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Observing Tool (OT)

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The Gemini Observing Tool (OT) is the software used for detailed definition and 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 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.

Assistance with its use can be found at the OT Help pages.

You can also access a description of all of the OT's components, and their function.


Download the OT

caution The OT is updated every semester to accommodate new instruments and observing modes. We recommended reading the brief summary of new policies, features, and improvements described in the OT Release Notes

Download the current distribution of the OT. Pick the appropriate distributions for:

  • macOS (select the file ot__macos.dmg, download),
  • Linux 32 bits (select the file ot__linux32.tar.gz, download),
  • Linux 64 bits (select the file ot__linux64.tar.gz, download) and
  • Windows (select the file ot__windows.exe, download).

cautionPre-Upgrade Warnings and Instructions

  • Before installing a new OT, make sure to sync all local changes with the ODBs. If there are local programs in your database that you would like to save or to transfer to a new OT version, then export them to XML files (see the how to save and load programs for more details) for backup and reference. The "Bulk Export to a Selected Directory" option is useful for saving a bulk selection. 
  • Old programs may be imported into the new OT as needed from the XML backups, or keep the previous OT version. We recommend that you download programs afresh from the ODB rather than import them from XML.
  • The auto-update feature is not yet available, so it must be installed from the distribution files.


Installing the Observing Tool

Version of the Gemini Observing Tool was released on June 2, 2020 to support 2020B Phase II preparation.

You can install the software on a network of workstations or, for best performance, on individual machines. This machine needs internet access to communicate with databases situated at the Gemini Observatory and with other on-line image and catalog servers.

Anyone installing an OT for a multi-user environment should read the following:

  • It is possible to have more than one version of the OT installed, although this can lead to a higher chance of confusion and problems. Each version of the OT will have its own, independent, local database.  Installing a new OT will not remove the database from the previous version. If you did not export your programs to XML and a new OT suddenly shows that you have nothing in your database, DON'T PANIC! As long as the ~/.ocs15/* directories are not deleted then the previous database still exists, and you just need to use the earlier version of the OT to access them, and if needed, export the programs to version-independent XML files.

Follow the instructions for:

  • macOS (10.3.3, Mountain Lion, or newer)
  • Linux (RHEL/CentOS or Fedora recommended, although likely compatible with other distributions as well)
  • Windows (Vista/ 7/ 8/ 10)

If you experience any problems installing or running the OT, please see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) or known bugs pages for the latest information.

If you are installing the OT for the first time, please read the installation instructions. The OT installation files are located on the Gemini software site.


Using and Installing the OT on macOS

The OT can be used on macOS 10.8.3 and newer releases (Mountain Lion, Mavericks, Yosemite, El Capitan, Sierra, High Sierra, Mojave, and Catalina).

Installation:

  • Download the current macOS distribution of the OT from the Gemini software site. The macOS release is provided as a mountable disk image.
  • Simply double click on the disk image to mount it, then drag the Observing Tool icon to the Applications folder, your DeskTop, to the Dock or to any place you find convenient.
  • Double click on the icon to launch the application.

On recent versions of macOS, especially 10.15 (Catalina), you will need to give the application permission to run the first time that you use it. You can either:

  • Ctrl-click the application icon, select Open and then click Open in the subsequent dialog
  • Double-click the app icon, then click Ok in the subsequent dialog. Then open System Preferences -> Security & Privacy -> General and click on Open Anyway. Finally, click Open in the next dialog.

We are working on having the OT application signed by Apple so that this will no longer be required.


Using and Installing the OT on Linux

The OT can be used on most recent 32- and 64-bit Linux distributions. It has been extensively tested under RHEL/CentOS 5, 6, and 7, and Fedora up to release 30. We have not heard of any problems on other Linux distributions.

Installation:

  • Download the current Linux distribution of the OT from the Gemini software site.
  • Unpack the distribution: tar -xvfz FILENAME.tar.gz
  • The distribution unpacks into a single directory named "ot__linux32" or "ot__linux64"
  • Make sure that the libgnome libraries are installed. These are needed to display file attachments. These can be installed with the following commands:
    Ubuntu/Debian: sudo apt-get install libgnome2-bin
    RedHat-based: sudo yum install libgnome
  • Run the OT. You can use the complete path to the startup script, as shown below (where the $ represents your shell prompt), or you can include that directory in your PATH.
    ${where_you_untarred}/ot__linux(32 or 64)/ot_

Sufficient memory appears to be the most important element affecting performance and, whilst the OT may run with less, we suggest a minimum of 2GB of memory and a Core 2 Duo or newer processor when using the Observing Tool.


Using and Installing the OT on Windows

The OT can be used on Windows Vista, 7, 8, 10, and Server 2008/2012. It has been tested on Windows 7 and 10, and we have no reason to believe there will be problems in other Windows versions as long as the Java included in our distribution is used.

You may encounter a font display problem in Windows 10 due to an issue with Windows/java font scaling. This does not affect functionality. A workaround is to change the scaling of text and apps to between 100% and 175%, depending on screen resolution.

Installation:

  • Download the current Windows distribution of the OT from the Gemini software site. The Windows distribution is provided as a Windows executable installer.
  • Use Windows Explorer to display the directory in which you downloaded the installer.
  • Double-click the installer executable. When the installation is completed, select "Close" to exit the installer.
  • The installation places a "Gemini\Observing Tool\Gemini OT " folder in your Start menu. Double-clicking Observing Tool from this menu launches the OT.

Sufficient memory appears to be the most important element affecting performance and, whilst the OT will run with less, we suggest a minimum of 2GB of memory and a Core 2 Duo or newer processor when using the OT on the Windows platform.


OT Release Notes

2020B

Version 2020B.1.1.1 released on June 2, 2020 includes the following updates:

  • PIs may update the addresses in the Investigator Email box.
  • PIs may change the priority of On Hold observations.
  • GNIRS XD mode now uses the "Average Parallactic" PA setting by default.
  • GeMS CWFS limiting magnitudes have been updated.
  • The default proprietary period for DD programs is now 6 months.
  • It is possible to set the note title with the ToO API.
  • A few small bugs have been fixed.

