Welcome to the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope!|
au Télescope Canada-France-Hawaii!]
This document provides observers with important instructions
NEW! Wireless access, see
Observer's account section.
- practical arrangements,
- requirements for work at high altitude,
- travel conditions,
- arrival and departure at Hale Pohaku,
- observing run,
- CFHT staff you will be interacting with,
- the use of CFHT vehicles,
- the 2-person rule at the summit,
- daytime observing (darks, dome-flats, setup,
- early end of the night,
- observer's account, email, tape facilities for backing
up your data, etc., disk space
- Café du Mont Blanc
- Web resources.
- PRACTICAL ARRANGEMENTS
The Guest Observer Information Sheet, Observer Preparation Form and
Observing Report Form are all available at:
Visiting Astronomers must ensure that the various preparation forms are
returned before the specified deadlines.
- Six (6) weeks before your run: The CFHT Observer Preparation
Form should be submitted. Your observing run ID number can be verified
by consulting the observing schedule at:
- Three (3) weeks before your run: The electronic version of
the CFHT Guest Observer Information Sheet should be submitted to
Ms. Moani Akana who is responsible for making your local
arrangements. Questions about travel arrangements and accommodations
should be directed to Ms. Moani Akana
questions about shipping of equipment should be directed to Mrs. Laurie
- Upon completion of your observations, please fill out the electronic
version of the CFHT Observing Report.
- Visiting Astronomers bringing special equipment must inform
CFHT in advance and follow, well in advance, special instructions for
shipping, import and export procedures. Visiting Astronomers should
contact their Support astronomer for more information.
CFHT cannot give any guarantee concerning transport or customs
- WORK AT HIGH ALTITUDE
Each individual reacts differently to working at high altitude and
some individuals may experience potentially severe altitude sickness or
other medical problems. Observers proposing to work at Mauna Kea should
be medically fit for such work and not have conditions that would be
inconsistent with work at high altitude. Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope
Corporation and those acting in its behalf have no liability with
respect to the risks associated with work at the telescope by observers
or others. Every participant in an observing run at Mauna Kea should
follow the policy of his or her own employer or sponsoring agency with
respect to medical examinations and other requirements for work at high
altitude. Information on working at high altitudes can be found on the
CFHT Web site at
- TRAVEL CONDITIONS
- While at the Observatory, Hale Pohaku or Waimea, Visiting Astronomers
are subject to the authority of the CFHT Executive Director.
- Visiting Astronomers are responsible for all of their own travel
arrangements (visas, airline tickets, insurance, funds, etc.). In case
of questions or doubt, contact the agency that has supported your time
Canadian Applications Committee CFHT, c/o Director General
Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics, National Research Council Canada,
5071 W. Saanich Road, Victoria, B.C., CANADA V9E 2E7
M. le Directeur, Institut National des Sciences de l'Univers,
3, rue Michel Ange, BP 287-16, 75766 Paris
Cedex 16, France
Director, Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii,
2680 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, U.S.A.
- Cash advances cannot be provided by CFHT. Visiting
Astronomers should carry sufficient funds for their entire trip and any
travel after the run (bank machines, foreign exchange and credit card
cash advances are available in Waimea, Kona, and Hilo).
- Long distance phone calls from the summit or one of CFHT's
office at Hale Pohaku are permitted only if made with a phone card.
- The mailing address during the stay at CFHT is:
Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Corporation
65-1238 Mamalahoa Highway,
Kamuela, HI 96743 USA
A notation "Personal" on the envelope will avoid routine opening by
the mail clerk.
Phone and FAX numbers are:
Phone: (808) 885-7944 (Waimea) ----- (808) 961-2630 (Observatory)
FAX: (808) 885-7288 (Waimea) ----- (808) 935-4511 (Observatory)
E-mail: E-mail can be sent to your RunID account (not RunID
alias!). For example, have e-mail sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Driving in Hawaii is permitted with a Canadian or an
International Driving License, or with the 3-page French license. With
prior arrangements, CFHT is prepared to provide transportation between
our Waimea base facility and Hale Pohaku. Personal transportation within
the island is the responsibility of the Visiting Astronomer.
- ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE AT HALE POHAKU
Reservations for your stay at Hale Pohaku will be made by CFHT
based on the information provided on the Guest Observer Information
Form. Guest observers will find their room assignment and keys on the
reception counter just inside the front door of the main building. Sign
the form and leave it on the counter.
Rooms must be vacated before 14:00 on the day of departure to
avoid additional charges. Immediate notification must be given to
Ms. Moani Akana
Waimea for any change in the reservations made by CFHT.
The doors to the buildings at Hale Pohaku are kept locked at all
times. The front door of the main building opens with a key that
is part of the set issued to you when you check in and with a
combination. The key is also part of the key set for all CFHT vehicles. When
you are without the key (for example, when you first arrive) you can
enter by the side door (on the east side) or the front door using the
push-button lock. Ask your Support Astronomer for the
combination. Similar push-button locks with the same combination are
installed on the entrance doors to the dormitory buildings.
If you wish to use the Waimea facilities outside of normal working
hours or during a weekend or holiday, please inform your Support
Astronomer in advance in order to borrow a key.
- OBSERVING RUN
- Visiting Astronomers may execute only those programs approved by
the Time Allocation Committee. The observer(s) should be those named
in the proposal; a replacement is permitted only under exceptional
circumstances. Requests for instrumentation other than that approved
and scheduled will generally not be accepted. If a significant deviation
from an approved program is anticipated, approval to proceed must be
obtained from the CFHT Executive Director.
- A minimum level of observational experience as well as familiarity
with Instrument Users Manuals is assumed on the part of the Visiting
Astronomer. Manuals are available on World Wide Web at URL:
- MOS and SIS mask frames must be returned to the Observing
Assistant at the end of the run. If not returned, the replacement value
will be charged to the P.I. (The masks themselves may be retained.)
- CFHT STAFF
- SUPPORT ASTRONOMER
A Support Astronomer (SA) has been assigned to you, to introduce you to
the instrument and telescope, and help you with general questions or
problems before, during and after your run. If you have questions,
concerns, or special needs, please contact your SA. The technical staff
should not be directly consulted without direction from your SA. We
recommend that you contact your SA prior to your arrival so that the
desired arrangements can be made for your first night of observing. To
know which SA will support your run, please see the Observing Schedule:
- OBSERVING ASSISTANT
During your run, one or more Observing Assistant (OA) will be with you
at the telescope. Although their main task is to pilot the telescope,
they are also trained in the basic use of our most used instruments and
should be consulted if unusual or unexpected results are obtained.
The OA is responsible for the safety of the telescope, instrument and
other observatory systems and has authority to halt observing should
circumstances arise that warrant such action. In matters of health and
safety, the directives of the OA must be respected.
The OA's departure time from HP is about (sunset -1h15) and return to
HP is about (sunrise +0h15). Please plan your trips to/from the summit
accordingly (see the 2-person rule below).
- DIRECTOR OF SCIENCE OPERATIONS AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Major concerns during or after your run may be addressed to the
Executive Director (Christian Veillet -
the Director of Science Operations
(Pierre Martin -
- DRIVING TO THE SUMMIT
- 4-WHEEL-DRIVE VEHICLES
CFHT has Suburban 4x4 vehicles ("Subs") that *must* be used to drive to
the summit; no rental car is allowed past Hale Pohaku. Do not use CFHT's
2WD vehicles above Hale Pohaku.
- DRIVER'S LICENSE
Driving in Hawaii is permitted with a Canadian or an International
Driving License; the 3-page French license is also accepted. Guests
using CFHT vehicles must have a valid driver's license and, upon
request, show it to their SA.
The keys to the vehicles are in the CFHT office at Hale Pohaku, on the
2nd floor (near the window). Before taking a vehicle, make sure there
are enough cars for everyone (the OA will want his own vehicle). The key
to the observatory, and also the one for Hale Pohaku, are included with
the Sub keys. Please be sure to put your keys back on the board at the
summit and when you return to Hale Pohaku. When not used, vehicle keys
should remain in the CFHT office at Hale Pohaku or on the panel at the
- GAS TANK
Make sure you have enough gas! Running out of gas means losing power
steering and power braking. You won't be able to control a Sub without
power steering (this has happened, so yes we know for sure...), or to
stop it without power braking. Low gas is therefore a potentially VERY
DANGEROUS situation rather than just an annoyance.
