Queued Service Observations

Table of Content

Current News and Events Pre-semester information During Observations Post Observations Information
News (Phase1 and PH2) QSO and QSO SNR mode Observations Reduction
2017B 2018A Instruments Night Reports DADS
TOO Phase 1 Statistics Proprietary time
Contact PH2 TOO Archived information

Current News and Events [ Return to top ]

News

The MegaCam jukebox has experienced a mechanical failure on July 5/6. WIRCam has been mounted on the telescope instead starting on July 6. The current plan is to install MegaCam on Tuesday July 17, for a short 3-night run. The Moon phase precludes having a longer run.

The SPIRou commissionning continued during the May run. More tests are planned for a run in late July.

PH2 for semester 2018B is open; the deadline is July 16 at 23h59 UT. The final telescope schedule will only be known after the 2018B-2022A Large Programs have been selected, which is scheduled to happen in mid-July.

The lists of programs accepted for 2018A are available for MegaCam, WIRCam, ESPaDOnS, and SITELLE.

The lists of programs accepted for 2018B are available for MegaCam, WIRCam, ESPaDOnS, and SITELLE.

New! Starting with semester 2017A, MegaCam and ESPaDOnS will be operated under the QSO-SNR mode. Only certain programs will be exempted from using the SNR mode. Please read the QSO-SNR mode page for details.

You may request information at any time by emailing qsoteam -=at=- cfht.hawaii.edu .

To obtain information on the progress of your program, please consult the QSO Night Reports



QrunID Instrument HST Dates # Nights Status Run Summary
17BQ18/
18AQ01
ESPaDOnS Jan 29-31 &
Feb 1 - 6
9 Done This was a poor run for ESPaDOnS: about 56 hours were lost to high humidity, high winds, clouds, or precipitation. We only obtained about 30 hours of validated observations; a significant fraction of those were affected by unusually poor Image Quality, above 1.5 arcsec.
18AQ02 MegaCam Feb 7 - 22 16 Done The run started with photometric skies, but the Image Quality has quite poor and well over 1.2" for the first 3 nights or so. Then the weather degraded, and almost 95 hours were lost to bad weather (high humidity, fog, ice, snow, overcast skies).
18AQ03 WIRCam Feb 23 - Mar 4 10 Done Due to bad weather, the exchange to WIRCam was postponed to Feb 26. The bad weather extended well into the run. Fewer than 4.5h of open shutter time were obtained and validated for the whole run. None of the 17B programs we were planning to observe were executed.
ENG SPIRou Mar 5 Done The first SPIRou on-sky tests concentrated on acquisition and guiding. The night was very productive, and the results of the tests very positive.
18AQ04 MegaCam Mar 6 - 22 17 Done The data taken Mar 6/7 were contaminated by high levels of electronic noise; the issue was solved in time for the Mar 7/8 night. A miserable run: 128 hours were lost to weather, and we only validated 30 hours of data (this number includes the readout time).
18AQ05 WIRCam Mar 23 - Apr 3 12 Done We have obtained about 18h of validated observations. A little over 93h were lost to bad weather (high humidity, fog, precipitation, clouds, or high winds.)
ENG SPIRou Apr 4 Done The whole night was lost to high humidity. The plan had been to continue testing the Cassegrain unit (the fibers have not yet been routed between the Cass unit and the spectrograph, and the spectrograph itself is not quite cold enough yet). On-sky tests are scheduled for a few nights starting on April 24.
18AQ06 MegaCam Apr 5 - 23 19 Done The bad weather continues... 145 hours were lost to weather, and we were able to obtain and validated 20 hours of observations. The best night was the last one.
18AQ07 SPIRou Apr 24 - May 2 8 Done CFHT is pleased to report that SPIRou saw its first light on April 24, using AD Leo. This run was for engineering tests of the whole intrument, including guiding, focus, test of the ADC, throughput, and RV stability under various conditions. A total of 470 on-sky spectra have been obtained, some taken under photometric conditions.
18AQ08 SITELLE May 3 - 13 11 Done About 33h were lost to bad weather, and 1h was lost to the Telescope Control System and its focus mechanism. The exceptionnaly long stretch of bad weather that afflicted semester 2018A from its beginning started to dissipate, and the last 2 nights of the SITELLE run were for the most part photometric.
18AQ09 MegaCam May 14 - 22 9 Done The improved weather continued during the MegaCam run: only 7h were lost to weather. The MegaCam guider had a minor issue which cost 30min of observing time. The QSO Team is focussing on the Large Programs and highly ranked programs, as much as possible. The completion rate of all programs is not expected to be great even by the end of the semestre.
18AQ10 SPIRou May 23 - 29 7 Done A mix of sky conditions allowed the use and test of SPIRou under various conditions. Out of the 7 nights, 2.5 were lost to thick clouds and humidity. Four hours were lost to a technical issue with the guider (faulty connector and loose cable), and we are happy that there were very few software issues. Data were obtained to test or characterize the spectral resolution, polarization sensitivity in lines, radial velocity stability, impact of focus on RV stability, telluric standard stars, M star mask, focus model, thermal sky background, Atmospheric Disperson Corrector, and the cold stop alignment.
18AQ11 WIRCam May 30 - June 4 6 Done Sky conditions were quite variable during this run, but only 8h were lost to weather (thick clouds). There were no technical issues. This was the last WIRCam run of the semester. The improved weather did not bring enough of a miracle: only 40% of A programs hours and 17% of B programs hours have been validated.
18AQ12 MegaCam Jun 5 - 19 15 Done From a technical point of view, this was a very smooth MegaCam run, with no issue. The weather has been improving, and 54 hours were lost to high humidity and fog, or, less often, clouds.
18AQ13 ESPaDOnS Jun 20 - Jul 4 15 Done We had 8 solid nights with photometric skies, especially at the beginning of the run. Clouds and high humidity affected the latter part of the run (18h lost to weather). Note that before the start of the run, we encountered a technical issue with the spectrograph focusing stage, which would sometimes refuse to move. To ensure a smooth run and not risk damaging the stage, we decided to set the spectrograph focus at the optimal value for the Star + Sky observing mode and leave it there for the whole run; the focus was therefore not optimal for Star Only and Polarimetric observations, however we were only 6-7 microns out of focus for these 2 modes, or 3-4 microns on the detector.
18AQ14 MegaCam Jul 5 1 Done The jukebox had a mechanical failure at the end of the first night. An emergency exchange to WIRCam has been scheduled.
18AQ15 WIRCam Jul 6 - 15 10 Started  
18AQ16 MegaCam Jul 16 - 19 4 Not Started  
18AQ17 ESPaDOnS Jul 20 - 25 6 Not Started The start and end dates fo this run might change, depending on the status of MegaCam.
18AQ18 SPIRou Jul 26 - Aug 5 11 Not Started If this run goes extremely well, it might get shortened to give MegaCam a few more nights at the beginning of August.


