Queued Service Observations

Table of Content

Current News and Events Pre-semester information During Observations Post Observations Information
News (Phase1 and PH2) QSO Observations Reduction
2014A Instruments Night Reports DADS
TOO Phase 1 Statistics Proprietary time
Contact PH2 TOO Archived information

Current News and Events [ Return to top ]

News

Phase 1 for semester 2015A will likely open around the 3rd week of September.

The first version of the 2014B schedule is ready. Note that the shutdown is scheduled for early August, and that depending on how the re-aluminizing goes, the ESPaDOnS run could start earlier or later. Also note that depending on the arrival of Sitelle, the schedule is also subject to change.

The list of accepted programs for 2014B is available for all instruments: MegaCam, WIRCam, and ESPaDOnS.

The list of accepted programs for 2014A is available for all instruments: MegaCam, WIRCam, and ESPaDOnS.

You may request information at any time by emailing qsoteam -=at=- cfht.hawaii.edu .

To obtain information on the progress of your program, please consult the QSO Night Reports


2014A information

List of 2014A QSO programs for MegaPrime, WIRCam, and ESPaDOnS.

QrunID Instrument HST Dates Number of Nights Status Run Summary
14AQ01 MegaCam Feb 01 - 03 3 Done
14AQ02 ESPaDOnS Feb 04 - 20 17 Done Despite rather cloudy conditions and observations cancelled due to snow and ice accumulation, relatively good progress was done on many programs.
14AQ03 MegaCam Feb 21 - Mar 06 14 Done The run was a mixed bag of photometric nights or nights lost to clouds, high humidity, snow or high winds. About half of the nights were used to obtain data.
14AQ04 WIRCam Mar 07 - 23 17 Done More than half of the run was lost to overcast skies, high humidity, or high winds. When the skies were photometric, the Image Quality was under one arcsec, except on one night of very poor seeing.
14AQ05 MegaCam Mar 24 - Apr 07 15 Done Another run challenged by weather. There were only 4 photometric nights, plus a few hours here and there. High humidity, fog, rain, ice, clouds, and snow prevented observing on the other nights.
14AQ06 ESPaDOnS Apr 08 - 23 16 Done About half of the time had clear skies, and only a dozen hours or so had clouds too thick to observe. About 50% of A and B programs have been completed so far.
14AQ07 MegaCam Apr 24 - May 06 13 Done A little less than half of the available time had clear and photometric skies. Periods of thin cirrus were used for programs that can still be carried under some extinction. About 42% of the allocation for A-ranked and B-ranked PI programs have been validated so far.
14AQ08 WIRCam May 07 - 19 13 Done The best run since the fall of 2012! The equivalent of about 1 hour was lost to clouds. The sky was photometric the rest of the time, with sub-arcsec Image Quality. Almost twice as much data were validated this run compared to the March run. Over 60% of A-ranked programs and 35% of B-ranked programs have been validated so far.
14AQ09 MegaCam May 20 - Jun 02 14 Done An excellent run, with only 8.5h lost to bad weather. A little over a night was lost to technical issues, mostly because of the filter jukebox. The Image Quality was usually below 1", with a few hours with 0.45" recorded in the r' or i' filter.
14AQ10 ESPaDOnS Jun 03 - 19 17 Done An excellent run, with no time lost to bad weather or technical issues. This was the last ESPaDOnS run of semester 14A; 70% of A-ranked programs have been completed (programs that were not conpleted had specific time constraints that could not be met); almost all B-ranked hours have been obtained. C-ranked and snapshot programs were also used throughout the semester.
14AQ11 MegaCam Jun 20 - Jul 02 13 Done An excellent run with only the equivalent of one night with thin cirrus or partly cloudy conditions. The Image Quality was once again usually well below 1", with a few hours of 0.45-0.5" seeing in the red filters.
14AQ12 WIRCam Jul 03 - 16 14 Done All the nights of this run were affected by either thin cirrus, high humidity, partly cloudy skies, or overcast skies. Only a few hours saw photometric skies.
14AQ13 MegaCam Jul 17 - 28 12 Started
14AQ14 WIRCam Jul 29 - 31 3 Not Started


TOO

The QSO mode is well-adapted for target-of-opportunity (TOO) programs. If you want to submit unpredictable or time-critical TOO observations (e.g.: Gamma Ray Bursts, supernova) to be carried out in a queue mode with MegaCam, WIRCam or ESPaDOnS at any time during the current semester, you must use NorthStar and create a new proposal (see button at the bottom of the page after you've logged in) using "Director Discretionary" as the chosen community.