2020A

Version 2020A.1.1.3 released on March 2, 2020 includes the following updates:

  • Change the protocol for GAIA catalog searches from http to https.

Note, the Mac disk image installer ot_2020A.1.1.4_macos.dmg includes the same software as version 1.1.3. This installer was made so that it could be mounted on all supported Macs (10.8+), the 1.1.3 installer would only mount on High Sierra (10.13) and newer. There is no need to install 1.1.4 if you already have 1.1.3.

Version 2020A.1.1.1 released on December 3, 2019 includes the following updates:

  • Add Position Editor options to display montaged 2MASS images centered at the base position.
  • Change the "Parallactic Override" to behave like "Fixed PA".
  • Move the GSAOI base position to the center of the Canopus patrol field.
  • Update the GeMS CWFS limiting magnitudes.
  • Display all viable GeMS PWFS1 guide stars.
  • Ensure that all observations have a scheduling date.

2019B

Version 2019B.1.2.1 released on October 7, 2019 includes the following updates:

  • Update GeMS guide star visualization and selection algorithm for NGS2.
  • Add the GAIA catalog for GeMS guide star selection (also available to other WFS via the Manual Guide Star selector).

Version 2019B.1.1.3 released on August 7, 2019 includes the following updates:

  • Fix an issue where the time between the slew and acquisition was sometimes not charged (effective August 1).
  • Fix approved target and conditions phase-2 checks for non-sidereal targets.

Version 2019B.1.1.1 released on June 3, 2019 includes the following updates:

  • Add GSAOI re-acquisition overheads.
  • Set GNIRS smart flats based on the observing wavelength instead of grating wavelength.
  • Add support for Zorro templates.
  • Fix error when creating a duplicate program.
  • Update Flamingos-2 MOS templates.
  • Update NIFS template notes about guiding on extended objects with Altair.
  • Update GMOS templates, adding notes about blue arcs.
  • ITC changes:
    • Show GSAOI estimated FWHM even with uniform surface brightness sources.
    • Add cool star model SEDs.
    • Add planet SEDs.
    • Add warning when read noise limited.

2019A

Version 2019A.1.1.6 released on April 4, 2019 includes the following updates:

  • Updated with new Chilean daylight savings time rules.

Version 2019A.1.1.5 released on March 28, 2019 includes the following updates:

  • Fix a time accounting issue with AcqCam, GPI, Phoenix, and TEXES observations.

Version 2019A.1.1.4 released on March 11, 2019 includes the following updates:

  • Fix a bug which prevented changing the target "type" that was left out of 1.1.3.

Version 2019A.1.1.3 released on March 6, 2019 includes the following updates:

  • Add the option to set the static component exposure time using the URL triggering API.
  • Fix a bug with saving the GPI Wollaston angle in the XML file.
  • Fix the time accounting rule for visitor instruments.
  • Fix a bug with OT ITC interface which double-counted coadds when calculating final S/N

Version 2019A.1.1.2 released on December 18, 2018 includes the following updates:

  • Fix a bug which prevented changing the target "type"

Version 2019A.1.1.1 released on December 12, 2018 includes the following updates:

  • It is possible to set the scheduling time for multiple observations.
  • If desired, it is possible to receive an email reminder when timing windows expire.
  • Email reminders are sent to contact scientists if a MOS mask is not checked within seven days.
  • All guide star options are now shown on the Position Editor.
  • Guide star symbols now only indicate guide quality.
  • GeMS guide star limiting magnitudes have been updated.
  • DD and SV programs are now included with the Queue program selection in the Open Program dialog.
  • Guide stars are no longer required (though still recommended) when triggering ToOs using the URL API.
  • The maximum size of the local database has been doubled to 100MB.
  • The URL for the 2MASS image server has been updated.
  • Updates to Phase 2 templates
  • Make ITC plot colors the same for all instruments

2018B

Version 2018B.1.1.1 released on May 31, 2018 includes the following updates:

  • Support selecting multiple programs in the open dialog
  • Add button to "Revert Changes" since the last sync
  • Support deleting multiple programs from the local database
  • Prevent manual ToO triggers in Inactive programs
  • Support non-sidereal "A/" asteroid names
  • Update GNIRS Templates for 2018B
  • ITC changes:
    • Remove unnecessary WFS selection
    • Add support for summing GMOS IFU elements
    • Fix exposure time for GMOS Nod-and-Shuffle observations in OT interface
    • Automatically set GSAOI Strehl in the ITC web form
    • Clean up the ITC web forms
    • Relabel obsolete components in the ITC web forms
    • Fix NIRI filters in which require unnecessarily wide input SED
    • Fix failures with power-law input SED
    • Fix failure when user-supplied SED range is too large

2018A

Version 2018A.1.1.1 released on November 28, 2017 includes the following updates:

  • Introduced additional user-defined target types: "Blind offset", "Off-axis", and "Tuning Star"
  • Added overheads for GMOS component changes
  • Queue programs numbered according to science band: band-1: 101-199, band-2: 201-299, etc.
  • Added new GMOS OIV and OIV continuum filters
  • Sunset/rise and nautical twilight times are shown in the elevation plot
  • Guiding can be easily disabled by deleting the Auto guide star or setting Auto Guide Search to Off.
  • Updated the texts of status observation status change emails
  • Observation template updates
  • Bug fixes
  • ITC changes:
    • Added support for GNIRS spectroscopy with Altair
    • Added support for GMOS IFU-2 observations with the Hamamatsu detectors
    • Updated mirror reflectivity data
    • Display GMOS peak counts as fraction of saturation limit
    • Fix bug with redshifted emission lines
    • Fix bug with GNIRS XD 111 l/mm grating

2017B

Version 2017B.1.1.1 released on June 6, 2017 includes the following updates:

  • Generalize support email labels to be consistent with current procedures
  • Improve the 'Show' search box in the Program Editor to search for text anywhere in the program (entering an integer will still search for that observation id)
  • Support import of timing windows from an ASCII file
  • GMOS-N defaults to the Hamamatsu CCDs
  • Update GMOS-N + Hamamatsu exposure time phase-2 checks
  • Support the new FLAMINGOS-2 K-blue and K-red filters
  • Expand email notifications when observations change status
  • Infrared "Night Baseline" calibrations changed to start with flats and end with arcs
  • Add GMOS central wavelength check to the ITC
  • Fix bug which prevented using all image servers with Visitor instruments
  • Correct the GNIRS configuration displayed in the e-obslog
  • Correct the F2 R3K central wavelength displayed in the FITS header
  • Update GMOS-N R150 grating ID