If your gas tank is less than one-third full, fill up the tank. The
gas pump is located just above Hale Pohaku. First take the clipboard
that is on the front desk at HP; go up and fill the tank, using one of
the keys attached to the clipboard to unlock the pump; fill in the sheet
(observatory, # gallons, etc.); after filling the tank, return the
clipboard to the front desk before driving to the summit.
- USE OF 4-WHEEL-DRIVE:
- if desired, the SA or OA can give you basic training in the use of
the 4-wheel-drive vehicle along with safe driving practices on
Mauna Kea; please contact your SA or OA well in advance to make
- going up to the summit, stop at the beginning of the unpaved road,
on the flat portion.
- shift the vehicle into NEUTRAL (don't forget to put on the brakes!).
- shift the vehicle in 4WD mode;
- on older subs, on the floor, between the 2 seats, there is a
control for that; for 4WD, push the lever all the way forward,
to the position labeled 4L; to return to 2WD, shift back
the control on 2H (it's the 3rd position from the top one).
- on newer subs, the controls are buttons located to your left,
near the window; use the buttons with the green round stickers
on them, do not touch the buttons with the red round stickers!
Use the buttons labeled 4L and 2H.
- shift the vehicle back in D, and go up! You will feel the 4WD kick
in as you accelerate.
- don't go too fast, stay on the right side.
THE SPEED LIMIT IS 25 MPH!
- while at the summit, it is good practice to put the emergency brake
ON; if it's very windy, park into the wind so that the wind does
not tear off your door. Also, in winter, park away from the
building, and watch for falling ice.
- when driving down, if it's still dark, don't turn on the headlights
too soon, wait until you are below to the observatories; use the
parking (yellow) lights only.
- use the brakes as little as possible! Shift the vehicle into lower
- when driving from the summit to HP, stop just after the unpaved portion
of the road ends; shift vehicle in NEUTRAL, shift from 4WD to 2WD,
shift back to D and proceed; if you forget to shift back to 2WD, you
will have trouble turning the vehicle (steering is harder in 4WD).
- if there are any problems with the vehicles, please report to the
- 2-PERSON RULE
At no time is anyone allowed to be alone in the CFHT Observatory
If you want to use an instrument during the daytime, make sure
someone will accompany you (another observer) or confirm that someone
from the CFHT staff (daycrew or OA) will be there with you the entire
time. Note that the daycrew or other CFHT staff occasionally leaves as
early as 14h, so you might not always be able to rely on their presence.
For safety reasons, you are required to put your Sub keys on the
board near the elevator, along with a magnetic tag indicating that you
are in the building.
- DAYTIME OBSERVING
- EARLY CALIBRATIONS
If you want to start calibration frames before your first night (for
example, in the late afternoon), please contact your support astronomer
well in advance to check the availability of the instrument and
telescope, and to prepare the instrument and/or telescope for
you. Without prior arrangements, you should expect that the telescope
will not be available for you.
- MORNING DARKS
If you need to take darks in the morning, after your observing night,
please ask your support astronomer and OA well in advance, so that the
dome may be kept dark. Without prior arrangements, you should expect
that the telescope will not be available for you after 7am.
- AFTERNOON DOME FLATS
If you need to take dome-flats, this will probably be offered to you in
late afternoon; please ask your support astronomer and OA, so that
someone will go up early to prepare the telescope and lamps. Without
prior arrangements, you should expect that the telescope will not be
available for you.
- EARLY START OF NIGHT
If, for any reason (setup, tests, etc.), you need to start your night
early, please ask your support astronomer and OA, to ensure your plans
do not conflict with other scheduled tasks. The OA may be able to come
up a earlier to assist you.
- USE OF OTHER INSTRUMENTS
Under no circumstances are you allowed to use an instrument other than
the one currently being used at the telescope during normal observing
hours (at night). If you need to perform tests, setups, etc. before or
after your normally scheduled run, please make prior arrangements with
your Support Astronomer, who will give you instructions and guidelines
as to when you may perform your tests. The arrangements should be made
well in advance.