The CFHT Executive Director reviews each Discretionary Time proposal. If telescope time is allocated, the QSO Team will either ask the PI to fill in the required PH2 information, or extract the necessary information from the proposal and prepare the observations.

Contact

You need to contact the QSO Team? Please send an email to qsoteam -=at=- cfht.hawaii.edu. During a QSO run, communication between the investigators and the QSO Team will be done exclusively through the QSO Coordinator, not the QSO observer. For the status of your program, please refer first to the Web night reports (below).

Informations for Semester Preparation [ Return to top ]

QSO

The main concept behind the QSO mode is to execute programs only during the sky conditions (seeing, background, clouds, etc.) requested by Principals Investigators (PIs) in order to meet the programs' science goals. This is achieved by grouping all programs in a database and by selecting appropriate observations according to a set of constraints, rules and sky conditions. Programs are then carried out by a well trained, local team of observers in a service mode (i.e. investigators are not present at the observatory).

Instruments

The QSO mode is offered with CFHT's 3 main instruments, the visible imager MegaCam, the infrared imager WIRCam, and the spectropolarimeter ESPaDOnS. Each instrument has a web page which offers technical details and help about observations:

Instruments offered in QSO mode
MegaCam WIRCam ESPaDOnS
Exposure time calculators
DIET for MegaCam DIET for WIRCam ETC for ESPaDOnS

Phase 1 tool

The first step for applying for time in a queue mode is to submit a proposal to the Time Allocation Committee. For the Canadian, French, Taiwanese, Brazilian, Chinese, and Korean communities, this must be done through a Phase 1 tool.

CFHT is using the Northstar Phase 1 tool, adapted for CFHT. Please read the PH1 tutorials (MegaCam, WIRCam, ESPaDOnS) and NorthStar HelpFiles carefully!

It is STRONGLY recommended to carefully read the relevant document before starting your Phase 1.

Those documents are updated with new information before each semester. Investigators should spend some time to familiarize themselves with the QSO concept, the characteristics of the instruments, and the general procedures.

Quick checklist for Phase 1:
  • You have checked the PDF file for the proposal.
  • You have used the appropriate EXPOSURE TIME CALCULATOR.
  • You have requested time in HOURS (e.g. 14.7h).
  • Your requested time includes the appropriate OVERHEADS: readout time, telescope slews if appropriate.
    For the correct values to use, please see the instruments' tutorials.
  • If your program is a Snapshot program, it requests bad sky conditions (bad Image Quality or high extinction), is simple, and is made of short observations.
  • You have included on-sky calibrations if needed and if not already taken care of by the QSO Team (e.g.: photometric standard stars for narrow-band filters; spectroscopic standard stars).
  • You have contacted the QSO Team for any question or concern.

PLEASE REMEMBER YOUR PASSWORD! CFHT cannot retrieve NorthStar passwords, so if you have forgotten your login information, use the "Forgotten password?" option on the login page or register again.

CFHT Phase 1 tool MegaCam tutorial WIRCam tutorial ESPaDOnS tutorial
NorthStar access MegaCam WIRCam ESPaDOnS

For more information concerning the QSO Project and for any help during the preparation of your queue proposal, contact the QSO Team (qsoteam -=at=- cfht.hawaii.edu).

PH2

PH2 is a sophisticated Web based tool designed specifically for the Phase 2 submission of observations with MegaCam, WIRCam, and ESPaDOnS, and available from the CFHT Web site.

Accepted proposals can be entered in PH2 usually in June for the "B" semesters, and in November for the "A" semesters. The deadlines might vary from instrument to instrument.

  1. The telescope schedule is prepared after PIs have all entered their PH2; if not knowing the telescope schedule in advance causes problems for your PH2, please email qsoteam -=at=- cfht.hawaii.edu for further instructions.
  2. NEW since 09A: we now offer non-sidereal tracking with all 3 instruments. Please consult the Tutorials below for a few helpful tips (about guiding, maximum length of exposures, disabled options, etc.).
  3. NEW for WIRCam: users of the Staring Mode need to upload a Finding Chart (so we can make sure the target lands on a clean spot of the array!). The simple requirements for those charts are explained at the top of the Finding Chart page in PH2.
  4. If you have any question or comment, please email the QSO Team (qsoteam -=at=- cfht.hawaii.edu). Do NOT email individual members of the team, because this can delay answers depending on each member's schedule.

PH2 Documentation and Tutorials

The documentation has been re-organized and simplified. Two short documents present How QSO works at CFHT and the General Principals of Phase 2 (PH2). Each document starts with an Abstract and a set of keywords, to help users find topics of interest. All users are encouraged to read those documents at least once, which should take about 15 minutes.