2017A

Version 2017A.1.1.5 released on March 28, 2017 includes the following updates:

  • Change the JPL Horizons interface to use the https protocol

Version 2017A.1.1.2 released on December 7, 2016 includes the following updates:

  • The OT will automatically download and cache images for all observations in opened programs
  • Time constraints are now visible in the OT elevation plot
  • A new Position Angle "Parallactic override" mode has been added for when observers need to override a parallactic angle calculation
  • It is again possible to manually create CWFS guide star asterisms for GeMS/GSAOI
  • ODGW guide stars will no longer be selected automatically
  • Selecting catalog stars marked in the Position Editor will now pass all information (name, coordinates, magnitudes) into the Target component for all target types
  • Moving an instrument iterator will not change it, the static component configuration will change to match the first instrument iterator
  • Ephemeris data is now compressed to save space
  • Other bug fixes
  • ITC changes:
    • A bug in calculating the peak signal for GMOS-S with the Hamamatsu detectors has been fixed
    • The NIFS gain and linearity limits have been updated

2016B

Version 2016B.2.1.1 released on July 26, 2016 includes the following updates:

  • Fix the PPMXL catalog proper motion units
  • Add a PA mode option to GSAOI to allow setting the PA to something other than the AGS-preferred value
  • Fix the default duration of the average parallactic angle calculation
  • Retain the AGS state when switching between open programs to avoid unnecessary AGS searches
  • Give an error for nonsidereal targets without a scheduling block
  • Ensure that AGS does not change the PA when in "fixed" mode
  • Check that the GMOS DTA-X offset is a multiple of the y-pixel binning
  • Keep the Position Editor guide star "+" buttons active at all times
  • Fix the ITC spectroscopy 1-pixel signal to correctly account for slit width
  • Make the Simbad target name resolution more robust
  • Add an icon for the Linux version of the OT
  • Add a link to the OT installation page in the version incompatibility warning

Version 2016B.1.1.3 released on June 15, 2016 includes the following updates:

  • Fix the "Remote" checkbox in the Open dialog so that it works as expected for CAL and ENG programs
  • Fix non-sidereal target duplication to have identical ephemeris elements, preventing a false Phase 2 check warning
  • Change AGS searches to allow results from completed searches to display while other searches are still ongoing
  • Add a menu option for clearing ephemeris data from non-sidereal targets to reduce the size of the program

Version 2016B.1.1.2 was released on June 3, 2016 with the following updates:

  • Find all guide stars automatically
  • Add support for ephemerides
  • Automatically download ephemerides from JPL/HORIZONS
  • Migrate old orbital elements to single-element ephemerides
  • Sign OSX installers
  • Add support for new Altair 589nm notch dichroic
  • Change default proprietary period to 12 months
  • Update Flamingos-2 Templates
  • Allow GMOS-N + Altair + OIWFS guide star combinations
  • Visualize nonsidereal motion in the Position Editor
  • Add GPI example library
  • Update GSAOI guided offset overhead
  • Fix the display of F2 long slits
  • Update GeMS phase-2 checks to ignore daytime calibrations
  • Ignore negative parallaxes from Simbad
  • Improve feedback when the image catalog server returns an error
  • Fix OT error displaying a Base-Target distance of zero
  • Fix Position Editor color map and intensity options
  • Fix target name check
  • Fix error when closing the OT with multiple windows open
  • ITC changes:
    • The "Signal" graph is now for 1-pixel
    • Display spectroscopy peak counts in ADU, electrons, and % full-well
    • Give nonlinearity and saturation warnings for spectroscopy
    • Add support for GNIRS imaging
    • Support binning in the GMOS IFU-2 pixel-space graph
    • Give a warning when the GMOS IFU uses 4x spectral binning
    • Increase NIRI + Altair maximum guide star distance to 45"
    • Add Y-band to the brightness normalization options
    • Add IFU details to GMOS ITC web interface
    • Add links to the GMOS IFU-2 pixel-space graph data
    • Fix F2 optimal aperture with uniform surface brightness spectroscopy
    • Fix ITC K0III star SED
    • Discourage spatial binning with the GMOS IFU

2016A

Version 2016A.1.1.2 was released on December 2, 2015 with the following updates:

  • New sync algorithm transfers only nodes that differ
  • Support the new Gemini Observatory Archive (GOA)
  • New Catalog Query Tool which supports VOTables
  • AGS consideration of science field vignetting when selecting the F2 OIWFS guide star
  • Update Simbad name resolvers
  • Add source redshift parameter in target component
  • Indicate guide star "Quality" in the Position Editor
  • Add a "Cancel" button to the OT Browser search
  • Remove Pluto from the list of Solar System "Planets"
  • Enable the second Altair dichroic and update labels
  • Give an error when GMOS-S observations use the E2V CCDs
  • Add a phase-2 check for the GNIRS Decker
  • Remove the GMOS N&S slit Phase-2 warning when Custom Mask selected
  • Add F2 Custom Mask "Slit Width"
  • Update the list of Phoenix filters
  • Update GMOS-S gain & read noise
  • Activate AGS for Phoenix
  • Update the GMOS-S Hamamatsu CCDs DTA-X offset pixel scale
  • Fix errors in GPI unblocked modes
  • Update GeMS guide star limiting magnitudes
  • Update F2 gain, RN, linearity limit, and well depth
  • Obsolete the NIRI filters Jcont(1.065) and Jcont(1.122)
  • ITC changes:
    • Add support for GNIRS
    • Add support for NIFS
    • Support for GMOS IFU-2
    • Support different emission line flux units
    • Set the default number of GMOS IFU sky fibers
    • Support for user-defined SEDs
    • Support u' and Y filters as brightness normalizations
    • Show peak counts in ADU and full-well fraction
    • Support the F2 R3K grism
    • Support all IFU analysis methods
    • Remove unused sky aperture from IR instruments
    • Update Flamingos2 ITC filter transmission data

