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End of GRACES schedule block reports

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Nov 9 - 20, 2017

Five of the 12 nights of this run were completely lost to weather - due to either high winds or precipitation. All 4 of the KASI overlap nights were lost to high winds. Therefore, their high priority Band 1 program could not be executed. In addition, 2 further nights had weather conditions too poor for any of the GRACES programs. The three Band 3 GRACES programs requested similar conditions (IQ85/CC7) as a couple higher priority Band 2 programs so were never executed. Overall we completed 9.7 hrs of Band 1 and 2 programs. One Band 1 program was completed and good progress was made on one Band 2 program. Besides the effect of weather, the low completion rate can be traced to a number of high priority non-GRACES queue programs that were time critical during this period, a high priority Band 1 GRACES program that required the best possible conditions (not experienced during this run), and to the fact that one high priority Band 1 program (and an associated Band 2 program) were the only ones that used 1-fiber mode. We change the fiber mode no more than once in a night to ensure that we can get calibrations in each fiber mode close in time to the science (and only 1 set of calibrations can be taken in the morning and afternoons due to time constraints), so once the fiber mode was changed for that program, no others could be observed. This only affected the very end of the night. We had one instance of an observer taking data in the wrong fiber mode leading to about a half hour of time loss. There were no other issues or faults and GRACES ran flawlessly.

Science highlights:
  • Stability and precision of GRACES in terms of exoplanet studies
  • Structure of the ISM

Total time spent on GRACES programs:
Band 1/2 = 9.7h
All bands = 9.7h
Time loss due to faults: 0.55h

Spectral mode used: Both 1- and 2-fiber modes.



Sept 12 -25, 2017

This GRACES run occurred during mostly good to excellent weather conditions with several nights of IQ20 conditions. During the run, we completed one Band 1, one Band 2, and a half-night classical program, and made good progress on several others including one that required the best possible conditions (IQ20/WV50/CC50). Overall, we observed 36.4 hrs of Band 1 and 2 programs. A number of the 17B GRACES programs were not accessible during this run. We encountered a connection dropped fault on one night of the run, which led to a small amount of time loss, but otherwise GRACES ran flawlessly.

Science highlights:
  • Exo-planets (chemical abundance) and brown dwarfs
  • Star formation in clusters
  • Structure of the ISM

Total time spent on GRACES programs:
Band 1/2 = 36.4h
All bands = 36.4h
Time loss due to faults: 0.5h

Spectral mode used: Both 1- and 2-fiber modes.



June 7 - 18, 2017

This run started with some engineering work to find the GRACES hot spot on the new Hamamatsu GMOS detectors, which are used during the acquisition to center the targets in the fiber. This took a few hours in cirrus conditions and a final check on a photometric night to identify the optimal location within about a pixel.

The GRACES run went well. We completed two of three Band 1 programs, one of two Band 2 programs, and one of three Band 3 programs. The incomplete Band 1 program was a classical KASI run program which managed to reach 66% completion despite poor weather during the 3 night KASI-GRACES overlap period. The incomplete Band 2 program reached 84% completion. Overall we completed 88% of the Band 1-2 observations and observed another 9 hrs of Band 3 programs. There was one fault which incurred 38min timeloss. This was due to a bug in our S/W which was issuing a start exposure command before a focus change had been completed. This has been fixed.

During this run, we implemented a change to our focus procedure. We had previously found a tight relation between the camera temperature and focus and now use this during the night to adjust the focus. At the start of each new sequence, the S/W will check the temperature, calculate the focus, determine if a focus change is necessary, and if so, apply the new focus. We will continue to do a full focus run in the afternoon ahead of each night, but we will not take full focus sequences during night any longer. We are also now receiving 2 Amp data from Espadons so are in the process of modifying our quicklook and full data reduction S/W to handle this change.

Science highlights:
  • Binary stars (symbiotic stars, merger candidates, central stars of PN)
  • Exo-planets (atmospheres, chemical abundance of hosts, white dwarf surface composition to study planetary material)
  • Quasars (outflows)

Total time spent on GRACES programs:
Band 1/2 = 23.9h
All bands = 33.0h
Time loss due to faults: 0.63h

Spectral mode used: Both 1 and 2-fiber.



December 23 - January 3, 2017

Over the 12 night run, GRACES was used on all but 2 nights during which the observatory was closed for weather. Conditions during most nights of the run were generally good with CC70 and IQ85 or better. However, the weather preceding this run had been terrible with the observatory closed for about 3 weeks, putting a lot of pressure on the Band 1 queue. Therefore during this GRACES run, the single remaining Band 1 program was prioritized. Band 2 GRACES programs were executed as they fit amongst the Band 1 regular queue. We were able to make progress on the Band 1 program and completed another two Band 2 programs. Overall we observed 28.4 hrs of Bands 1 and 2 and 29.0 hrs total. We had only a single fault during this run: a problem with the GRACES connection, but this was likely a residual from an earlier power outage. Since this occurred at the end of the night after all GRACES science was taken, no time was lost.