- EARLY END OF NIGHT
CFHT has a clear policy for early closure of the telescope due to
- In case of very bad weather, the OA may decide to evacuate the
summit; the observers must comply with this decision and not delay
- After an "Hlimit" (see table below), the scheduled astronomers
can decide that the night is over on their own.
- Before this "Hlimit", if the observers want to leave (even though
the conditions are still good enough to keep the dome open), the
Support Astronomer has to be called first (and/or the Executive
Director or Director of Science Operations if needed). Backup programs
must be prepared for when the weather is not optimum.
For your information, here is the value of "Hlimit" for each month of
- OBSERVER'S ACCOUNT AND FACILITIES
- OBSERVER'S ACCOUNT
One observer account is available per runID, during the whole semester.
To get the login and password information, please contact your
Support Astronomer or the Observing Assistant. This account may be used
at the summit, from Hale Pohaku, from Waimea, and remotely via ssh.
Reading any email that is sent to your observing account is possible in
two ways. If you are logged in at the summit or at Hale Pohaku to your
observing account and want to read mail with a unix program (mail,
mailx, pine, ...), please open a terminal window and log in to kuanalu
(in Waimea; mail is no longer available at the summit directly). The
mail is accessible from kuanalu but not from makani/mahina/onohi... If
you are using a PC with netscape/IE, a POP3 server is available on hokua.
The printers that are available are:
If you notice that we are running low on paper, please advise the OA.
- hpps at Hale Pohaku
- sps at the summit (the printer is in the back control room)
- wps at the Waimea headquarters
- TAPE BACKUPS
Observers, and not CFHT, are responsible for backing up their data. You
may backup your data on Exabyte, DAT, DSS-3 and DLT tapes, available on
both mahina and makani at the summit. The OA may assist you in using the
tape facilities. See
for more information.
Although we prefer that you bring your own tapes, it is possible for you
to purchase tapes from CFHT. Those tapes are kept in the control room, in a
locked cabinet. Please ask your OA. Charges are as follow:
|DAT ||$ 5.00|
You may bring your own laptop and plug it to our network. Please ask the
OA for a valid IP number. We also now have DHCP servers running in
Waimea, Hale Pohaku, and at the Summit for use by visitors and
staff. This means that laptops or other transient computers can be
automatically configured for network access at any of the above
locations. A computer configured this way will only have basic Internet
access and will not be able to use telnet to access the CFHT site, or
access network volumes.
- WIRELESS ACCESS
Free wireless access is available in the
Waimea headquarters and the common and office areas of the Hale Pohaku
facility. Use of computer wireless equipment at the summit, however, is
prohibited as it may interfere with radio astronomy instruments. If you
take wireless-equipped portable computers to the summit make sure you
turn off the wireless adapter before leaving Hale Pohaku. If you cannot
disable the adapter please do not bring the computer to the summit. This
applies to both 802.11b and 802.11g wireless standards.
- DISK SPACE
- If there *is* enough disk space in the instrument's account, the
observer should refrain from erasing anything.
- If there is *not* enough disk space in the instrument's account, the
observer should start by erasing the oldest data, but never erase the
data from the previous night. If you are not sure what to erase, or how
much, the OA may be of assistance, but do not hesitate to contact your
- If there is still a disk space problem, contact your SA immediately.
- CAFE DU MONT BLANC
The Cafe du Mont Blanc, located on the 4th floor of the Observatory, may
be used to prepare simple meals, eat night lunches, and relax. However,
since we do not have a regular janitorial service at the summit,
visitors are asked to keep the cafe clean and put everything away.
- WEB RESOURCES
One of our OAs has prepared an "Observer's Guide to Using Computers at
the Telescope", with useful information regarding visitor accounts,
coordinate files, using ximtool, saoimage, and skycat, writing data to
tape, laptops, mountain paging system, printer at the Summit, IRAF
hints, vi and emacs:
- CFHT web page
- Instruments page,
- Weather page
- CFHT staff
- Forms (Run
Preparation - Run Completion)
numbers for people on standby (local access only)