The ToO policies, guidelines, and procedures described below
are applicable to partnership ToO programs
in 2019A and beyond. Institutional ToOs currently abide by the individual
institution's policies. For a summary
of all current approved ToO programs please visit
Partnership ToO Policies and Guidelines
Please see the links below for the full Time Domain Astronomy
policies as prescribed by the Director :
Partnership ToO Observing Procedures
The Target of Opportunity (ToO) procedures for the current semester (2019A) and beyond are outlined below. These procedures apply to all partnership ToO events.
- Trigger the ToO Observation: To activate a ToO
observation, the PI or Co-I of an approved program MUST use the TORT (Target of Opportunity Request Tool). ToO program PI’s or Co-I’s can access the TORT through their Keck Observer log in page, found here: https://www2.keck.hawaii.edu/inst/PILogin/login.php The tool will indicate how many triggers are remaining for the program, which nights can be interrupted, and allows the interrupting PI to indicate what time the interruption should occur. The tool will automatically generate an email to notify the classically scheduled PI and observers, the Support Astronomer, and the Observing Assistant, as well as the ToO team. Triggers should be submitted as soon as possible to
allow the Classical PI sufficient time to plan for the
- Make Arrangements for Mainland Observing: If
you plan to perform the observations yourself, make
arrangements for use of an approved mainland observing
facility. Submit the mainland observing request as soon
as possible through your observer login page.
Note that ToO observers are responsible for conducting their own observations, unless an agreement has been made for the classical observer to carry out the observations.
- Coordinate a Turnover Time: The TORT will be used to schedule the turnover time to the ToO observer. In cases where this time has flexibility, the ToO PI will
work with the Classical PI or their observing team to establish a
mutually agreed upon time to handover the telescope for the ToO
observation. Sufficient time should be granted to the Classical PI
to complete a current exposure or an exposure sequence.
- Submit LGS Star List (if Applicable): If the ToO
is for a laser guide star (LGS) adaptive optics (AO) target, the ToO
PI will submit the LGS AO target using the AO guide star tool
available on-line from the Keck Instrument page. Target coordinates
should be submitted 72 hours before the observing run. Note that
USSTRATCOM has agreed to make a best effort to re-process ToO
requests - this is not a guarantee, however, that the list will
be processed in time for the observation. Alternatively, if the
position of the ToO target is known well in advance
(e.g. observations of a flare event or outburst from a known
source), the target can be submitted at the beginning of the
semester for inclusion in all LGS-AO star lists.
- Coordinate with the Observing Assistant (OA):
Inform the OA when you are ready to switch to the ToO program. Ensure that the
handover time and instrument return times are apparent to the OA.
- Select ToO Program in the PIG: Upon instrument handover
the ToO PI will select their program in the Program Identification
GUI (PIG) and press the "Select" button. This will effectively
start the wall clock time of one hour before returning the
instrument to the Classical PI in its original configuration
(i.e. appropriate grating, filters, echelle and cross-disperser
- Acquire ToO Science Observations: Within exactly
one hour, the following actions must be completed by the ToO PI:
- Switch to the ToO instrument (if applicable)
- Configure the instrument for the ToO observation.
- Acquire the ToO science observations.
- Acquire all calibration frames needed if not completed during the afternoon.
- Return to the original instrument, and/or return to the original instrument configuration prior to handover to the primary observer.
- Complete the ToO Observing Report: Upon
completion of the ToO observation, the ToO PI will complete the
pre-formatted formal observing report available through the ToO
PI's Observer Login Page that will be automatically forwarded
to the WMKO Chief Scientist and to the Directors of the
participating observatories or their designated
- Coordinate a Turnover Time: The TORT will be used to schedule the turnover time to the ToO observer. In cases where this time has flexibility, the Classical PI or their observing
team will coordinate with the ToO PI to establish a mutually agreed upon handover time for the observation. The Classical PI should be granted sufficient time to complete a current exposure or an exposure sequence.
- Coordinate with Observing Assistant: Inform the OA
when you are ready to switch to the ToO program. Ensure that the approximate
handover and instrument return times are apparent to the OA.
- Verify Program Selection: The Classical PI will
ensure that the ToO PI selects the ToO program on the PIG.