The 2017B information has been archived.

TOO

The QSO mode is well-adapted for target-of-opportunity (TOO) programs. If you want to submit unpredictable or time-critical TOO observations (e.g.: Gamma Ray Bursts, supernova) to be carried out in a queue mode with MegaCam, WIRCam, ESPaDOnS or SITELLE at any time during the current semester, you must use NorthStar and create a new proposal (see button at the bottom of the page after you've logged in) using "Director Discretionary" as the chosen community.

The CFHT Executive Director reviews each Discretionary Time proposal. If telescope time is allocated, the QSO Team will ask the PI to fill in the required PH2 information.

Contact

You need to contact the QSO Team? Please send an email to qsoteam -=at=- cfht.hawaii.edu. During a QSO run, communication between the investigators and the QSO Team will be done exclusively through the QSO Coordinator, not the QSO observer. For the status of your program, please refer first to the Web night reports (below).

Informations for Semester Preparation [ Return to top ]

QSO

The main concept behind the QSO mode is to execute programs only during the sky conditions (seeing, background, clouds, etc.) requested by Principals Investigators (PIs) in order to meet the programs' science goals. This is achieved by grouping all programs in a database and by selecting appropriate observations according to a set of constraints, rules and sky conditions. Programs are then carried out by a well trained, local team of observers in a service mode (i.e. investigators are not present at the observatory).

QSO SNR mode

The QSO-SNR mode has been tested on ESPaDOnS and MegaCam for a few semesters now. Following a SAC recommendation, the QSO-SNR mode will be the default operational mode for ESPaDOnS and MegaCam, starting in 2017A.

This mode is NOT used for non-sidereal observations, very short exposures of 30 seconds or less, or observations that require fixed exposure times designed to ensure a specific spacing in time between observations.

The QSO SNR page explains how the QSO SNR mode works.

