Due to the smaller number of scientific staff available to support telescope operations, CTIO has streamlined its support of visiting observers on their observing runs.
The first line of support is the Observer Support crew on Cerro Tololo: Mauricio Rojas (mrojasATctio.noao.edu) and Hernan Tirado (htiradoATctio.noao.edu). They will be responsible for introducing the observer to the instrument and monitoring progress of the run. Observer support should also be the first to consult in the event of problems or questions.
Support Scientists are assigned to instruments as follows:
|ISPI||Nicole van der Bliek||nvdbliekATctio.noao.edu|
Visitors are encouraged to contact the support scientist for their instrument if they have special concerns about its operations or observing practices. Any anticipated issues should be mentioned in the run preparation form, filled out well in advance of the run. The support scientists will monitor these forms for issues that might require their attention.
Depending on the complexity of the instrument and the prior experience of the visiting observer, the support scientist may assist with the startup at the beginning of the night. First night assistance by the support scientist should be arranged before the run. Otherwise, the support scientist will be available on an on-demand basis and should be contacted by the visiting observer as needed.
Staff scientists who have responsibities for particular Blanco instruments are listed above. They can be consulted for general questions about the CTIO facilities (eg when preparing an observing proposal), however after a proposal is scheduled your first choice of contact should be the staff contact. If need be the latter will pass your question on to the relevant scientific or technical expert.
Some members of our La Serena Engineering and Technical Services (ETS) division are experts in sub-systems that observers will meet on Tololo. Here is a short list.
The Telescopes Operations Division (TELOPS) is responsible for operating and maintaining the telescopes on Cerro Tololo and SOAR on Cerro Pachon. TELOPS is divided into three sections, these are the Observing Support section which is responsible for introducing observers to their telescope and instrument, and for operating the telescopes at night time. This team is backed up by the Telescope Mechanics and Telescope Electronics sections.
Specific members of the Electronics Section are appointed to be responsible for various instruments and systems. Although they will not always be on Tololo when the instrument is scheduled, they are often present for installation and engineering runs, and are familar with the instrument status, spares situation, and documentation.
Observer Support includes the telescope operators who are conversant with procedures in general, and remove the need for the observer to be familar with details of operating the telescope, guiders, etc. (except at the Schmidt!) If there is an instrument or telescope problem the night assistant will call the relevant people to assist. On the 4-m this call-out can occur at any time of the night, but on the smaller telescopes there is a middle-of-the-night cut-off. Almost all problems can be fixed by the Tololo support team (some take longer than others...), at times in consultation with specialists based in La Serena. Remember, if there is a telescope or instrument failure at the Blanco telescope lasting more than one hour it is mandatory to call the Support Scientist mentioned above (no matter what the time of night). It is the TELESCOPE OPERATOR'S responsibility to make this call.
by Alistair Walker