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Observing Tool FAQ

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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.

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