JCMT is operated from Hilo. Observers who have an observing run that overlaps with a remote observing night should read this page.
Hilo – logistics
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.
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.
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 the next day 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.
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 Remote Operations room in Hilo is (808) 969-6555. To get an outside line dial 8. To call the emergency services dial 8-911.
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.
Hale Pohaku – logistics
The typical observing night begins around 18:00, when the Telescope Operator has had time to run pre-observing checks.
Joining in remote observing from Hale Pohaku will require you to be in verbal contact with the Telescope Operator. The telephone number for Remote Operations room in Hilo is: (808) 969-6558. From HP you will need to dial 9 for an outside line so this number becomes: 9-969-6558. You should ring the Telescope Operator and verbally confirm the plan for night-time operations prior to loading up any software.
During remote observing, it is recommended you communicate with the Telescope Operator via Google Hangouts or some other such video software.
If you need to be contacted during the run, the number for the EAO office at Hale Pohaku is (808) 934-4413. To get an outside line dial 9. To call the emergency services dial 9-911.
Hale Pohaku – computer terminal
You will be using the computer located on the far left of the EAO HP room. The name of the computer is niu. The computer should already be logged in. Please do not log out of this machine.
Remote Observing – Computing
At the start of the night (from both Hilo and Hale Pohaku) 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:
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.
Remote Observing – Monitoring
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.