Quick Reference

Contact your Support Astronomer (First Night)

  1. If you do not know who is your assigned SA, you can find the name on the observing schedule posted in the Remote Ops I or available online. Home and cell phone numbers are posted on the cork board behind the monitors of the instrument observing station.
  2. You should make sure to discuss the following points with your SA:

Check account

  1. Consult the on-line Keck I observing schedule. Find the listing for today's date (note that the dates are HST, not UT dates).
  2. The eighth column of the table will indicate the account you have been assigned. For example, if it reads MOSFIRE(1), your account is mosfire1. Use this account name (in lowercase) when logging in to Keck computers.

Start VNC viewers

Whether observing from Waimea or from a mainland observing site, MOSFIRE observers run all instrument software within VNC desktops. Generally, VNC servers for your run should be up and running when you arrive to observe. Please follow the appropriate set of steps below to launch your VNC viewers on the primary and secondary workstations.

Waimea Startup Procedure

  1. Log in to the observing sseat.
    Log into haleiwa in Remote Ops I under your assigned numbered MOSFIRE account (e.g., mosfire5; if needed, please contact your Support Astronomer to get the password).
  2. Launch primary and secondary VNC desktops.
    Once you log in, the KVNC GUI will appear on your left-hand screen. Enter the VNC password in the password entry field and click on Launch Viewers to start the primary and secondary VNC viewers that you will use for running the MOSFIRE software. On each of your 3 screens, you should get a pair of VNC desktops. Two additional desktops (called telcontrol and telanalysis) are used for for FACSUM and XMET,

Mainland Startup Procedure

The procedure for launching VNC desktops from remote sites varies from site to site, but generally follows this procedure:
  1. Log in.
    Log in to primary and (if applicable) secondary machines using account and password provided by the site manager.
  2. Get firewall access.
    If necessary, follow authentication procedure for access through Keck's firewall.
  3. Launch VNC.
    Execute the appropriate script to bring up VNC desktops. At sites with a single 4-headed machine execute the command
    	kvncall mosfire mosfireN
    where N is the number of your MOSFIRE observing account. At sites with separate primary and secondary machines, execute this command on the primary machine:
    	kvncinst mosfire mosfireN
    and this command on the secondary machine:
    	kvnctel mosfire mosfireN

Check instrument status

  1. Start a browser: From the desktop menu select Firefox
  2. Click on the link labeled Instrument Ready? available on the side menu on any page.
  3. In the upper right of SIAS check the instrument status. If it reads MOSFIRE READY on a green background the instrument is ready for use. If the message is MOSFIRE NOT READY on a red background, then MOSFIRE has not been released for your use. If it is after the nominal release time (2:00pm weekdays, 3:00pm weekends) contact your SA for assistance.
    Note also that if the telescope has not been released, you will not be able to take dome calibrations.

Confirm MOSFIRE rotator position

To avoid triggering a “fatal error” on the MOSFIRE slitmask mechanism (CSU), it is critically important to confirm that MOSFIRE is at an acceptable position angle for moving the CSU bars. Although the day crew should have left MOSFIRE at the correct physical rotator position (drive=-90°), it is wise to verify this as follows:
  1. If you are not in Waimea, launch the FACSUM window on your telstatus VNC desktop by right-clicking on the background menu and selecting
    	K1 Telescope Status Menu > FACSUM
    If you are in Waimea, refer to the FACSUM window displayed on the large wall display.
  2. Check the current value of the drive angle shown on FACSUM.
  3. Confirm that the value of drive is outside of the “danger zone” within which CSU moves are likely to cause fatal errors; this range of angles to avoid is -10°<drive<10° and 170°<drive<190°.
  4. If the value of drive is in the CSU danger zone, then please contact your SA immediately to have MOSFIRE rotated to an acceptable position for CSU moves.

Prepare Logs

You now have the choice of maintaining paper or electronic logs for your observing run.

Electronic logsheets

The Keck Observing Log Archive (KEOLA) maintains an on-line log of your run which you can access through the browser window to view or edit. This log is generated whether or not you choose to use it, and is only accessible from within the Keck network, not from outside, so if you are observing remotely you must launch a browser within VNC to access the electronic logs. For full instructions, please refer to the
KEOLA webpage.

Paper logsheets

If you prefer physical logsheets for note-taking, now would be a good time to prepare them. You can preview and print out copies of logsheets from the computer. To assist in your logging, you may find it helpful to launch the obslog window which provides a summary of your MOSFIRE exposures. From the MOSFIRE background menu, select MOSFIRE Utilities > Xobslog to launch this window.

Install slitmask design files

Observers wanting to use the multi-slit mode of MOSFIRE will need to install their mask design files created with the MAGMA tool. MAGMA generates subdirectories that contains the mask design files. Typically, observers copy the entire directory tree to the CSUmasks area in their assigned MOSFIRE observing account on mosfireserver (e.g., /home/mosfire3/CSUmasks).