2015B

Version 2015B.1.1.1 was released on June 3, 2015 with the following updates:

  • Update to Java 8
  • Add support for local UCAC4 catalog servers
  • Consider vignetting of the science field when selecting the GMOS OIWFS guide star
  • Add morphology and SED parameters to the Target component
  • Add an interface to the ITC (Flamingos2, GMOS, GSAOI, NIRI)
  • Precess B1950 coordinates to J2000
  • Parse pre-2010B target brightness strings
  • Reorganize the target component
  • Add a scroll bar to the target table
  • Remove obsolete catalog and image servers
  • Add support for Flamingos2 K-long filter
  • Update NIFS phase-2 templates
  • Update GRACES phase-2 templates
  • Update GPI phase-2 templates
  • Only give warning about missing Altair Field Lens for off-axis targets
  • Improve precision of timing window periods from 1m to 1s
  • Fix bug requiring two clicks to close the timing window editor
  • Fix GMOS-S + Hamamatsu exposure time phase-2 check
  • Change GPI Halfwave plate configuration overhead from 30s to 5s
  • Change Visitor instrument setup time from 20m to 10m
  • Allow structured magnitude information in URL triggers

2015A

Version 2015A.1.1.2 was released on February 11, 2015 with the following updates:

  • Fix target name resolver
  • Fix error for missing ODGW star
  • Fix "User" target number mismatch
  • Fix missing guide star error for Visitor observations

Version 2015A.1.1.1 was released on December 10, 2014 with the following updates:

  • Template Reapply must not overwrite Custom Mask MDF names
  • Fix nonsidereal Solar System Object Horizons name resolution
  • GNIRS minimum exposure time phase-2 check must apply to all observation classes
  • Add phase-2 check for GMOS IFU spatial binning
  • Support e-offsetting in GMOS templates
  • Add guide star magnitude phase-2 checks
  • Give warnings when slower guiding will be required
  • Re-upload of auxiliary files must reset NGO check flag
  • Add "Remote" selection option to Open dialog and Browser
  • Save Position Editor preferences
  • Open dialog should only show programs editable with the active key
  • Update to Java 7
  • Add a phase-2 check for P-offsets in slit spectroscopy
  • Reinstate GPI UNBLOCKED modes
  • Update F2 exposure time phase-2 check to work with all classes
  • Updates for fast-turnaround programs
  • Add average parallactic angle support for GNIRS
  • Add average parallactic angle support for F2
  • Allow copy & paste of template groups
  • Fix GMOS-N Nod & Shuffle phase-2 check
  • Fix missing GNIRS minimum exposure time
  • Update the OT program name on Windows and MacOS
  • Add support for new GMOS-N R150 grating
  • Add support for Korea
  • Update GMOS-S Hamamatsu readout overheads
  • Change the MASCOT AGS default to Strasbourg
  • Change OT color scheme to improve readability
  • Update GPI Templates for 2015A
  • Update GMOS Templates for 2015A

2014B

Version 2014B.1.1.2 was released on June 16, 2014 with the following updates:

  • Fix template reapplication
  • Fix regeneration of MOS + pre-imaging templates
  • Fix GMOS exposure time validity check

Version 2014B.1.1.1 was released on June 4, 2014 with the following updates:

  • Add support for observing at the average parallactic angle
  • Add "Sync All" feature to the "File" menu and "Confirm Close" dialog
  • Add support for "Large" programs (LP)
  • Make the "Open Program" dialog columns sortable
  • Give every observation an "Observing Log" component to facilitate log auto-updates
  • Include a "DHS Write" overhead for all instruments
  • Replace pre-2012B Phase-I node with PDF proposal attachments
  • GMOS-S observations now default to the Hamamatsu CCDs
  • Add new Z and Y filters to GMOS-S
  • Check that MOS mask names are defined and have the correct format
  • Update GMOS custom ROI readout overheads
  • Transform GMOS nod & shuffle offsets between CCD manufacturers
  • Check for invalid fractional or zero-length GMOS exposure times
  • Default the Altair beamsplitter (and reset all old observations) to 850nm
  • Check that all Altair guided offsets are reachable
  • Check that offsets with LGS are all less than 5 arcminutes
  • Fix Linux and Windows keyboard shortcuts for reordering observations
  • Fix bug when editing the exposure time in FLAMINGOS-2 Sequence iterators
  • Fix the broken Partner search in the OT Browser

2014A

Version 2014A.1.2.10 was released on March 5, 2014 with the following updates:

  • Performance improvements, especially with large programs and using multiple science program editors 
  • Fixes a bug with saving OT browser queries

Version 2014A.1.2.5 was released on January 27, 2014. Changes from the previous version include:

  • Fix several memory leaks, this improves performance and reliability when working with large program.

Version 2014A.1.2.1 was released on December 9, 2013. This is a major update with many significant changes, including:

  • The use of passwords to access programs has been simplified by the use of authentication keys. These are requested once per OT and then they are saved until reset or the OT is upgraded. Old program passwords are still valid. There is a new type of user key based on email addresses that gives access to all programs that include a given address.
  • Fetch/Store has been replaced with a more robust sync mechanism. The old fetch/store and open program dialogs have been merged. Any conflicts resulting from simultaneous edits of program nodes can be resolved manually, recent work should not longer disappear if there is an edit conflict.
  • Program navigation has been changed and improved. Prev and Next buttons move to the previous and next programs in the list of programs loaded into the current Science Program editor. The Back and Forward buttons follow the navigation history of the visible program. 
  • The Observation Status (Phase 2, For Review, etc) has been split into a Phase 2 Status (Phase 2 to Prepared, and Inactive) and Exec Status (Ready to Observed).
  • The GN and GS report servers have been split. Therefore, the links to the queue, director's time, and poor-weather summary pages have been split.
  • Inactive observations are no longer included in the calculations of the planned time.
  • The GMOS-S guide star limiting magnitudes have been updated to reflect the measured performance. The limits are about 1 magnitude brighter than previously.
  • The prediction of the Strehl value for Canopus guide star configurations have been updated based on measured performance.
  • Canopus Strehl results now include the expectded FWHM based on measured performance for the conditions selected.
  • The default Canopus beamsplitter is now 0.85 um.
  • Template observations have been updated for GMOS-N/S, FLAMINGOS-2, GSAOI, and GNIRS.

