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 the PIGSTI.

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.

ToO PI and Team Procedure

  1. 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 interruption.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 must be submitted by 3:00 pm HST on the day of 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 angles, etc).
  7. Acquire ToO Science Observations: Within exactly one hour, the following actions must be completed by the ToO PI:
  8. 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 representatives.

Classically Scheduled PI and Team Procedure

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Verify Program Selection: The Classical PI will ensure that the ToO PI selects the ToO program on the PIG.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Support Astronomer role

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 program.
  4. 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.

Observing Assistant role

  1. 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.
  2. 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 handover time.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Partner Institution TAC lead or Scheduler role

  1. 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.
  2. Liaison: Serve as a liaison between the Observatory staff and the ToO PI for questions pertaining to the ToO proposal.

Keck Observatory Telescope Schedulers

  1. Obtain List of Approved ToO Programs: Request information from the TAC leads or schedulers regarding approved ToO programs each semester, including full proposals.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 (soming soon)

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