Instruments

The QSO mode is offered with CFHT's 4 main instruments, the visible imager MegaCam, the infrared imager WIRCam, the spectropolarimeter ESPaDOnS, and the optical imaging Fourier transform spectrometer SITELLE. Each instrument has a web page which offers technical details and help about observations:

Instruments offered in QSO mode
MegaCam WIRCam ESPaDOnS SITELLE
Exposure time calculators
DIET for MegaCam DIET for WIRCam ETC for ESPaDOnS ETC for SITELLE

Phase 1 tool

The first step for applying for time in a queue mode is to submit a proposal to the Time Allocation Committee. For all agencies except UH and Opticon, this must be done through CFHT's Phase 1 tool.

CFHT is using the Northstar Phase 1 tool, adapted for CFHT. Please read the PH1 tutorials (MegaCam, WIRCam, ESPaDOnS, SITELLE) and NorthStar HelpFiles carefully!

Starting with semester 2017A, QSO-SNR mode will be the default operational mode for ESPaDOnS and MegaCam.

This mode is NOT used for non-sidereal observations, very short exposures of 30 seconds or less, or observations that require fixed exposure times designed to ensure a specific spacing in time between observations.

To opt out of the SNR mode, PI must include a justification in their proposal. All proposals, whether they will be performed with the SNR mode or not, must request the number of hours needed to reach the scientific goals under specific sky constraints, and justify the exposure times and corresponding SNR. In particular, please ensure you have added calculations from the relevant Exposure Time Calculator.

Please consult the QSO SNR mode page for details.

It is STRONGLY recommended to carefully read the relevant document before starting your Phase 1.

Those documents are updated with new information before each semester. Investigators should spend some time to familiarize themselves with the QSO concept, the characteristics of the instruments, and the general procedures.

Quick checklist for Phase 1:
  • You have checked the PDF file for the proposal.
  • You have used the appropriate EXPOSURE TIME CALCULATOR.
  • You have requested time in HOURS (e.g. 14.7h).
  • You have included EXAMPLES OF EXPOSURE TIME CALCULATION.
  • If you program cannot be performed under the QSO SNR mode, YOU HAVE JUSTIFIED WHY.
  • Your requested time includes the appropriate OVERHEADS: readout time, telescope slews if appropriate.
    For the correct values to use, please see the instruments' tutorials.
  • If your program is a Snapshot program, it requests bad sky conditions (bad Image Quality or high extinction), is simple, and is made of short observations.
  • You have included on-sky calibrations if needed and if not already taken care of by the QSO Team (e.g.: photometric standard stars for narrow-band filters; spectroscopic standard stars).
  • You have contacted the QSO Team for any question or concern.

PLEASE REMEMBER YOUR PASSWORD! CFHT cannot retrieve NorthStar passwords, so if you have forgotten your login information, use the "Forgotten password?" option on the login page or register again.

CFHT Phase 1 tool MegaCam tutorial WIRCam tutorial ESPaDOnS tutorial SITELLE tutorial
NorthStar access MegaCam WIRCam ESPaDOnS SITELLE

For more information concerning the QSO Project and for any help during the preparation of your queue proposal, contact the QSO Team (qsoteam -=at=- cfht.hawaii.edu).

PH2

PH2 is a sophisticated Web based tool designed specifically for the Phase 2 submission of observations with MegaCam, WIRCam, and ESPaDOnS, and available from the CFHT Web site.

Accepted proposals can be entered in PH2 usually in June for the "B" semesters, and in November for the "A" semesters. The deadlines might vary for each instrument, or for different agencies. .

  1. The telescope schedule is prepared after PIs have all entered their PH2; if not knowing the telescope schedule in advance causes problems for your PH2, please email qsoteam -=at=- cfht.hawaii.edu for further instructions.
  2. If you have any question or comment, please email the QSO Team (qsoteam -=at=- cfht.hawaii.edu). Do NOT email individual members of the team, because this can delay answers depending on each member's schedule.

PH2 Documentation and Tutorials

Two short documents present How QSO works at CFHT and the General Principals of Phase 2 (PH2). Each document starts with an Abstract and a set of keywords, to help users find topics of interest. All users are encouraged to read those documents at least once, which should take about 15 minutes.