2013B

Version 2013B.1.2.2 was released on September 13, 2013. Changes from the previous version include:

  • The FLAMINGOS-2 longslit acquisition overhead has been reduced to 20 minutes.
  • Internal changes so that the queue band can be put in the image headers.

Version 2013B.1.1.1 was released on June 5, 2013. Changes from the previous version include:

  • Add support for visitor instruments
  • Update OT splash screen for 2013B
  • Change phase-2 check warning for unapproved targets to an error
  • Add Flamingos 2 to the SmartGCAL system
  • Implement Template libraries and mapping for Flamingos 2
  • Add new Flamingos 2 Lyot wheel positions
  • Change "Notify PI" checkbox to default to TRUE
  • Update GNIRS Templates
  • Add Hamamatsu CCD option to GMOS-S
  • Fix OT bug to save dirty programs in OSX when clicking CMD+Q
  • Handle JDK 1.6 update 045 which breaks RMI
  • Update TEXES component
  • Add GPI "Extended Source" Parameter
  • Add GPI Static "Observing Modes" Parameter
  • Add "Lyot" Parameter to GPI Engineering component
  • Add GPI warning if target magnitude is I < 0
  • Add GPI maximum integration time check
  • Add GPI warning if Filter, Apodizer, FPM or Lyot are overridden
  • Add GPI check for half wave plate angle iterator + Wollaston

2013A

Version 2013A.2.1.1 was released on March 6, 2013. Changes from the previous version include:

  • The ability to open PDF and finding chart attachments directly from the OT.
  • Canopus CWFS patrol field updates.
  • GSAOI overhead updates.
  • Added the Lya395_G0342 filter to GMOS-S.
  • Fixed a bug in the non-sidereal calendar GUI that especially affected Australian timezones.
  • Explicitly set the XML character encoding in order to preserve Unicode characters.

Version 2013A.1.1.1 was released on December 6, 2012. Changes from the previous version include:

  • On hold ToO observations change to phase 2 when copied to another ToO program
  • Add semester menu and program type check-boxes to OT Fetch dialog for NGOs and staff
  • Fix NIRI J continuum 1.22um filter in OT skeletons
  • Prevent erasure of file attachments by store of other users
  • Separate SmartGCAL tables for test and release versions
  • Fix the OT 'Help' launcher in Ubuntu Linux
  • Update blueprint mapping/libraries for 2013A
  • Prevent deletion of template groups which have targets
  • Fix highlighting the active program in the Fetch/Store program list
  • Display the effective NIFS OIWFS field of view corrected for offsets
  • Add PA +/- 180 deg option to the F2 component
  • Prevent deletion of all OT Observing Logs
  • Apply GPI intensity parameter to IR/Visible and WhiteLight and update name
  • Allow multiple GPI artificial calibrations sources on at the same time
  • Update the 2013A OT splash screen
  • Fix internal ODB program ID parser bugs when loading from XML

2012B

Version 2012B.3.1.1 was released on August 31, 2012. Changes from the previous version include:

  • User catalogs may now be used for GeMS/GSAOI guide star asterism selections
  • Limiting magnitudes for manual guide star searches are adjusted for the conditions constraints just as for the automatic guide star selections
  • Template observations for GeMS/GSAOI can be created from 2013A proposal files.
  • The GNIRS H filter can be used for red camera acquisitions
  • Improved Phase 2 checks
  • Horizons non-sidereal name lookups are done every time that the coordinates are updated in order to ensure that the latest orbital elements are used
  • Added Gemini North and South DSS image server
  • Gemini staff may set an override on Phase 2 check warnings
  • Fixed a bug that prevented groups from being deleted
  • Fixed a bug that prevented automatically generated GCAL settings from displaying if the computer language was not English
  • Fixed bugs in the template observations logic and libraries. Current templates or observations are not changed but regenerated templates will be correct.

The 2012B OT was released on June 18, 2012. Changes from the previous version include:

  • Inclusion of new observation templates
    • Templates are filled in with the instrument resources selected in the Phase I proposal
    • Targets and conditions associated with a group of templates are viewed by clicking on the template group name
    • Acquisition and baseline calibration observation examples are included
    • Templates are 'Applied' to targets and conditions to create draft observations for execution
    • Template "groups" can be split so that different templates can be applied to different targets
    • Changes to templates can be "Reapplied" to existing observations as a way to easily make changes to many observations at once
    • Templates can be regenerated from the template server to get the latest templates or start from scratch
  • Automatic guide star selection for all instruments and wavefront sensors
    • "Auto GS" buttons will select a guide star for the default wavefront sensor
    • It is possible to select an alternative wavefront sensor using menus in the target component or Position Editor
    • Magnitude limits for the selection depend on the conditions constraints
  • Simplified guiding state options in offset iterators. Control of individual wavefront sensors is still available via the Advanced Guiding Options tab.
  • Support for the new LGS+PWFS1 mode in the Altair component
  • Custom ROI support for GMOS-N and GMOS-S
  • Added GNIRS YJK imaging filters to the GNIRS sequence iterator
  • Target brightness information stored as value:bandpass:system where sytem is Vega mag, AB mag, or Jy
  • Reduced memory usage and more rapid program launch
  • Updated Phase 2 checks
  • Relabel conditions bins to match the 2012B PIT
  • Fixed GNIRS OT visualization with Altair
  • Updated GNIRS acquisition times

2012A

Version 2012A.1.2.1 was released on February 15, 2012. Changes from the previous version include:

  • Fix Smart Calibration updates
  • Combine internal/external Fetch/Store options
  • Update the Canopus bottom-port orientation
  • Update the F2 OIWFS patrol field
  • Change GSAOI base position from detector 3 to detector 4
  • Update the CWFS patrol field limits
  • Add Fetch & Store password persistence
  • Fix F2 OIWFS arm orientation when zooming
  • Set the GeMS ADC default to 'Off'
  • Fix storing of Browser queries
  • Add the option to download 2MASS images in any band
  • Display the image source and band in the Position Editor
  • Show airmass and hour-angle constraints on the elevation plot
  • Add a phase-2 check for GMOS-N 3-amp mode
  • Scale Mascot Strehl results

Version 2012A.1.1.2 was release on December 15, 2011. Changes from the previous version are:

  • Flats now taken before arcs in the Nighttime/Daytime Baseline GCAL observe components to help minimize persistence in the GNIRS

OT Known Bugs

Known bugs (and workarounds, where possible) in the Observing Tool are described here. If you find a new problem, please submit the information via the Gemini HelpDesk and include any log messages. The most recent OT log file is called ot.0.0.log and is located in <home>/.ocs15/<version>/log (Windows, Linux) or <home>/Library/Logs/edu.gemini.ot (OSX).

