NOIRLab Transition and SOAR Interfaces

Updated May 14 for changed end-date for

As most SOAR users are aware, SOAR is now part of a new organization – the NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory (NOIRLab) – which integrates NOAO, Gemini, Rubin operations and other NSF-supported programs. As part of the transition, the domain is disappearing, and being replaced by the domainImportant - although this end-date was originally set for June 2, an extension until December 2 has been negotiated. There are several consequences to this domain name change that affect SOAR users.

  • E-mail addresses will change
  • The URLs of the SOAR web pages will change, as will all other NOAO web pages.
  • URLs for observing connections will change

Details are described below. This article will be updated as appropriate over the next few weeks. Additional information is or will become available on the NOIRLab website, which should be consulted for anything not related directly to SOAR.

E-mail. The new e-mail system has already been set up, and will function together with the old system until the beginning of December. The user names in the new system are generally of the form “firstname.lastname” whereas the old system mostly used “firstinitiallastname”. E-mail sent to either system will end up in the same place for each user, until the old system ceases to exist.

Hence if you are used to e-mailing your colleague Random Astronomer at "", now they will be "". An online directory may become available at the website to help you figure out whether someone's e-mail name is (for example) Ed, Ted, or Edward; you can also consult the contact page on the SOAR website. (The new contact information is listed already.)

Additionally, most aliases have migrated, but have been re-named; the transformation isn’t always obvious. A moderately complete list will also be provided on the contacts page before June 2. Both the individual contacts and aliases work now, so feel free to modify address books.

New SOAR web pages. All useful information is being migrated to the website, and the pages will retain their content, look and feel. The migration is now expected be complete before the end of July, at which point you should be able to get to SOAR by going to and drilling down from the “program” tab through CTIO to SOAR. It should then be possible to bookmark the SOAR home page or any other page you want to access directly in future. Note that at present this exercise will bring you back to the current SOAR website.

The overlap period will be shorter than for e-mail, but any pages that fail to migrate can be recovered if their absence is discovered and reported in a timely fashion.

In principle, will redirect correctly, but there could be a period of a day or so after the website transition where it won’t.

URLs for observing. Observers will find that, once they connect through the firewall by VPN, all the current computer URLs will continue to work, because the local DNS server will still remember them. Your initial connection to the VPN gateway should use its IP address in any case (and that will not change). To make the transition as smooth as possible, try to use IP addresses ( for all your connections as these will not change.

At some time in the future the VPN gateway itself will likely be different, but that change is not in the immediate future.