We are initiating a program to upgrade the current Telescope Operators(TOs) to Observing Assistants (OAs). The major goal of this program is to provide better support for visiting astronomers. We will offer a support team consisting of a Support Astronomer (SA) and Observing Assistant for each run. The main duties of the OAs include (in addition to the current TO duties):
OA training has begun and will continue indefinitely as the OAs become proficient in using the various instruments and facilities which CFHT provides. Initially we are concentrating our efforts on the most utilized instruments, MOS/OSIS and AOB, and in the area of detectors. Once the CFHT12K Mosaic imager is available, the OAs will include this in their repertoire.
This program will take time to fully implement to the point where OAs are able to perform service observing. However, we are committed to having the OAs become more involved in the support and operation of CFHT instrumentation and believe that this will lead to more effective use of the telescope.