Gemini DSS Images

  • WCS Shift
    There is a ~2.5' shift in the WCS of Gemini DSS images with 19:18:38 < RA < 19:36:21 and 40:08:22 < Dec < 41:17:28. This may make it appear that the catalog coordinates are incorrect, but it does not affect the selection of guide stars. One may select a different image source, e.g. "DSS ESO (II)" or any band of 2MASS to download an image with a correct WCS.

August 2017 (2017B.1.1.1)

  • Windows 10 font display
    You may encounter a display problem in Window 10 in which the fonts in adjacent table rows overlap. This is due to an issue with Windows/java font scaling but this does not affect functionality. A workaround is to change the scaling of text and apps to between 100% and 175%, depending on screen resolution.

December 2016 (2017A.1.1.2)

  • Denied permission to sync
    If you get an error about not having permission to sync, check that the key that you are using is appropriate for the program being edited and then sync again. Occasionally the error will appear even when the key is correct. Sync again to resolve. FIXED in OT 2017A.1.1.5.
  • Cannot select Science Database for key
    If you cannot select a Science Database in the Request a Key dialog, then click Cancel, open the Options tab in the Keychain Manager, and click Reset Keychain. All keys will then have to be re-requested.
  • Failure to download non-sidereal target information
    The JPL Horizons service changed from http to https on 2017-Mar-21. Version 2017A.1.1.2 of the OT uses http and is therefore incompatible. FIXED in OT 2017A.1.1.5.

June 2016 (2016B.1.1.2)
There are no known significant bugs in this release.

December 2015 (2016A.1.1.2)

  • IFU-2 ITC plot does not display X binning correctly
    The new two-slit GMOS IFU-2 ITC pixel-space plot does not display correctly if the binning in X is greater than 1. FIXED in 2016B.1.1.2.
  • Startup screen fails to appear
    There have been a few reports of the 2015B and 2016A OT failing to start properly. The symptom is that the OT hangs and the startup screen never appears. The only known solution is to delete the keychain file:
        Linux: ~/.gemini/bundle/edu.gemini.util.trpc/keychain.ser
        Mac: ~/Library/Application\ Support/Gemini/bundle/edu.gemini.util.trpc/keychain.ser
        Windows: \Users\USER\AppData\Roaming\Gemini\bundle\edu.gemini.util.trpc\keychain.ser
    and restart the OT. The startup screen should appear as normal, and you must then use the keychain manager to request new keys.
  • ITC GMOS IFU-2 pixel graph zoom bug
    The zoom in/out feature on the GMOS IFU-2 pixel-space graph is not working correctly. Zooming in by using the mouse to draw a box in the graph works fine, but after zooming back out the upper wavelength axes will have limits of 0-1.
  • F2 longslits drawn incorrectly in the TPE
    The FLAMINGOS-2 longslits are currently drawn incorrectly in the TPE. The slits are shown symmetrical about the base position but they actually extend further in the -q direction. They should appear as in the image below. FIXED in 2016B.1.1.2.
    F2 long slit display

July 2015 (2015B.1.1.1)
Proper motions set to zero by target lookup queries
In the 2015A OT the target lookup queries in the OT began using the Simbad server at ESO instead of the decommisioned server at CADC. The ESO server does not return proper motions and all proper motions will be set to zero by the coordinate query. Proper motions for fast-moving targets will need to be entered manually. FIXED in version 2016A.1.1.2.

Simbad Coordinates incorrect for Dec > 0 and RA < 00:40:00
There is currently a bug in the ESO Simbad server that the OT uses for target coordinate lookup. The returned coordinates are incorrect for Dec > 0 and RA < 00:40:00. For 0 < Dec < +10 no results are returned while for Dec > +10 the declinations get truncated, eg. +15:25:15 becomes +5:25:15. ESO has been informed of the problem. The only solution for now is to use other sources for coordinates (the CDS and Harvard Simbad sites return correct results) and to manually enter the coordinates in the OT. We are planning to have the OT use alternative Simbad mirrors in the future. FIXED in version 2016A.1.1.2.

January 2015
Target Name Resolvers:
The "SIMBAD@CADC" target name resolution service used to search by target name and return RA, Dec coordinates, is currently offline due to a hardware failure at CADC. Unfortunately the SIMBAD@ESO and NED searches are also not working at this time. FIXED in version 2015A.1.1.2.

December 2014
2015A.1.1.1:

  • When attempting to access the ODB with an old version of the OT there should be an error message stating that the old version is incompatible. This is not happening. The 2014B OT allows you to click on the "Open" dialog, etc. and doesn’t complain that you need to update your OT. Instead it indicates that there is a network issue (red symbol in the upper right). FIXED in version 2015B.1.1.1.
  • Java version 1.7 has a known unresolved network issue on the Mac if a hostname does not include a domain name, resulting in slow start times for the application and network connection problems in general. See this page for a workaround. FIXED in version 2015B.1.1.1.

9 December 2013
2014A.1.2.1:

  • The OT launches more slowly than the previous version and the time increases with the size of the local database. Therefore, we recommend that the local database be kept as small as possible.
  • There is a problem with editing the exposure time in the first step of a FLAMINGOS-2 Sequence Iterator. If the first digit of the exposure time is a 1 then the value will become 1.5 and it will be difficult to edit. In this case, place the cursor within the number, say next to the decimal point, and then type the desired time. Finally, delete the undesired digits. If the desired exposure time does not begin with a 1, then triple-click to highlight the entire number and then type the desired value. 
  • If you open the OT Browser and then click the Catalog button from the Position Editor, then the Catalog Navigator Window will still look like the OT Browser. The workaround is to restart the OT and then open the Catalog Navigator from the Position Editor first.