- Ensure Timely Handover to the Primary Observing
Program: The Classical PI will monitor the time and
ensure that a timely handover of the instrument occurs after one
hour (or less) from the start of the ToO interruption.
- Select Primary Observing Program on the PIG: After
completion of the ToO observation and the instrument is returned
to the Classical PI, select the primary science program on the
PIG and press the "Select" button.
- Complete the ToO Observing Report: Upon completion
of the ToO observation, the Classical PI will complete the
pre-formatted formal report available through the Classical PI's
Observer Login Page that will be emailed to the WMKO Chief
Scientist, the Directors of the participating observatories
and the Keck schedulers.
- Review ToO Procedures with the Observer: The on
call SA will discuss the ToO process with the Classical PI or their
observing team, directing them to this webpage at the beginning of
their night or their run.
- Process LGS-AO Star List: If an LGS-AO ToO is
requested that is not on the current star list, the SA will
re-process the star list and upload the resulting PRM files to the
USSTRATCOM web-based tool. This action should be followed up with a
telephone call to USSTRATCOM to ensure that the PRM files are
processed in a timely manner. Once the PAM files are available, the
SA will download the files and run process_spiral.
- Casualty Response: The SA will respond to
instrument casualties or to problems that occur during a ToO
observation just as with the Classical PI's program. The time
lost to the casualty, however, will be included in the one hour
timeframe for the interruption and will be charged to the ToO
- POC Response: Upon completion of the ToO
observation, the SA will respond to questions posed or comments made
on the Post Observing Comment (POC) forms from the ToO observer
and/or the Classical PI.
- View ToO information in the TORT admin tool:
Detailed information about the ToO can be found in the admin tool, and detailed OA instructions can be found by clicking on the 'help' button.
- Remind ToO PI to Select Their Program in the PIG:
When notified of an impending ToO, the OA will ask the ToO PI to
select their approved program from the PIG at the agreed upon
- Monitor time use for ToO Observation: The OA will monitor the time and inform the ToO observer when they need to return the telescope to the Classical PI, to ensure handover of the instrument occurs after one hour (or less) from the start of the ToO interruption. Time for instrument switches and configuration back to original instrument settings must be included in this one hour time frame.
- Document ToO Start and End Times: The OA document the ToO execution in the night log, including the program ID, approximate start and end time, and the amount of time spent switching instruments, if applicable.
- Notify SA of Instrument Problems: Should problems
arise with instrument handover, or while ToO observations are in
progress, the OA will notify the SA of the issue.
- Identify Approved ToO Programs: Ensure that all ToO
programs approved by the relevant TAC are identified to the Keck
Observatory Telescope Schedulers during the scheduling process. The
ToO program information provided to the Observatory should include
the ToO PI, the program identification number from the coversheet,
the approved instruments for the ToO observation, the total number
of interrupts permitted for the ToO or the total time allocated to
the ToO program, and whether the ToO is a partnership or institution ToO.
The full proposal of the ToO should also be submitted to the Observatory.
- Liaison: Serve as a liaison between the Observatory
staff and the ToO PI for questions pertaining to the ToO
- Obtain List of Approved ToO Programs: Request
information from the TAC leads or schedulers regarding approved ToO
programs each semester, including full proposals.
- Verify that the PIG is Updated each Semester: Ensure
information for the approved ToO programs is used to populate
the PIG at the beginning of each semester.
- Document ToO Execution: Document ToO execution
for each partner institution (i.e. Caltech and the University of
California) and balance hours as required on a semester basis.
- Report: Report on hours used for approved ToO
programs to the Director, the Observatory Chief Scientist or to the
Scientific Steering Committee as requested.
Institution ToO Policies
All Institution ToOs must be triggered using the TORT (Target of Opportunity Request Tool), which can be accessed by PI’s or Co-I’s through their Keck Observer log in page, found here: https://www2.keck.hawaii.edu/inst/PILogin/login.php
However, each institution may have different policies and procedures than detailed above regarding ToO interrupts that occur within their own institution’s time. Please see the below links for more information on Institution ToOs.
CIT Institution ToO Policy
NASA Institution ToO Policy
UC Institution ToO Policy