To “push” files from your laptop or remote computer to Keck

  1. Obtain access through the Keck firewall if the computer is at a remote site.
  2. Go to the directory with the slitmask files.
  3. Copy files to your directory at Keck via:
    scp -r directory account@mosfireserver.keck.hawaii.edu:CSUmasks
    For example, if your computer has the files in a directory called mymasks and you have been assigned to use the mosfire1 account, then type
    scp -r mymasks mosfire1@mosfireserver.keck.hawaii.edu:CSUmasks

To “pull” files from your laptop or remote computer to Keck

  1. Open a window on mosfireserver and type cd CSUmasks to go to your mask directory.
  2. Copy files from your remote computer via:
    scp -r account@hostname.domain.edu:/path/to/files .

Create starlist

Each mask design directory contains a one-line file called maskname_StarList.txt which lists the mask name and coordinates. Observers need to create one master starlist that contains all of these entries. To do so, simply:
  1. Right click on the desktop to access the MOSFIRE menu.
  2. Select MOSFIRE Utilities > Generate Mask Starlist
  3. Enter the name of the starlist file to create, or just press Enter to accept the default.
  4. The software should report that it has generated the master starlist file and placed it in your home directory on the MOSFIRE computer.
If you wish to add targets to your starlist file, please refer to the Starlist web docs for formatting specifications. To install your starlist file in the proper location, simply copy it into your directory in /kroot/starlists.

Start MOSFIRE software

  1. Start up the MOSFIRE software.
    1. Right click on the background to access the MOSFIRE menu.
    2. Select MOSFIRE Control Menu.
    3. Select Start All MOSFIRE Control.
    The script will launch a window and will allow you to specify the observer names, output directory, starting frame number, etc.
  2. Verify windows.
    Check that the following windows appear:

Take a test bias/dark exposure

Verify that you can acquire and display images by taking a test bias/dark frame.
  1. On the MOSFIRE Desktop Observing Mode GUI (left-hand screen), click any of the dark mode selectors (DarkYJ-SPEC, DarkH-SPEC, etc.) to insert the “dark” filter.
  2. On the MOSFIRE Desktop Exposure Control GUI (left-hand screen):
  3. After a few moments, the image should display on the MOSFIRE Autodisplay ds9 Tool (right-hand screen). Inspect the dark image. Data values should be close to 0 or slightly negative (few tens of counts). Horizontal banding (indicating slightly different bias levels on the multiple readout amplifiers) and vertical banding (resulting from electronic noise) may appear on the image. See sample MOSFIRE bias image.

Confirm CSU bar positions

The bars of the Configurable Slit Unit (CSU) sometimes lose their calibration and fail to come to the correct position. The best way to confirm that the CSU bars are positioning correctly is to form a complete longslit and acquire an image of it to verify that the bars form a straight line. Proceed as follows:
  1. In the Longslit pane of the MAGMA GUI, increase the slit length to its maximum value by clicking the up-arrow button beside the Slit length selector. It should reach a peak value of 366.988; if not, kill and restart MAGMA.
  2. In the Longslit pane of the MAGMA GUI, set the width of the slit to the default of 0.7 by entering that value in the Slit width entry box.
  3. Click the Create Longslit button. Confirm that the resultant longslit covers all 46 segments, and that the mask name displayed at the top of the gui (and under Mask Configurations) reads LONGSLIT-46x0.7.
  4. Click Setup Science Mask button to download moves to the CSU controller.
  5. Click Execute Mask to reconfigure the CSU, which may take up to five minutes to complete.
  6. On the MOSFIRE Desktop Observing Mode subpanel, click the H button in the IMAGING region to reconfigure for imaging in the H band.
  7. On the MOSFIRE Desktop Exposure Control, configure for a short exposure as follows: Click the WAIT & GO button to acquire the expoure.
  8. Inspect the resulting image on the ds9 display. Confirm that:
  9. If the bar positions match the predictions, proceed to the next step. If not, then contact your support astronomer to request that any bars which are out of position be re-initialized.

Load mask designs

If you'll be observing slitmask fields with MOSFIRE, now is the time to load your designs into the system.
  1. In the Mask Configurations pane of the MAGMA GUI, click on Open... to list the subdirectories in the CSUmasks directory.
  2. Double-click on any of the folder icons in the directory list to open the directory.
  3. Double-click on the name of the .xml file to open the mask design file. The GUI will load and display the mask design.
  4. Repeat the previous steps for any other masks you would like to calibrate and observe.

Wait for telescope release

The MOSFIRE flexure compensation system cannot correct for imaging motion until it knows the position of the telescope and instrument rotator. These are generally not available until the day crew initializes the Keck I telescope and releases it to you. Please check the SIAS page for updates on the status of the telescope.

Acquire afternoon calibrations

This should only be done after the summit staff or your SA informs you that the telescope is released, at which time the dome should be dark. The calibrations use the external dome lamps, so the telescope must be at the dome flat position to acquire spectroscopic or imaging flats.
  1. Confirm Telescope pointing Or confirm the telescope pointing with your support astronomer.

