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Phase II - Program preparation, observations, quality control and archiving

, Updated

This page summarizes what you need to know about observation preparation, submission and evaluation. It presents:

Steps to prepare your observations
The Observing software tool (get directly to the OT page for download and installation)
Things you need to know while your program is active
Additional information 

The sections are organized with the intention to guide you to more detailed pages with the all information you may be looking for.

Steps to prepare your observations

1. Don't miss the deadline

All proposals that have been recommended for time by the NTACs and that involve either facility instruments or queue-mode non-facility instruments must go through Phase II. The deadlines for the Phase II process are advertised each semester on the "special instructions" page. 

Note that failure to submit a defined program by the Phase II deadline will result in the progam being canceled. Extensions are granted only in exceptional circumstances and only if requested prior to the deadline.

2. Open your program in the Observing Tool (OT)

Observations are defined using the Observing Tool (OT) for all facility (and other selected) instruments (see the next section for more on the OT). Visiting instrument observations must also go through a Phase II process using the OT. 

At the top of your program, you will find Templates that were built from the data extracted from your successful Phase I proposals. You can modify them to get the sequence you like (e.g., adding arcs, changing offset pattern, adjust central wavelength)

3. Apply the templates and edit the sequences

For the vast majority of the programs, applying the templates to create the sequences does most of the work. All that is left to do is adjusting exposure time, offsets, selecting calibration stars, etc. for each sequence.

However, if you need to do more than that, and your edits are deeper, you can contact your Principal Support person (email available in the OT) for help.

4. Collaborate with support staff

After completion of the detailed OT definition, the observations are returned to the Primary Support (either the National Gemini Office or Gemini Observatory) for checking. For established instruments, the National Gemini Offices provide the first level of Phase II support (except for US PIs for which the Observatory staff does this). Verifications inlcude making sure that the submitted Phase II details are consistent with the proposal and complete. It is the PI's responsibility to ensure that the defined observations accurately represent the intended observing configuration and sequence.

After checking by the Primary Supprt the Gemini Contact Scientist (CS), if different than the Primary Support, is notified that the observations are ready for final checks. The CS carries out a final verification before setting the observation status to "Ready", which prompts the Active Observing Database to notify the investigators that their observation is now a candidate for scheduling. (If there is a problem with the observation definition, then the observations are returned to the National Office for further iterations with the investigators). Once in this database the observations are available to be executed.

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.

The Observing software tool (OT)

The OT is at the core of the communication between the PI, the support staff and the Observatory. You prepare your observations using the OT, and the same sequences are run at the telescope.

Documentation available include:

  • A main OT page preseting the tool and giving the instructions on how to download and install it.
  • An OT help page page with video tutorials.
  • A page decribing all of the OT components.

Additional news about changes to science operations software can be found at the Science Software Blog.

Things you need to know while your program is active

This seciton contains information on the following topics relevant to PIs with an active program at Gemini. 

Making changes

Queue investigators cannot change observations in the Active Observing Database; any requests for subsequent changes to observation details must be made via their CS. On-site (classical) observers may access their observations in the Active Observing Database directly using the OT.


Modification of approved queue programs must be made via the queue change request process.

What to expect?

An overview of the queue planning and execution is available.

You can monitor the progress of your program. The status of queue programs ia available from the queue summary and database snapshots links on the queue and schedules page.