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NIFS Phase II (OT) Checklist

To speed up acceptance of your phase II file so that your program can be scheduled, observed, you may wish to consider the following checklist. When setting up your program in the OT, please also consult the NIFS observing strategies page and download and look at the example observations in the OT libraries.

There is a general OT/Phase II checklist that may be useful to consult.

Here is the NIFS checklist for Phase II, of which most, but not all, are NIFS-specific. For more information on most of these questions, please consult the NIFS OT Details pages along with the general instrument pages.

  • Guide stars:
    • Did you read those pages: adaptive optics at GEMINI and guiding options with NIFS?
    • Did you choose only one guide star (the brightest in guider FOV) per wavefront sensor you are using?
    • Is the selected guide star(s) brighter than the guiding limit? If not the OT will complain. You need to address this complaint.
    • Is the selected guide star(s) within the guide separation limit? If not the OT will complain. You need to address this complaint.
    • Is the guide star a double? If so pick another.
    • Is the Altair lens in?
    • Does your guide star needs SB50/SB80 conditions? Please see the observing strategy page.
    • Are you guiding with LGS + P1? since there is no flexure model in place, re-acquisitions are necessary every 30-40 min. Please see this page: LGS + P1 and add notes in the OT about when to re-acquire.
    • Is the guiding for standards set up properly? Most standards should use NGS, unless you wish to use the standard as PSF and want to observe in the same configuration as the science. Please see NIFS observing strategies.
  • Instrument configuration:
    • Did you choose an appropriate grating and filter?
    • Did you choose an appropriate readout mode?
    • Are the focal plane mask and imaging mirror set correctly (for normal observation, FPM='clear' and Mirror='out')?
    • Do you wish to set the position angle ? Please refer to the observing strategy page.
    • Does your program require blank sky frames (i.e. your source fills the IFU FOV). If so, are sky offsets set up correctly and is offsetting going to a blank IFU field?
    • Do you need multiple coadds? Please refer to the observing strategy page.
  • Acquisition Sequences:
    • Did you include a finder chart? It is often needed, and it never hurts. Did you follow the guidelines for making your finder chart?
    • Is the imaging mirror necessary for the acquisition? (i.e., target K mag > 13?)
    • If the imaging mirror is needed, did you include a sky offset in the acquisition sequence?
    • For the sky-offset steps, did you turn guiding off if the sky frame is not within the guiding limit?
  • Calibrations:
    • Are GCAL arc exposures merged with the science for wavelength calibration? It is recommended that you obtain at least 1 arc per 2 hours of observations.
    • Are the appropriate baseline calibrations included in the phase II file and will they be sufficient? If not, have you included additional calibration data for your program? It is highly recommended that for daycals you use the "Smart" calibrations that come with your templates.
    • Has sufficient observing time been requested for additional calibrations?
    • If your observation is long (> 2 hours), have you chosen appropriate telluric standards or calibration stars both before and after the science observation?
    • Are daytime calibration darks needed and included? If so do they match the science exposure? Note that you can't just change the exposure on the NIFS component, instead you have to click on sequence => manual dark => exposure time. The reason for doing it like this is if you had several objects with different exposure times, you could add a set of darks, in sequence, for each type of exposure.
    • Are the daycal configurations consistent with the values defined for proper exposures times and configurations in the OT library?
    • Are the daycal configurations consistent with the science (i.e., same grating/filter configurations, etc...)
    • Are daytime calibrations defined for every scheduled group, or do you have a separate calibrations folder?
    • Are daytime calibrations defined for every science target? If so, is this really needed? (i.e., it will be unnecessary to execute daycals for program targets that are observed with the same setting on the same night).
    • Did you use the integration time calculator (ITC) or the table in the NIFS observing strategies page to estimate the required exposure times for tellurics?
  • Observing time:
    • If your observation is long (> 3 hours), then it is recommended to break it up into smaller chunks for easier scheduling.
  • General
    • Have you included concise and informative notes in your OT file to aid the observer?
    • Is there a chance that any source will saturate? If so you need to add a note telling the observer what to do. Possible actions include: 1) nothing, 2) stop the observation and request feedback from the PI, 3) decrease the exposure time, 4) decrease the exposure time and increase the number of coadds. Decreasing the exposure time may require changing the read mode so the note should state whether these changes are allowed.
    • Have you prioritized your observations?
    • Do you wish to add nighttime contact information in case the observer has any questions? Do you wish to eavesdrop? Please refer to this link.
  • Last Modified: A. Petric 2015July08