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OT/Phase II Checklist

There is only limited automatic checking of the Science Program built into the Observing Tool at this time. The following checklist may be useful for identifying missing or incorrect elements in your Phase II Science Program. Please also take a look at the instrument-specific checklists (below, or accessible via the OT instrument component pages).

  • General
    • Have you used the templates included in the program or from the OT Library? Are all necessary acquisitions/science/standards/calibrations included?
    • Each observation must be self-contained. Does each have all of the required elements: target, guide star, instrument, observing conditions, telescope offsets (if relevant), instrument sequence (if relevant) and at least one "Observe"?
    • To help organize observations use Organizational Folders, or for observations that must be taken together, use a Scheduling Group.
    • Have you checked/corrected all OT Error/Warnings?
    • Have you double-checked that the calibration observations use the same instrument configuration as the science observations?
    • Have you filled in any "Top Level Program Overview" note? This may or may not be included in your program.
    • Have you included a "Phase II filling" note to the top of the program.The title of the notes should be "Phase II filling - " and then one of the following options
      • Phase II was filled to the allocated time, execute all science observations.
      • Phase II was overfilled, of the N science observations execute only M of them (this option is used when the PI overfills the program to provide flexibility in the queue execution).
      • Phase II was not filled as targets are not known (use for ToO programs).
      • The Phase II was filled to only N hours, as the PI wants to assess data from the first observations before defining observations for the remainder of the allocation.
  • Targets
    • Does the target have a name? The target name box should not be blank or 'Untitled'. The name should contain alphanumeric symbols and blank spaces only, as some other symbols (e.g., brackets[]) can be interpreted as commands by the observing system.
    • Does the target have the proper J2000 coordinates and proper motions? 
      • If your sidereal target is in Simbad, then pressing Return in the target name box or clicking on the magnifying glass icon will query Simbad and return coordinates and proper motions and magnitudes if available.
      • If a non-sidereal target is in the Horizons database, then query Horizons (Return in the target box or click the magnifying glass) and select the unique Horizons ID if required. 
    • Have you uploaded a finding chart? Submit charts to Gemini using the File Attachment facility on the top program level of the science program viewer. Have the guidelines for making finding charts been followed? PhaseII checklists for individual instruments provide more information about when these are needed. Finding charts are especially needed in the following cases:
      • The target is not obvious in the OT position editor with the DSS2 image loaded
      • The target is a transient
      • The acquisition involves complicated alignments or multiple targets
      • The target is in a crowded field 
      • The target is a specific location on an extended source.
    • For spectroscopic observations of targets too faint to be acquired in a few minutes, you should use a "blind offset acquisition". Has a reference star with well known coordinates relative to the science target been entered as a User target?  Have the guidelines for such blind acquisitions been followed?
    • Ephemerides to support non-sidereal observations of un-numbered objects should be added as a text note and uploaded as an attachment. Please confirm that the format matches the example.
  • Wavefront sensor stars 
    • Has the appropriate WFS been selected? By default the OT will attempt to automatically select a guide star. If a guide star is not found then the field may need to be rotated or shifted, or the conditions may need to be changed.  It is also possible to choose an appropriate guide star manually.  If all possible guide stars are too faint, then consider requesting better conditions.
    • If using the Manual GS option:
      • Are the proper J2000 coordinates given?
      • Are visual magnitudes listed for each guide star? (Please do not supply 2MASS magnitudes.) The UCAC4 catalog is preferred for choosing guide stars because the magnitudes tend to be reliable.
      • Is the guide star suitably bright (green guide quality symbol)?
      • Is the star within the WFS patrol field at each position in the offset sequence?
      • Is the star sufficiently far from the target to avoid unacceptable vignetting of the science field by the WFS probe arm?
      • If the star has high proper motion, are the proper motions correct?
      • Does the star have a name?  The target name box should not be blank.  Each target with a unique coordinate should have a unique name (and all targets with the same coordinates must have the same name).
    • If the AO guide star is the same as the target, the target and guide star names and coordinates should be identical.
    • Do the acquistion and science observations for the same target use the same guide star and PA?
  • Instrument Configuration
    • Is the instrument configured as required?  See the web pages for the individual instruments for options and suggestions.
    • Are other telescope components (e.g. Altair Adaptive Optics) configured correctly?
  • Observing Strategy
    • Use the sequence list to confirm that any offset, repeat and instrument iterator steps are in the right order, along with the mix of science and any calibration exposures.
    • Within instrument sequence iterators, define only the components which must be sequenced. Unnecessary and incorrect definitions buried within sequences are difficult to spot and can cost time at night.
    • If you have combined observations into a Scheduling Group, their order within the group does define the execution sequence. Is the order correct?
    • Have reasonable assumptions been made about the number of acquisitions that are needed?
    • Check that the total integration time is consistent with the sensitivity needed (check with the latest integration time calculators).
    • Does your sequence contain an Observe command at the lowest level of the tree hierarchy to actually take some data?!
    • Are the observation classes set correctly?
    • If offsetting for sky frames, has the guiding been set to 'freeze' if the guide star cannot be reached during sky exposures?
    • Is the total time planned less than or equal to the time allocated by the TAC?
  • Observing Conditions
    • Are the observing conditions understood and appropriate for the observation?
    • Loosening the observing conditions can significantly increase the chances that an observation will be executed. The observing conditions should reflect the worst conditions under which useful data can be obtained.
    • If better observing conditions are needed than were given in Phase I, then approval must be granted by the appropriate Associate Director. See the change approval process for details.  This procedure must also be used to request use of the airmass or hour angle constraints.
  • Priorities
    • There is no prioritization implied by the order of the observations within a Science Program (except within a group). 
    • Have the high / medium / low flags been set appropriately for each observation?
  • Calibration
    • Is the baseline calibration plan understood and is it adequate for the observation?
    • If additional calibration is needed beyond the baseline plan, then are the calibration observations included? For non-baseline nighttime calibrations, are these classed as Nighttime Program Calibration?
    • For any GCAL calibrations, have you used the calibration observes that set the GCAL and exposure parameters automatically? If you require special settings, have you accessed correct setups from the OT Libraries or checked exposure times on the instrument webpages? GCAL sequences configured manually by PIs will not be checked by NGO or Gemini staff from 2012B onwards. Any time lost as a result will be charged to the PI.
    • Are before and after telluric standards provided for each science target that requires baseline tellurics? Are these well matched to the science in airmass? Are the conditions constraints for the telluric standards the same as for the science observation?
    • Do all the calibration observations have the same instrument configuration (slit, filter, grating, binning, etc) as the science exposures?
    • Are any darks set up with the same exposure time/coadds as the science?
  • Additional Information
    • Any additional information or instructions should be added in text notes. Check the OT Libraries for the preferred format standardized notes and associated checklists.
  • Deadlines
    • Has the Phase II file been submitted by the appropriate deadline?
  • Instrument-specific checks