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WIYN OBSERVING & HOUSING POLICIES
Below are a list of Housing and Observing policies for WIYN. These are supplemental to the policies described in the KPNO Users Handbook and the WIYN Users Handbook. For questions or clarifications please contact the WIYN Operations Manager.
Observing Policies & Procedures
To reduce the risk of damage to ODI full size filters, the SSC has endorsed, as of Oct 22 2015, the following policy. Explanatory text is added in italics.
- ODI full size broadband filters (u'g'r'i'z') shall be considered permanently mounted in the instrument. For regular science operations, the filter slot positions used for those 5 filters are not available for other filters. At this time, positions A1,B1,C1,B2,C2 are used for the u'g'r'i'z' filters.
- Until further notice, ODI full size filters beyond the u'g'r'i'z' complement, and acquired
through WIYN funding, shall be considered as permanently mounted in the instrument,
and take precedence over Mosaic filter requests during regular science operations.
At this time, no additional full size filter is available for ODI. A narrow band filter procurement process by WIYN is under way, and upon that filter's arrival (est. summer 2016), filter position A2 will be occupied by that filter.
Up to four Mosaic filters can be loaded into ODI simultaneously during the semester 2016B. Starting in semester 2016B, up to three Mosaic filter slots will be available in ODI.
Principal Investigators should contact their SSC representative and the WIYN operating team if their program requires the use of additional Mosaic filters. A waiver request for this filter policy should be arranged before, or included in, the submission of a proposal.
(08/14/2018) Update! Beginning in semester 2018B all 9 filter slots will be filled with full-size ODI filters [u',g',r',i',z', NB422, NB695, NB746, H-alpha].
A new document has been developed as a guideline for both OAs and Observers regarding the expectation of OAs on site.
OAs are not expected to interact with observers before 4:00pm and need sufficient time for dinner and night lunch. They need to perform several essential tasks upon arriving at the telescope and after dinner. They are happy to assist observers with calibrations, as these duties allow. If observers need additional time for calibrations this must be both essential and arranged with WIYN staff and the OA in advance; day crew will assist as available.
Arrival at the Telescope
OAs are not expected to be ready to interact with observers before 4:00pm AZ time. Observers should not request earlier OA arrival. Observers who have need for a longer period of afternoon calibrations should pursue one or more of the following:
- Carefully consider and plan out what calibrations will actually be needed for use with the coming night's data, and do not make unnecessary calibrations. Plan calibrations to make efficient use of the OA's dinner period.
- Biases and darks can be left running at the end of the night if individual instrument policies permit. It is advised to leave notes (e.g., at the computer, on the Bench spectrograph room door, etc.) stating which calibration is ongoing and when it is expected to complete so that day crew do not inadvertently interrupt the calibrations. Scheduled or urgent daytime activities take precedence. Observers should check with the OA in advance as to when the day crew might need access.
- Arrange in advance, through WIYN staff and most immediately the OA during the previous night, to request for afternoon calibrations (e.g., powering on instruments, opening the mirror covers and aligning the flat field screen with the telescope). Note that the conditions, such as humidity, dust, etc. must be at safe levels and any actions consistent with telescope and instrument operational policies. For example, the day crew will not open the mirror covers if there is a potential threat to the telescope.
The OAs will set up the telescope for routine calibrations as quickly as possible, subject to other duties and as allowed by local conditions (e.g., humidity, rain).
The OA and observer should arrange a time for the OA to go to dinner that is maximally beneficial and convenient for both. This should not be so late as to run the risk of the OA missing part of the meal. The total duration of the OA's dinner period absolutely should be no less than 30 minutes, and this low number should be the exception; most times the dinner period should be 45 minutes. If the observer won't need the OA for a longer period, that should be communicated. The observers and OA should discuss how to contact the OA in the event of an emergency.
