Instructions for Observers at Remote Sites

Note: these instructions assume you are using the new VNC launch scripts released in 2020. If you are using the older scripts, please follow instructions at your remote site to connect.

Perform Checkout a Few Days Before Your Run

We strongly encourage all observers to do a brief test run of the connection from your chosen remote site a few days before your run. This will test the connection to Keck and all the requisite software and hardware early enough for problems to be detected and solved ahead of your run.

  1. Schedule checkout. Arrange a time with the site manager at your remote site to perform the checkout. If you're not sure who that person is, please contact your Support Astronomer to find out. The test can be completed any time within 5 calendar days of the run, but we strongly recommend doing it at least one business day prior to the run in order to provide adquate time for troubleshooting.
  2. Determine account. Consult the online Keck telescope schedule to determine what your assigned observing account is.
  3. Obtain passwords. Your local site manager can provide you with the required passwords for local hosts, Keck firewall, and Keck observing accounts.
  4. Test VNC. Follow the instructions below to connect to the VNC sessions for your assigned instrument account.
  5. Report problems. In case any problems crop up, please immediately contact your assigned support astronomer (obtain name of SA from from the online Keck Observing schedule; corresponding telephone numbers should be posted in your observing area).

Connecting to Your Keck VNC Sessions

  1. Log in to your local machine at your site. The login info should have been provided by your local site staff. Bring up a terminal if needed.
  2. In a terminal, type start_keck_viewers <account> where <account> is your numbered account for the instrument you are scheduled to use.
    • If you need to need to determine your account, see the Keck telescope schedule.
    • The script will likely ask you for the Keck firewall password.
    • The program should bring up several (usually 4) VNC sessions.
  3. When you are done observing, type q to quit in the VNC launch application (in the terminal you used to launch the VNCs). This will close connections to Keck and generally cleanup all processes.

Handling Connection Problems

If the test above fails, please work with your local site coordinator to troubleshoot.

If you and your local site coordinator can not solve the problem, please try the following:

  1. Run the software's test suite:
    • In a terminal, in the directory where the software is installed, load the conda environment for the software using: conda activate KRO
    • Then type pytest. The software will run several self tests. You should see a message reporting something like 11 passed in 8.94s at the bottom. If not, see if the error messages help your troubleshooting.
  2. If you still can not connect, try uploading the log files to Keck using the u command in the app and contact with a description of the problem. If you are unable to upload the logs from the app, manually send them via email. The logs can be found in the logs/ subdirectory.

Application Notes

The application which you used to launch the VNCs is still active and can be used for additional tasks. You should see a prompt and a text listing the commands which are available. It should look something like this:

|-------------------------------------------------- |
|          Keck Remote Observing (v1.0.0)           |
|                        MENU                       |
|-------------------------------------------------- |
|  l               List sessions available          |
|  [session name]  Open VNC session by name         |
|  w               Position VNC windows             |
|  s               Soundplayer restart              |
|  u               Upload log to Keck               |
|  t               List local ports in use          |
|  c [port]        Close ssh tunnel on local port   |
|  q               Quit (or Control-C)              |
|-------------------------------------------------- |

You can type commands at that prompt to open sessions. For example, if your local control0 VNC screen dies for any reason, you can restart it by simply typing control0 at the prompt. Similarly the soundplay task can be restarted by typing s.