31 August 2012
2012B.3.1.1:
When doing manual guide star searches some catalogs do not respect the inner radius or the magnitude limits. Some search radii are also listed in reverse (i.e. min > max).

4 December 2009
Known bugs in 2010A.1.1.2:

  • In the Windows version clicking on the Erase button in the Position Editor causes the OT to hang. Delete guide stars using the Target Component in the Program Editor
  • In Repeat and Observe components the repeat (X) entry box does not properly save number that are typed in the box. Use the up and down arrow buttons to change the number of repeats. Or, type a number in the box and then click the up arrow, then the down arrow.

24 September 2009
GMOS and Michelle component bugs in 2009B.1.1.3:

  • There is a bug related to the GMOS nod-and-shuffle tab that can prevent a program from being exported to XML. This is fixed in OT 2009B.2.1.1, unfortunately, this bug can appear during the update process. If it occurs there is a way to recover as long as you don't delete anything in the directory ~/.jsky/spdb. If you have a problem with a program then please submit a HelpDesk ticket and we will assist you.
  • In echelle and medN modes, an entered central wavelength in the Michelle static component will often revert to the default of 10.5 microns. One way to help insure that the correct wavelength is used, even if the value in the static component appears wrong, is to add a Michelle instrument iterator to the top of the sequence and add a line with the central wavelength. All observers should be place underneath this iterator. This problem is fixed in the 2009B.2.1.1 version of the OT.
  • The observing wavelength does not reset in multiple passes through a Michelle instrument iterator in which the filter is changing.The work-around is to add the Disperser (set to Mirror) to the Michelle iterator.

05 February 2007
Avispa 2.1 fetch attachment bug:
On Solaris and certain Linux flavors (e.g. Fedora) there is a problem with the feature to fetch attachments. The files will appear to download but the files will not appear in the selected directory.  The problem is related to operating system restrictions on renaming files across file systems (disk partitions).  The easiest work around is to save all attachments to the /tmp directory and then manually move them to the desired location.  The problem was fixed in the 2007B OT.

23 June 2006
Abeja 3.3 GNIRS and GMOS-S bugs:
In the GNIRS static component the number of coadds cannot be saved in the static component, the coadds must be set in a GNIRS sequence iterator. Also, changes to the PA in the static component cannot be saved. The PA can be changed by dragging the slit or IFU field in the Position Editor.  For GMOS-S, the visualization of the IFU nod& shuffle focal plain units in the Position Editor is incorrect and the planned time does not appropriately account for the binning. All of these problems are fixed in Abeja version 3.5 released 30 June 2005.

29 June 2005
Palote 3.1 not compatible with Fedora Core 4 Linux distribution:
We have discovered that the Sun JRE included with the Palote_3.1 Linux distribution is not compatible with the Fedora Core 4 Linux distribution. The symptom is that the fetch/store fails immediately with a stack trace starting as follows:

ERROR [SwingWorker] 2005-06-28 18:16:28,748:  edu.gemini.oodb.OodbClientBase - Connection problemjava.net.SocketException: Invalid argument or cannot assign requested  address

with several more lines. This is a known problem with the Fedora Core 4 people. The FC4 installation notes suggest that users upgrade their JRE to the latest 1.5_04 distribution from Sun at http://java.sun.com.We've tested this and confirmed that it fixes the fetch/store problem. After additional testing, we will make a special FC4 version available on the Gemini FTP site.

9 January 2005
RA values considered to have units of hr:
The units for RA are assumed to be hr (hours). Values greater than 24 are 'unwrapped' e.g. 243.7, intended to be in degrees, is interpreted as 10 revolutions plus 3.7hr and is converted to an 'RA' of 3h 42m.

10 Dec 2004 - fixed in public re-release
Sequence not copied when modified observation merged:
After fetching a program and modifying observation sequences, the changes are not correctly integrated when the program is stored to the Observing Database.This only affects Grillo-01.6, which was the initial public release available for about 12hr overnight on 9 December, and is fixed in subsequent releases.

4 Feb 2003 - fixed in river-10 internal release
Offset sequences not preserved when copies are made:
This occurs when an offset iterator is copied from one observation to another and then one of them is edited. The problem is that a new copy of the list is not being made; it is being shared between the copies. This bug also manifests as the apparent 'disappearance' of offset and nod-and-shuffle steps when exporting and re-importing saved (XML file) copies of the science program.

20 January 2003 - fixed in river-10 internal release
Image quality observing condition not loaded correctly:
From semester 2003A, the previous image quality observing conditions (20%, 50%,80% and "any") were changed to (20%, 70%, 85% and "any"). Some science program or Phase I proposal created with OT or PIT from 2002B or earlier and imported into later versions of OT are not correctly translated,e.g. 80% is interpreted as "any". The image quality observing conditions should be checked and changed manually.

11 July 2002 - fixed in OT river release of January 2003
Offset iterator steps are defined in wrong axis for rectangular grid:

  • In the telescope offset iterator, a rectangular grid of steps can be created using the grid pattern tab. The number of steps specified in the paxis (the upper button) incorrectly produces that number of steps in the qaxis (and vice versa). This can be seen by inspecting the iteration table or visually by viewing the offsets in the position editor. The initial offsetand spacing parameters are handled correctly.
  • The pop-up tip (when the cursor is held over the step boxes) incorrectly labels them as RA and dec. The relation between the [p,q] coordinate system and (RA, dec) depends on the defined position angle on the sky.

17 April 2002 - fixed in OT limberlost release of 10 July 2002
GMOS OIWFS does not correspond to current hardware configuration:
As it has an asymmetric configuration relative to the optical axis, the GMOS on-instrument wavefront sensor's patrol field will change when the instrument is mounted on the up-looking and any side-looking port. (The effective patrol fieldis flipped about the x-axis by reflection in the science fold mirror). Thus although the same guide star may in principle be used regardless of port, the instrument may need to be rotated to acquire that star and the OIWFS probe arm will vignette a different part of the field.