If the observers have not arrived at the telescope or checked in remotely by 4:00pm for calibrations, the OAs will not wait past their regular dinner time, and they will take the default 45 minute period. Essential telescope functions, such as filling dewars or diagnosing crucial problems, will not be deferred for late calibrations.1
Split nights, where one program uses the first half and another the second, possibly with a different instrument, present a particular challenge for afternoon calibrations. The observing teams should coordinate closely in advance with each other, the OA, the WIYN Operations Manager (Heidi Schweiker; email@example.com), and the relevant instrument scientists and observing support personnel. The default arrangement is to split the available afternoon calibration time evenly between the different observers; other arrangements can be made if mutually agreeable to the observers and deemed feasible by the OAs and WIYN staff. The advice above, namely to select only the essential caibrations and inquire as to the possibility for help before 4:00pm from the day crew, is particularly relevant in this situation. It may be necessary in some cases for one team to run calibrations one afternoon and the other team do so on the subsequent afternoon.1
OAs want to see observing runs be as successful as possible. In general they will attempt to help observers with non-standard needs to the extent possible. However, observers must not pressure the OAs to do anything that is outside of their area of knowledge or the safety envelope for personnel or equipment as determined by the OA, or prevents the OA from handling basic necessities (e.g., telescope and instrument functions, dinner, night lunch, restroom breaks).
1If there is insufficient time for calibrations, observers can elect to either conduct them during the nighttime or forego until the following afternoon. Morning calibrations, with the exceptions of biases and darks which can be left running if individual instrument policies permit, are discouraged unless essential (e.g., due to inclement weather at the start of the night); in any case these should not cause the OA to stay at the telescope past sunrise.
New visiting observers, that do not have PhD status, MUST be accompanied by an experienced on-site observer. The experienced observer may be on any status level. New remote observers MUST have previously observed on-site at WIYN and have used their remote observing instrument on site, no matter what their status level.
Also see the policy on remote observers below.
An Observing Run Preparation (ORP) Form must be submitted at least 6 weeks prior to your observing run.
Minimum instrument configuration information that needs to be specified on the ORP includes:
- For Hydra, HexPak/GradPak and SparsePak: which cable is needed (Hydra only), which camera, grating, order blocking filter, central wavelength, and order.
- WHIRC: tip-tilt guiding active, or straight imaging mode.
- ODI: which filters are needed.
- ORPs must be submitted at least six weeks prior to the start of the observing run. Failure to submit an ORP, prior to two weeks in advance, may result in no observing support being scheduled other than the OA, before two weeks an observing support personnel will be assigned based on availability.
- For university runs, only one major instrument change is allowed for and only one additional minor change or re-configuration. A minor change or re-configuration is defined as a central wavelength change or fiber foot change (Hydra).
- Spectrograph grating or camera changes after the first day of a run will only be supported if requested in the ORP (submitted at least six weeks prior to the run) and will only be supported by WIYN staff for the spectrograph setup. The observer(s) will be responsible for determining best focus.
- Changes to ORP's made after the 15th of the prior month are considered late.
- Changes submitted up to the two weeks prior to the observing run will be supported by the KPNO Instrument Support group, based solely on staff availability. If there is no staff available, then the change will not be supported.
- Changes requested after the two weeks prior to the observing run may not be supported by the KPNO Instrument Support group.
- Changes to scheduled support or requests for new or additional support are to be submitted to kpno at noirlab.edu and the WIYN Operations Manager at heidi.schweiker at noirlab.edu.
More information on submission of ORPs can be found in the Kitt Peak Users Handbook.
- Remote observers must have had at least one prior on-site observing run with the instrument they wish to use during remote observing. Observers without prior on-site experience with an instrument may request permission from the WIYN Director to observe remotely, provided that an observer who is experienced with the instrument will be available as a resource to the remote observer during the scheduled time. That experienced user may assist the scheduled observer either locally or remotely, but must be engaged and available for questions until the scheduled observer is proficient at using the instrument alone. It is the responsibility of the institution awarding the time to ensure that the necessary instrument expertise is available for any remote observing run.
- Remote observing must be identified on the Observing Run Preparation Form, which is due 6 weeks prior to the start of a run.
- WIYN recommends remote observing through a VNC or through MAC OSX Screen Sharing and does not support other desktop sharing utilities.
- Observers are required to use Skype or Polycom to connect with the OA on site.
- Observers must understand and acknowledge the risk of remote observing - if the link to the mountain is down they will be unable to observe and may lose observing time. Observatory staff are not obligated to obtain data for the remote observer in such an event unless previous arrangements have been made.
- Observatory personnel have the right to terminate any remote connection in the event of a potential security breach or misuse.
- Observers must supply a telephone number to the OA in case of emergencies or difficulties with network communications.
- For large remote programs, all object coordinates should be entered into a cache at least 1 week prior to the observing run.