The tutorials for each instruments have been simplified and updated. A short section at the top summarizes the basics of PH2. A Table of Content and links throughout the tutorials ease navigation. The tutorials are available within PH2 through the "Tutorial" button, or directly from the following links:

CFHT Phase 2 tool MegaCam tutorial WIRCam tutorial ESPaDOnS tutorial
Open PH2 PH2 Tutorial for MegaCam PH2 Tutorial for WIRCam PH2 Tutorial for ESPaDOnS
Exposure time calculators
DIET for MegaCam DIET for WIRCam ETC for ESPaDOnS

When ready, you may login to PH2:

If you get an error message that says "... can't establish a connection to the server at qso.cfht.hawaii.edu:2001...", please check the firewall on your machine and/or provider. Port 2001 is a non-traditional http port that might be blocked in the path to your internet.

MegaCam/WIRCam/ESPaDOnS If you are not already familiar with the MegaCam and WIRCam mosaic cameras or the spectropolarimeter ESPaDOnS, or for any news concerning these instruments, you should consult their respective Web pages:

Instruments offered in QSO mode
MegaCam WIRCam ESPaDOnS



Informations useful during Observations [ Return to top ]

Observations

Each day during a QSO run, a CFHT astronomer prepares various queues suitable for the coming night, based on PI requests for Image Quality and sky conditions, and ranking of the programs. "A" programs are given priority, followed by "B", "C", and Snapshot programs. Queues are also made as much as possible to give each agency its share of the night; if an agency has 30% of the allocated time on a given instrument, it will be found on average in about 30% of each queue. At night, depending on the sky conditions, the CFHT Remote Observer selects and executes one or more queues. Each exposure receives a grade indicating the quality of the data (grades 1 and 2 are good for the science proposed), and most exposures also receive comments about sky conditions, technical issues, etc. The next morning, a CFHT astronomer reviews those grades and comments, and validates exposures which are good enough for the science goals proposed; only validated exposures are taken out of a PI's allocated time. Exposures which are not validated will be tried again if possible.

Night Reports

During a semester, night reports are available after the QSO Team has performed the data evaluation for the previous night. The night reports also allow the user to extract the current status of any QSO program. Therefore, it is not necessary to contact the QSO Team to know what's happening with an observing program. More information, notably regarding the weather conditions and data distribution, have also been added to these reports. Statistics on the QSO mode are also published during the current semester (see next section).

Statistics

The current statistics on the QSO mode are available. This includes the time distribution for the different Agencies as well as some global numbers on the programs.

TOO

The QSO mode is well-adapted for target-of-opportunity (TOO) programs. If you want to submit unpredictable or time-critical TOO observations (e.g.: Gamma Ray Bursts, supernova) to be carried out in a queue mode with MegaCam, WIRCam or ESPaDOnS at any time during the current semester, you must use NorthStar and create a new proposal (see button at the bottom of the page after you've logged in) using "Director Discretionary" as the chosen community.

The CFHT Executive Director reviews each Discretionary Time proposal. If telescope time is allocated, the QSO Team will either ask the PI to fill in the required PH2 information, or extract the necessary information from the proposal and prepare the observations.

Information useful after Observations [ Return to top ]

Reduction

Data are detrended after each run (MegaPrime and WIRCam) or reduced after each night (ESPaDOnS) by a team of astronomers and software engineers. PIs who request immediate (or quick) access to their data can receive raw data or detrended data as soon as available. When data are ready, PIs receive an email from CFHT with the location of their data; the data (detrended, and raw for some instruments), documentation, instructions, and metadata are downloadable from a private URL with a unique key sent to PIs.

Each instrument has its own data reduction pipeline, maintained by CFHT astronomers and software engineers:

DADS

The DADS Team distributed data to PIs. At the beginning of each semester or when data are available, PIs receive information on how to retrieve their data.

CFHT offers a tool called cfhtget, which can be used to efficiently retrieve ESPaDOnS data: MacOSX and Linux versions are available.

Proprietary period

The proprietary period of QSO data extends by default to 1 year + 1 month starting at the end of the QSO semester. For instance, data taken for the 2009B semester (August 1 - January 31) will have a default release date set to 02/28/2011. The extra month is allowed because of possible delays in the data reduction distribution of observations carried out near the end of a semester. If an extension is requested during the Phase 1 period and is approved by TAC, a new date will be set for this program through the QSO system. This release date for the QSO data is indicated in the fits headers by the keyword REL_DATE.

Note: Since data can be taken at almost any time during a semester in a queue mode, it will not be possible to change the release date after the beginning of a semester.

For snapshot programs, the proprietary period is three months following the end of the semester. The CFHTLS data have a different release date, regarding the proprietary period system supported by the Board of Directors.

Archived information