Science highlights:
  • Exo-planets (chemical abundances in the atmospheres of the planet, timescales of planet formation)
  • Spectroscopic binary stars (central stars of planetary nebulae)
  • Stellar abundances

Total time spent on GRACES programs:
Band 1/2 = 28.4h
All bands = 29.0h
Time loss due to faults: 0.0h

Spectral mode used: Both 1 and 2-fiber.



November 19-29, 2016

The entire 11 night run was plagued with cloudy conditions, ranging from thin cirrus to thick clouds. However, we were able to use GRACES on all but one night, thanks in part to several programs that could tolerate thick clouds. We were able to complete three Band 1 programs and made some progress on another eight Band 1-3 programs. Overall, we observed 22.3 hrs of Bands 1-2 and 31.7 hrs of Band 3 programs.

Science highlights:
  • Transiting Exo-planets (chemical abundances in the atmospheres of the planet, 2 programs!)
  • Spectroscopic binary stars (central stars of planetary nebulae and FS CMa stars)
  • Stellar structures and distinct stellar populations

Total time spent on GRACES programs:
Band 1/2 = 22.3h
All bands = 54.0h
Time loss due to faults: 0.75h

Spectral mode used: Both 1 and 2-fiber.



August 30 - September 12, 2016

The start of run changed from the original schedule due to a drive shaft bearing failure in the Gemini dome shutter. This resulted in Gemini entering an unplanned shutdown which ended on August 29th. As a result, the GRACES run started on August 30th. Unfortunately, this was a period of bad weather on the summit and no GRACES data was taken until September 7th.

Some minor changes were made to the observing scripts to improve ease of use including automating the changes needed to switch between 1 and 2 fiber modes. In addition, data are now uploaded to the Gemini data archive the mornings after the observations are taken.

Science highlights:
  • Exo-planets (chemical abundances of host star)
  • Stellar evolution (planetary nebulae, abundances, binarity)
  • Evolution of galaxies (chemical evolution, stellar streams)

Total time spent on GRACES programs:
Band 1/2 = 20.6h
All bands = 29.6h
Time loss due to faults: 0.0h

However, we did have one instance of data being taken in one-fiber mode rather than the requested two-fiber mode.

Spectral mode used: Both 1 and 2-fiber.



May 31 - June 7, 2016

The entire run consisted of good to excellent weather with several nights of IQ20 conditions. During the run, we reach 100% completion of all Band 1 and Band 2 programs, including two Band 1 fast turnaround programs. An additional 13.24 hours of band 3 programs were observed.

We implemented several features to the observing scripts to improve ease of use including automatically assigning the OBSID and OBSTYPE to the files which has eliminated some of the mistakes that we had with filenames during the last few runs. We also modified the observing scripts to automatically restart the connection for exposures longer than the 30 minute timeout.

Science highlights:
  • Exo-planets (hosted by compact binary, chemical abundance)
  • Stellar evolution (supernova abundance, planetary nebulae, white dwarf)
  • Evolution of galaxies (chemical evolution)

Total time spent on GRACES programs:
Band 1/2 =  20.36h 
All bands = 33.6h
Time loss due to faults: 0.0h

Spectral mode used1-fiber, except for one 2-fiber mode FT program.



March 29 - April 7, 2016

The first night was lost due to high winds at the summit, but the remaining nights encountered good to excellent weather and a good number of observations were taken. This run included 4 nights of Korean time, when all the GRACES Korean programs were observed and completed.
The time loss due to faults was small. All the faults led to follow-up actions. Also, the observing procedure was yet again simplified to prevent typos in the UT date and the program ID.


Science highlights:
  • Exo-planets (radial velocity, chemical abundance of the host star)
  • Stellar evolution (pair-instability supernova, planetary nebulae)
  • Galactic archeology with metal-poor stars
  • Evolution of galaxies (circumgalactic medium, chemical evolution)

Total time spent on GRACES programs:
  Band 1/2 =  52.06h 
  All bands = 58.01h
Time loss due to faults: 0.2h

Spectral mode used: 1-fiber mode only from March 29 to Apr 4, then 2-fiber mode only during the Korean time.



February 3 - 9, 2016

Generally good weather, except for some fog during one of the nights. The GRACES programs had to share the time with high priority non-GRACES programs. Of course, Band 1 and 2 GRACES programs were favorized. 
The time loss due to faults was small, and mostly procedural. The observing command was simplified to lower the number of inputs. More information is now fetched automatically in the system by the control scripts.


Science highlights:
  • Exo-planets (formation, chemical abundance of the host star)
  • Stellar evolution (planetary nebulae)
  • Quasar (outflow)
  • Evolution of galaxies (chemical evolution)

Total time spent on GRACES programs:
  Band 1/2 =  21.30h 
  All bands = 26.14h
Time loss due to faults: 0.3h

Spectral mode used: 1-fiber mode only.



Template:

Month day - day, year

Brief summary of the run.
Brief summary of faults and upgrades.


Science highlights:

Total time spent on GRACES programs:
Band 1/2 = xxh
All bands = xxh
Time loss due to faults: xxh

Spectral mode used: 1-fiber and/or 2-fiber mode.