The number of observers is limited to a maximum of THREE at the WIYN telescope. If you wish to request an exception to the number of observers, OR if you wish to send an observer not listed on the original proposal, please write to the KPNO Director for approval. Requests can be sent to kpno at noirlab.edu.
More information on observing at a KPNO facility can be found in the Kitt Peak Users Handbook.
Everyone who drives a government-owned vehicle must be carrying a current Motor Vehicle Operator's Identification card (formerly GSA license), in addition to a valid license from their state, territory, or country. This applies, for example, if you need to make trips between Tucson and the mountain at odd hours, or if you need a mountain vehicle to drive up the 4-meter hill.
Full details on using the NOIRLab shuttles can be found in the KPNO Users Handbook.
- The WIYN facility is not open to general visitors, public or astronomers, without the consent of WIYN staff.
- On-site WIYN staff has full discretion as to grant, or disallow, visitors to the site. It is viewed that the on-site staff posses the responsibility for safety management and requisite preparations for science observations thus, are in the best position to knowledgeably grant visitor access.
- On-site WIYN staff has full discretion to ask any visitor to leave the premises so as to conduct necessary observatory functions.
- WIYN is frequently asked to provide VIP tours for various interests and groups.
- These tours are expected to be arranged prior to the date of the tour, with communication provided to the on-site staff and WIYN observer/s as to the time and purpose of the tour.
- All VIP tours are to be requested via the WIYN director or WIYN Site Engineer, who are then responsible for communication to onsite staff and WIYN observers.
- In the event that the VIP tour participants are not NOIRLab/WIYN personnel, notification and permission to have access to the observatory must be given by KPNO management (KPNO director).
- Large group tours, more that six to ten, should be coordinated with KPNO staff. Primarily, KPNO staff must be made aware of a large group visiting the mountain so that necessary arrangement can be made for transportation, coordination with other operations on the mountain, food, and management of split groups.
- The WIYN facility is often the focus of informal visits from visiting KPNO astronomers observing elsewhere on the mountain. On-site staff, as well as WIYN observers, has the authority to grant or deny these requests. There is no formal policy held by KPNO that prevents these visits, and all KPNO observers will be given keys that permit access to the facility. In general, observers are welcomed to visit the site, but are strongly urged to proved prior notice to the WIYN on-site staff and request access.
- Only the console room and telescope level are available for general access. Visitors wishing to be given access to other areas of the facility must be escorted by WIYN staff.
- All visitors are denied access to the WIYN grounds marked "No Admittance, Authorized Personnel Only". WIYN staff has the authority to ask any unauthorized person/s in these areas to leave immediately.
- All persons at the WIYN Facility are to follow those directives made by WIYN Staff relating to safety (Fire, Threat of Lightning, Site Evacuation).
- WIYN and KPNO staff are allowed to bring personal visitors to the site during normal, daytime hours so long as observing preparation or facility and instrument work does not present safety risks. Safety risks are left to the judgment of the on-site personnel. Examples of risks warranting no visitors would be overhead loads, open hatch-ways, energized dome or telescope drives, and instrument changes.
- WIYN staff is not permitted to bring personal visitors to the site during observing hours (4pm to 8am) without the prior approval of KPNO management.
Scheduling Policies & Procedures
NOIRLab will establish the due date for national time proposals to use WIYN; typically these are 31 March and 30 September for the fall and spring semesters, respectively. The due date for proposals from other WIYN parties1 will be 23:59 Mountain Standard Time (MST) 15 April / 15 October. Telescope time requests from all parties are due by 17:00 MST on 01 May / 01 November.
Each WIYN party should designate a contact person, e.g., the TAC chair, who will deliver each party’s telescope time requests to the WIYN schedulers by the deadline set above. The WIYN schedulers should be advised if this contact person changes.
Each proposal should contain at the minimum the information necessary to schedule the telescope, including instrument and technical details, targets or coordinate ranges, number of nights and lunar phase requirements, any constraints on dates, and a brief summary of the scientific goals. The degree to which other elements, such as a full scientific justification or comprehensive analysis of the observing time request, are required is an internal decision of each party for their observers.
The typical sequence of events each semester is as follows:
- WIYN management calculates and informs all parties of their observing allocations (number of nights and lunar phase distribution).