The current public OT release (OT2002A.11) assumes that GMOS is on the up-looking port; in fact the instrument is now mounted on a side-looking port.PIs should continue to define their programs using the public OT; their Gemini Contact Scientist will notify them of any problems.

5 February 2002 - fixed in OT river release of January 2003 (use the Position Editor...Catalog...Proxy Server menu)
Guide star catalogue or digital sky survey searches fail because user machine is behind proxy server:
If the user's computer connects to the outside world via an HTTP proxy server then PIT catalogue assistant searches, PIT proposal submission (UK, Canada and Australia)and OT guide star or image searches will fail, often with the error exception occurred while retrieving the data:java.net.ConnectException: Connection refused. This problem arises because PIT and OT currently do not support sites with an HTTP proxy(support is being added for the next public releases of PIT and OT).

There is a workaround for those using PIT and OT under Solaris or Linux operating systems. (If you are using Windows, please contact us as there may also be a solution). The Java Virtual Machine (JVM) on Solaris and Linux allows setting two system properties at runtime to indicate that HTTP access should go through an HTTP proxy server.

The two system properties are:

  • http.proxyHost -> The host name of the proxy machine
  • http.proxyPort -> The port used by the proxy host

By setting the site specific values for these two properties before starting PIT and OT, the access for posting the proposal and gathering WFS stars will go through the indicated proxy. You may find the name of  your proxy by looking in your web browser preferences.

A modified command for starting PIT would look like thefollowing (where the -D allows setting the system property on the command line):

exec java ${JFLAGS} -Dhttp.proxyHost="proxy host" -Dhttp.proxyPort="port" edu.gemini.phase1.tool.app.PIT

23 October 2001 - only an issue for semester 2001B
Bugs in Phase I - to - Phase II skeleton conversion.In the translation of approved Phase I proposals to the XML skeletons for PhaseII several errors were introduced:

  • In some Science Programs no instrument component (NIRI or GMOS) was included in each observation, in others the instrument was included but with default parameters. In both cases the PIs should define the instrument configuration required for their observations.
  • The observing condition constraints often were incorrectly transcribed. The observing conditions included within the Phase I proposal summary element of the Phase II XML file are correct, but the conditions within each observation are wrong. PIs should check and, if necessary, correct the observation conditions. 

3 May 2001
In (first) public release OT1.0.0

  • Help-page tutorials are those from old OT
  • When WFS tags are deleted in the position editor they are correctly deleted from the (target component) target list but not from the offset iterator table


OT FAQ & FMM

Frequently asked questions regarding Phase II science program preparation and the Gemini Observing Tool are discussed here. (See also the known bugs page for other known problems).

All questions should be submitted using the Gemini HelpDesk. This web-based system will send the request to your National Gemini Office staff in the first instance who will then provide you with the answer or escalate it to Gemini staff if necessary.

Caution:Please read the special instructions regarding completion of your PhaseII Science Program including those specific to the current/upcoming semester and where to go for help. Follow the link in the contents list for details.

Q: Why aren't my programs appearing in the list in the Open Program dialog?

A: Check the active key in the Key Manager. Be sure that you are using the key for the site where your program is stored.

Q: My program appears in the program list but it is greyed out. How to I download it?

A: Programs listed using a grey font in the Open Program dialog are available in the database but have not been downloaded yet. Double-click on the row for the program or highlight the line with a single click and then press the "Open" button.

Q: Are there any keyboard shortcuts?

A: Yes. The most useful are given below. Keyboard shortcuts are given in the main menus of the science program editor.

  • Cmd/Ctrl-s (sync)
  • Cmd/Ctrl-w (close current program)
  • Cmd/Ctrl-shift-w (close current science program editor window)

Q: How do I delete a locally stored program, or revert to the version in the Observing Database?

A:  Bring up the Open Progam dialog, select a local program, and then click Delete. You will be prompted for confirmation. Note that the Delete button is only active when a program in the local database (shown in dark font) is highlighted. Once the local program is deleted you can download the version that is in the Observing Database.

Q: Where are the targes and conditions for my 2012B and newer program?

A: Targets and conditions are associated with the instrument resources requested at Phase I. Phase I targets, conditions, and total times for a template group are viewed by clicking on the template group names.

Q: If I significantly change my instrument configuration in the templates, will the calibrations be automatically generated when I select Apply/Reapply?

A: Not at this time. This is a long-term goal but it is not possible to implement now. All configuration changes to the template observations must also be applied manually to any baseline calibration observations. An easy way to do this is to copy a component (instrument, conditions, sequence nodes),  shift/cntl(command) click all the observations or sequence nodes where the component should go, and then click Paste. This will paste the contents of the copy buffer into all selected observations/sequences.

Q: Are there any example observations to help me get started with my Phase II?

A: Yes, there is an OT library for each instrument that you can fetch. Each contains example observations and common configurations. Starting with the 2008A OT there are special Library Fetch features for quickly fetching and updating the needed libraries. 

Q: Why is the OT so slow?

A: Some delays are caused by the time required for the OT to communicate with the Observing Database.  Being on a slower network will obviously cause longer pauses. In general the OT runs quickly on modern hardware with sufficient memory. A Core 2 Duo or equivalent CPU with 2GB of memory is the recommended minimum configuration. However, since the OT has a complicated GUI it does not work well if it is run on a remote machine and displayed locally. It is usually best to run the OT on the local machine.

Q: I copy/pasted a GNIRS component from an acquisition observation to a science observation and the automatic baseline calibrations changed. What happened?

A: Copy/pasting a GNIRS static component also copies the setting for the acquisition mirror (see the first step of the first GNIRS iterator in an acquisition observation). If you copy/paste from an acquisition observation into a science observation, then you need to set the acquisition mirror to "out" in the first GNIRS iterator in the science observation. Conversely, make sure that the acquisition mirror is "in" in the first step of acquisition observations.


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 Florian Nussberger, Devin Dawson, Larry O'Brien, Nicolas Barriga, Alan Brighton, Vasudeva Upadhya, Darrell Denlinger, Kim Gillies, and Phil Puxley.