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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 "PhaseII filling" note to the top of the program.The title of the notes should be "PhaseII filling - " and then one of the following options
      • PhaseII was filled to the allocated time, execute all science observations
      • PhaseII 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)
      • PhaseII was not filled as targets are not known (use for ToO programs)
      • The PhaseII 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 the proper J2000 coordinates?
    • Does the target have a name? The target name box should not be blank. 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.
    • If your target is not obvious in the OT position editor with the DSS2 image loaded, the acquisition involves complicated alignments, or your target is in a crowded field, you may need to supply a finding chart. PhaseII checklists for individual instruments provide more information about when these are needed. 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?
    • 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?
    • If the target has high proper motion, are the proper motions correct?
      • Querying Simbad to determine the target position will now also return the proper motions.
    • Ephemerides to support non-sidereal observations of unnumbered objects should be added as a text note.
  • Wavefront sensor stars 
    • Has the appropriate WFS been selected?
    • Where possible, use the Auto GS option to automatically choose an appropriate guide star. 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 UCAC3 catalog is preferred for choosing guide stars because the magnitudes tend to be reliable.
    • Is the guide star suitably bright?
    • 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.
    • 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 effective 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 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