- Principal investigators submit their proposals via the NOIRLab online proposal form, as described on the WIYN website, by the deadline listed above.
- Once the proposal deadline has passed NOIRLab staff distribute each party’s proposals to the designated contact person within 3 business days.
- Each contact person reports the results of the local TAC process to the WIYN schedulers by the time request deadline listed above.
1 WIYN parties include capital partners, operational partners, and institutions purchasing nights on the telescope.
- Institutions must coordinate all requests for visitor instruments with the WIYN Operations Coordinator. This includes scheduling, storage of equipment, usage by other institutions, special handling equipment, safety inspection, etc. Visitor instruments with requirements that may impact normal operations will require approval of the Director.
- The WIYN "New Instrumentation Policy" (WODC 00-04) must be completed and submitted to the Operations Coordinator 60 days prior to the first-time use of any new visitor instruments at WIYN.
- WIYN will be responsible for any cabling inside the telescope and through any cable wraps. Cabling requirements must be reviewed with the Site Engineer at least four weeks prior to installation. All other cabling will be the responsibility of visitors.
- Installation/removal of the visitor instrument will be the responsibility of the visiting observers. Removal of the instrument must be completed by noon of the day following the last night. If the installation or removal of a visitor instrument requires the use of WIYN resources, the WIYN "Resource Allocation Policy" (WODC 00-03) must be submitted 30 days prior.
- WIYN personnel will balance the telescope or instrument rotator after the installation or removal of the visitor instrument. Installation must be completed by 2pm of the day observing is to begin so that balancing can occur during normal staff hours.
Each "block" is defined by a major instrument change, such as swapping Hydra for SparsePak. For the duration of the block, only minor instrument changes are allowed, such as filter changes, Hydra setups, etc.
Housing Policies & Procedures
WIYN currently leases 2 houses on Kitt Peak from KPNO. These are intended primarily for use by observers at the WIYN 3.5m and WIYN 0.9m telescopes. In addition, the houses may be used by selected Tucson employees identified in the rules below.
In the following rules, the term "WIYN House" refers to the original house rented to the WIYN Consortium (KPNO house #2). The "0.9m House" refers to the house rented to WIYN in April 2002 (KPNO house #5).
Observers from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and Indiana University, and their collaborators, may use either house. Non-WI observers from among the 0.9m Consortium (see Appendix) may only request the 0.9m House.
These rules are being prepared to aid in the scheduling of the 2 houses in order to avoid conflicts in the demand for their allocation. At times, the availability of the houses, as well as the parties having rights to those houses, has been unclear. These rules should reduce the confusion as to who has access rights to the houses, and under what situations.
Under special circumstances, both houses may be requested by a single observing team. Such instances may include mixed gender teams, or large observing teams (e.g., for educational purposes or for very extended runs).
The due dates for requests indicated below (6 weeks and 4 weeks) have special meaning: the 6 week deadline is the long-standing requirement before which an Observing Run Preparation (ORP) form must be submitted. After that time, KPNO/WIYN cannot guarantee that instrumental and housing requests will be honored. The 4 week deadline is the minimum advance notice for scheduling personnel to maintain and clean the 2 houses. Thus all requests for housing within 4 weeks of an observing run will be satisfied with KPNO dorms, if available.
These policies will be adhered to strictly in order to ensure that housing does not require undue attention of the WIYN Director, or other WIYN and NOIRLab staff. WIYN and NOIRLab staff are not to be contacted for variances, etc. Any concerns about these policies should be directed to:
Heidi Schweiker, (520) 318-8140, heidi.schweiker at noirlab.edu.
- Houses, not specific bedrooms, are allocated to an observer or to an observing team.
- ORPs are due 6 weeks prior to the run, and must include a request for housing if needed. The housing request will receive priority (3.5m observers have priority at the 3.5m house and 0.9m observers have priority at the 0.9m house) and will be honored if at all possible.
- Between 4 and 6 weeks prior to a run, the 3.5m house will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis to any WIY observer, and the 0.9m house will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis to any WI or 0.9m consortium observer. Allocation will not depend on telescope used, and WI observers may request both houses if needed.
- Requests for housing in either WIYN house that are received less than 4 weeks prior to a run will not be honored. The observer will be assigned to an NOIRLab dorm room at the going rate (currently $90/nt).