The tutorials for each instrument start with a short section at the top to summarize the basics of PH2. A Table of Content and links throughout the tutorials ease navigation. The tutorials are available within PH2 through the "Tutorial" button, or directly from the following links:

CFHT Phase 2 tool MegaCam tutorial WIRCam tutorial ESPaDOnS tutorial SITELLE tutorial
Open PH2 PH2 Tutorial for MegaCam PH2 Tutorial for WIRCam PH2 Tutorial for ESPaDOnS PH2 Tutorial for SITELLE
Exposure time calculators
DIET for MegaCam DIET for WIRCam ETC for ESPaDOnS ETC for SITELLE

When ready, you may login to PH2:

If you get an error message that says "... can't establish a connection to the server at qso.cfht.hawaii.edu:2001...", please check the firewall on your machine and/or provider. Port 2001 is a non-traditional http port that might be blocked in the path to your internet.

If you are not already familiar with the instruments offered, you should consult the respective Web pages:

Instruments offered in QSO mode
MegaCam WIRCam ESPaDOnS SITELLE



Informations useful during Observations [ Return to top ]

Observations

Each day during a QSO run, a CFHT astronomer prepares various queues suitable for the coming night, based on PI requests for Image Quality and sky conditions, and ranking of the programs. "A" programs are given priority, followed by "B", "C", and Snapshot programs. Queues are also made as much as possible to give each agency its share of the night; if an agency has 30% of the allocated time on a given instrument, it will be found on average in about 30% of each queue. At night, depending on the sky conditions, the CFHT Remote Observer selects and executes one or more queues. Each exposure receives a grade indicating the quality of the data (grades 1 and 2 are good for the science proposed), and most exposures also receive comments about sky conditions, technical issues, etc. The next morning, a CFHT astronomer reviews those grades and comments, and validates exposures which are good enough for the science goals proposed; only validated exposures are taken out of a PI's allocated time. Exposures which are not validated will be tried again if possible.

Night Reports

During a semester, night reports are available after the QSO Team has performed the data evaluation for the previous night. The night reports also allow the user to extract the current status of any QSO program. Therefore, it is not necessary to contact the QSO Team to know what's happening with an observing program. More information, notably regarding the weather conditions and data distribution, have also been added to these reports. Statistics on the QSO mode are also published during the current semester (see next section).

Statistics

The current statistics on the QSO mode are available. This includes the time distribution for the different Agencies as well as some global numbers on the programs.

TOO

The QSO mode is well-adapted for target-of-opportunity (TOO) programs. If you want to submit unpredictable or time-critical TOO observations (e.g.: Gamma Ray Bursts, supernova) to be carried out in a queue mode with MegaCam, WIRCam, ESPaDOnS or SITELLE at any time during the current semester, you must use NorthStar and create a new proposal (see button at the bottom of the page after you've logged in) using "Director Discretionary" as the chosen community.

The CFHT Executive Director reviews each Discretionary Time proposal. If telescope time is allocated, the QSO Team will ask the PI to fill in the required PH2 information.

Information useful after Observations [ Return to top ]

Reduction

Data are detrended or processed after each run (MegaPrime and WIRCam; SITELLE) or reduced after each night (ESPaDOnS) by a team of astronomers and software engineers. PIs who request immediate (or quick) access to their data can receive raw data or detrended data as soon as available. When data are ready, PIs receive an email from CFHT with the location of their data; the data (detrended, and raw for some instruments), documentation, instructions, and metadata are downloadable from a private URL with a unique key sent to PIs.

Each instrument has its own data reduction pipeline, maintained by CFHT astronomers and software engineers:

DADS

The DADS Team distributed data to PIs. At the beginning of each semester or when data are available, PIs receive information on how to retrieve their data.

CFHT offers a tool called cfhtget, which can be used to efficiently retrieve ESPaDOnS data: MacOSX and Linux versions are available.

Proprietary period

The proprietary period of QSO data extends by default to 1 year + 1 month starting at the end of the QSO semester. For instance, data taken for the 2009B semester (August 1 - January 31) will have a default release date set to 02/28/2011. The extra month is allowed because of possible delays in the data reduction distribution of observations carried out near the end of a semester. If an extension is requested during the Phase 1 period and is approved by TAC, a new date will be set for this program through the QSO system. This release date for the QSO data is indicated in the fits headers by the keyword REL_DATE.

Note: Since data can be taken at almost any time during a semester in a queue mode, it will not be possible to change the release date after the beginning of a semester.

For snapshot programs, the proprietary period is three months following the end of the semester. The CFHTLS data have a different release date, regarding the proprietary period system supported by the Board of Directors.

Archived information