  2. Enable the dust cover:
  3. Flexure Compensation System Check

    It's important for you to verify that the flexure compensation system is not near its limit before you start your calibrations by following these steps:

      On the MOSFIRE Desktop (left screen), inspect the Flexure Comp GUI and check the status of the FCS.
      • If only the green bars in the FCS Range Used region are lit, the FCS is within the safe zone for calibrations.
      • If the yellow or red bars in the FCS Range Used region are lit, then the system is near the end of its range; in this case, you must get help to rotate the instrument into a more advantageous orientation for calibrations.
        1. Read the drive angle (physical rotator angle) of the instrument rotator on the FACSUM display.
        2. With the telescope at horizon, FCS will be in the red zone when the physical drive anlgle is between -90° and 0°
        3. Ask your SA to rotate the instrument to the preferred position of -90° by issuing the command
          	rotpposn -90
  4. Spectroscopic Calibrations ...
    1. Launch Calibration Tool.
      From the MAGMA gui, select:
      	Tools -> Calibration Tool
    2. Select calibration options.
      On the Calibration Tool:
      • Under Arcs, select quantity of arcs to acquire and determine which lamps (Ne and/or Ar) to use. The default is to acquire 3 arcs with both lamps for each combination of mask and passband selected below.
      • Under Flats, select flat quantity and exposure times. Default exposure times are appropriate for 0.7" slits; re-scale this to your slit width as appropriate.
      • Under Slitmasks, select or de-select masks and spectral bands (Y,J,H,K) to calibrate.
      • Click the GO button to launch the acquisition script.
    The software will then sequence mask setups to acquire the specified arcs and flats. During this process, the hatch will open and close as needed to permit dome light to illuminate the detector. The calibration script will reconfigure the CSU to the selected mask designs.

  5. Imaging Calibrations ... Most infrared observers prefer to construct imaging-mode flats using dithered on-sky images. However, it is also possible to construct flatfields in the Y, J, H, and Ks passbands using the regular dome flatfield lamps as described below.
    1. Select filter.
      On the MOSFIRE Desktop Observing Mode GUI (left-hand screen), click the IMAG button for the appropriate passband to insert the filter and configure for imaging mode.
    2. Open hatch.
      On the MOSFIRE Desktop, locate the Calibration GUI. If it's not visible, then click the light bulb icon at the top of the desktop. On the calibration GUI, click the OPEN button to open the hatch.
    3. Turn on dome lamps.
      In an xterm window on mosfireserver, enter the following command to turn on the imaging flatfield lamps:
      	domelamps im
    4. Configure detector.
      On the MOSFIRE Desktop Exposure Control GUI (left-hand screen):
      • Change Sampling Mode to CDS to select correlated double sampling readout mode.
      • Set the Integraion Time to the appropriate value for your imaging filter according to the MOSFIRE Exposure Recipes Table.
      • In Coadditions, enter 1 to select a single co-add.
      • Click on Wait & Go to trigger image acquisition
    5. Check signal.
      On the Autodisplay GUI, check the signal level for the test image. The ideal is to be close to but not exceeding 20,000 DN per coadd, high enough to get good illumination without entering the non-linear regime of the detector.
    6. Adjust exposure.
      Use the observed count rate to determine what revised exposure time would give you the desired signal level. On the MOSFIRE Desktop Exposure Control GUI, enter the revised exposure time in the Integration Time entry box.
    7. Acquire data.
      On the MOSFIRE Desktop Exposure Control GUI, enter the number of exposures to obtain in the Repeats box, then click Wait & Go to acquire the data.
    8. Turn off dome lamps.
      In an xterm window on mosfireserver, enter the following command to turn off the imaging flatfield lamps:
      	domelamps off

Coordinate with the OA

Observing Assistants customarily arrive at the summit around 5:30pm in winter and 6:00pm in summer. Once they arrive, you can do one or more of the following:
  1. Greet the OA.
    Introduce yourself to the OA and alert them to any immediate needs that you will have. Tell them if you are taking calibrations and inform them about your calibration plans.
  2. Wait for the OA to get settled.
    Setting up computers and bringing up all of the telescope control systems requires some time, and things go wrong much more often than we would prefer. Be patient while the OA prepares the telescope for operation.
  3. Inform the OA about your starlist.
    Now would be a good time to let the OA know where your starlist is, so they can verify that they have access to it.
  4. Inform the OA of your plans for the night
    It is always good practice to inform the OA of your science plans: depending on the LRIS modes you plan to use (longslit, MOS, imaging), the OA will make decisions on how and when is best to focus the telescope. The OA can also be asked about specific observing techniques you are interested into (e.g dithering, offset pointing, etc). Just before opening, your SA will also be available to help with these issues. Do not be shy and ask.

Get dinner

If you are reading this, you're probably very tired and hungry. Moreover, the real work is still ahead of you. Now it is a good idea to go get dinner and all other sources of sustainment you may need during the night.
In each Remote Ops room there is a folder labelled Restaurant Guide for you to consult. Please also note that Starbucks (across the road, in the Foodland shopping center) closes, mercilessly and irrevocably, at 9:00 pm. It may stay open until 10:00 pm on Friday/Saturday.

Continue to Evening Startup Checklist

Evening Startup Checklist