- WI observers (see Appendix) and their collaborators working at the 3.5m, plus WIYN personnel (see Appendix) and the WIYN Telescope Scientist (currently Jayadev Rajagopal), may use the 3.5m house at no charge. Observers from the 0.9m consortium (see below) and their collaborators working at the 0.9m may use the 0.9m house at no charge. There is no charge to the WIYN Director, the WIYN Telescope Scientist, the WIYN Operations Manager and the 0.9m Site Manager when they use the 0.9m house.
- Classically scheduled NOIRLab observers will not be allowed use of either house. A WI observer or 0.9m consortium member that is scheduled during NOIRLab time on either the 3.5m or the 0.9m may request the associated house if the request is received in advance of the 4 week deadline. This observer will then get lowest priority on the houses.
WI observers are PI's that have been granted time on the WIYN 3.5m telescope through either the University of Wisconsin, Madison or Indiana University.
0.9m Consortium Members
- Austin Peay State University
- Five Colleges Astronomy Department
- Haverford College
- Indiana University
- Kitt Peak Visitors Center
- Rochester Institute of Technology
- San Francisco State University
- University of Wisconsin - Madison
- University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point
- University of Wisconsin - Whitewater
- Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium
- Bill McBride
- Mark Everett
- Emily Hunting
- Wilson Liu
- Jayadev Rajagopal
- Susan Ridgway
- Heidi Schweiker
- Erik Timmerman
- Sarah Logsdon
- Dan Li
Things to keep in mind:
- Indiana has a policy on mixed-sex housing. Male and female observers of different ranks (e.g. female professor and male graduate or undergraduate student) can not share housing. This applies to either the WIYN or 0.9m house.
- Observers are only allowed 1 housing move per run, this includes houses and dorm rooms. Observers can move from a house or dorm room into a dorm room or another house, but only once during their run.
- If a house is already assigned to an observer or observing team, the observer(s) from the other telescope can not request sharing of the assigned.
- If an observer needs housing prior to their run (i.e. if they arrive a night early) they can request the use of the appropriate house. If the house is already assigned for that night the current observer must give permission for the incoming observer to share the house, otherwise the incoming observer should be put into a dorm room (or the other house).
- Instructions for observer responsibilities upon departure are posted in the 0.9m house (in the living room and in the kitchen) and WIYN house (on the linens door).
We would like to remind observers that assigning housing for the use of WIYN observers is the responsibility of the Kitt Peak support staff. Every effort is made to accommodate observers' requests without violating the housing policies that are in place. IN NO INSTANCE should observers take upon themselves to change the housing assignments. In the case of an emergency, it is absolutely essential that Kitt Peak personnel know who is located where.
If an issue with a housing assignment arises, or a change is desired, the observer should contact the Kitt Peak Support Office at (520) 318-8135 or (520) 318-8279 between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm, local time, Monday-Friday. If the issue arises on a weekend, the observer can bring it to the attention of the WIYN 3.5m Observing Assistant, who will contact the appropriate person. If observers choose not to abide by the rules, they will loose their privilege to use the WIYN houses.
Questions can be addressed to:
Important Information for Observers and Staff Regarding Reserved Cleaning Times: 14:00 to 16:00 on Run Change Over Dates
In order to ensure adequate cleaning of both the WIYN house and the WIYN 0.9m house we are clarifying when KPNO facilities staff may enter the houses to clean and maintain the building/rooms. All observers must vacate their respective house by 14:00 the day they are scheduled to check out. Incoming observers are not allowed to "occupy" the houses until 16:00 on their arrival day. Incoming observers are allowed to drop off their food and luggage at the houses before 16:00, as long as luggage is stored in the living room and out of the way. In the case of observer overlap between runs, observers need to understand that on the observing run change over day (change over dates are the dates a new program starts on the respective telescope, see the telescope schedule on-line) between the hours of 14:00 and 16:00 cleaning staff will be authorized to clean the room. The cleaning crew reserves the right to wake observers, if necessary, during these hours on the change over dates. Incoming, overlapped, observers may leave the designated placard on their bed to show that it is occupied and do not have to move their belongings out of their bedroom. If your plans lead you to leave the mountain before noon on your day of departure, please take the time to contact the KPNO Support Office (318-8135) to let them know you have vacated the house and we will put the extra time to clean the house to good use.
Last modified: 06-Jul-2022 16:32:24 MST
- Observing at WIYN