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Observing Tool

The Gemini Observing Tool (OT) is the software used for detailed definition and pre-planning of observations from approved proposals during the Phase II process. The OT is also the high-level interface for on-site (classical and staff) observers. It supports observations with all facility instruments. (Visiting instruments normally have their own control systems and are not integrated with the high-level software).

The OT installation files are located on the Gemini software site. A personal OT installation can be updated using the Update... button on the OT start-up screen.

The philosophy of the OT is to hide the complexity of the Gemini Observatory control systems (e.g. 60+ TCS and sub-system engineering control screens) and yet not restrict significantly the scientific capabilities and innovative observing techniques. It is intended to be the sole instrument user interface (at the telescope as well as remotely), capable of configuring and sequencing instrument and telescope motions and integrating the data processing pipeline with data taking.

Immediately prior to Phase II, relevant details are extracted from each Phase I proposal (e.g. target positions, guide stars, observing condition constraints) and used to construct a Science Program which contains a skeletal description of each observation whose details must be further refined.

In Phase II the investigator uses the Observing Tool to access a database at Gemini Observatory, downloads their outline science program and refines target co-ordinates and guide stars, defines sequences of telescope motion and instrument configuration, specifies science and calibration exposures and so forth. During this phase the first point of contact for queries about the Observing Tool and observation definition should be your local National Gemini Office.

Please read the Phase II special instructions that include information specific to the current/upcoming semester, where to go for help, and Phase II submission details.

Upon completion of the detailed definition the PI uploads their science program back into the Observatory database, at which time their NGO contact and Gemini Contact Scientist are notified and verify that the submitted Phase II details are consistent with the proposal and complete (in that all required observation elements are present). It is the PI's responsibility to ensure that the defined observations accurately represent the intended observing configuration and sequence. Modification of approved queue programs after Phase I must be made via the queue change request process.

There is only one Phase II deadline for both queue and classical programs. Only science programs uploaded into the database by the deadline will be considered for execution.

The contents list to the left provides links to key features. We suggest that after installation of the software you familiarise yourself with the introductory OT Video Tutorials before moving on to the detailed features.

The Observing Tool is the work of the Gemini Observatory software engineering group with science staff direction by Bryan Miller and Andrew Stephens and previous employees Darrell Denlinger, Alan Brighton, Kim Gillies, Rob Norris, Vasudeva Upadhya, and Phil Puxley.