Queued Service Observations

Table of Content

Current News and Events Pre-semester information During Observations Post Observations Information
News (Phase1 and PH2) QSO and QSO SNR mode Observations Reduction
2016B Instruments Night Reports DADS
TOO Phase 1 Statistics Proprietary time
Contact PH2 TOO Archived information

Current News and Events [ Return to top ]

News

PH1 for semester 2017A is open. The deadline is Sep 26 (10 day extension) at 23h59 UT (2pm HST). Please read important information released for 2017A. New! Starting with semester 2017A, MegaCam and ESPaDOnS will be operated under the QSO-SNR mode. Only certain programs will be exempted from using the SNR mode. Please read the QSO-SNR mode page for details.

On July 26, MegaCam experienced a technical failure related to its electronics. An emergency exchange to WIRCam was performed Jul 27. ESPaDOnS was mounted Aug 2. The Jul/Aug MegaCam is therefore cancelled.

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


List of 2016B QSO programs for MegaPrime, WIRCam, ESPaDOnS, and SITELLE.

QrunID Instrument HST Dates # Nights Status Run Summary
16BQ01 WIRCam Aug 1 1 Done Following a technical failure on MegaCam on Jul 26, we performed an emergency exchange to WIRCam. The first night saw a power outage in Waimea that ran long enough to exhaust the headquarters' UPS. Observing was resumed from the summit around midnight. A few technical glitches affected the following nights, but the excellent weather allowed for great progress on 16A and 16B programs.
16BQ02 ESPaDOnS Aug 2-15 14 Done An excellent first ESPaDOnS run to start this semester, with only 20 hours lost to weather. The run was longer than initially planned, which allowed the QSO team to make great progress on many programs.
16BQ03 WIRCam Aug 16-22 7 Done This WIRCam run was successful despite the loss of 2h due to a building chiller failure, and the loss of 2 nights at the end of the run due to high humidity. The bulk of the observations were obtained with an Image Quality below 0.75" (regardless of filter) and under photometric skies.
16BQ04 SITELLE Aug 23-31 9 Done This Sitelle run was affected by bad weather, with 3.5 nights lost to high humidity, fog, precipitation, and hurricane/storm Madeline. Some engineering time (4.5h) was dedicated to performing some adjustements to the instrument, and investigating the Image Quality.
16BQ05 MegaCam Sep 1-7 7 Done The first 3 nights were lost to bad weather brought in by hurricane Lester. The last 4 nights were mostly photometric with seeing better than 1". There was no time lost to technical issues.
16BQ06 WIRCam Sep 8-12 5 Done This short WIRCam run was relatively productive. The weather started to degrade on the 4th night (about 3h lost to high extinction) and the last night was completely lost to thick clouds, high humidity and fog.
16BQ07 ESPaDOnS Sep 13-21 9 Done The first half of the run was lost to bad weather. The conditions improved for the end of the run. With excellent Image Quality (IQ as good as 0.45"), we were able to save time on the sky by using the QSO-SNR mode, enabling us to perform more observations than initially planned.
16BQ08 MegaCam Sep 22 - Oct 10 19 Started
16BQ09 ESPaDOnS Oct 11-20 10 Not Started
16BQ10 MegaCam Oct 21 - Nov 6 17 Not Started
16BQ11 WIRCam Nov 7-20 14 Not Started
16BQ12 SITELLE Nov 21-28 8 Not Started
16BQ13 MegaCam Nov 29 - Dec 5 7 Not Started
16BQ14 ESPaDOnS Dec 6-21 16 Not Started
16BQ15 MegaCam Dec 22 - Jan 3 13 Not Started
16BQ16 ESPaDOnS Jan 4-23 20 Not Started
16BQ17 MegaCam Jan 24 - 8 Not Started

The information regarding 2016A has been archived.

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).

QSO SNR mode

The QSO-SNR mode has been tested on ESPaDOnS and MegaCam for a few semesters now. Following a SAC recommendation, the QSO-SNR mode will be the default operational mode for ESPaDOnS and MegaCam, starting in 2017A.

This mode is NOT used for non-sidereal observations, very short exposures of 30 seconds or less, or observations that require fixed exposure times designed to ensure a specific spacing in time between observations.

The QSO SNR page explains how the QSO SNR mode works.

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 SITELLE
Exposure time calculators
DIET for MegaCam DIET for WIRCam ETC for ESPaDOnS ETC for SITELLE

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 all agencies except UH and Opticon, this must be done through CFHT's Phase 1 tool.

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

Starting with semester 2017A, QSO-SNR mode will be the default operational mode for ESPaDOnS and MegaCam.

This mode is NOT used for non-sidereal observations, very short exposures of 30 seconds or less, or observations that require fixed exposure times designed to ensure a specific spacing in time between observations.

To opt out of the SNR mode, PI must include a justification in their proposal. All proposals, whether they will be performed with the SNR mode or not, must request the number of hours needed to reach the scientific goals under specific sky constraints, and justify the exposure times and corresponding SNR. In particular, please ensure you have added calculations from the relevant Exposure Time Calculator.

Please consult the QSO SNR mode page for details.

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).
  • You have included EXAMPLES OF EXPOSURE TIME CALCULATION.
  • If you program cannot be performed under the QSO SNR mode, YOU HAVE JUSTIFIED WHY.
  • 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 SITELLE tutorial
NorthStar access MegaCam WIRCam ESPaDOnS SITELLE

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 SITELLE tutorial
Open PH2 PH2 Tutorial for MegaCam PH2 Tutorial for WIRCam PH2 Tutorial for ESPaDOnS PH2 Tutorial for SITELLE
Exposure time calculators
DIET for MegaCam DIET for WIRCam ETC for ESPaDOnS ETC for SITELLE

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 SITELLE



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