15 July 2016 Operational metrics for the ESO Very Large Telescope: lessons learned and future steps
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Abstract
When ESO’s Very Large Telescope opened its first dome in April 1999 it was the first ground-based facility to offer to the scientific community access to an 8-10m class telescope with both classical and queue observing. The latter was considered to be the most promising way to ensure the observing flexibility necessary to execute the most demanding scientific programmes under the required, usually very well defined, conditions.

Since then new instruments have become operational and 1st generation ones replaced, filling the 12 VLT foci and feeding the VLT Interferometer and its four Auxiliary Telescopes. Operating efficiently such a broad range of instruments installed and available every night of the year on four 8-metre telescopes offers many challenges. Although it may appear that little has changed since 1999, the underlying VLT operational model has evolved in order to accommodate different requirements from the user community and features of new instruments.

Did it fulfil its original goal and, if so, how well? How did it evolve? What are the lessons learned after more than 15 years of operations? A careful analysis and monitoring of statistics and trends in Phase 1 and Phase 2 has been deployed under the DOME (Dashboard for Operational Metrics at ESO) project. The main goal of DOME is to provide robust metrics that can be followed with time in a user-friendly manner. Here, we summarize the main findings on the handling of service mode observations and present the most recent developments.
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F. Primas, F. Primas, S. Marteau, S. Marteau, L. E. Tacconi-Garman, L. E. Tacconi-Garman, V. Mainieri, V. Mainieri, S. Mysore, S. Mysore, M. Rejkuba, M. Rejkuba, M. Hilker, M. Hilker, F. Patat, F. Patat, M. Sterzik, M. Sterzik, A. Kaufer, A. Kaufer, S. Mieske, S. Mieske, } "Operational metrics for the ESO Very Large Telescope: lessons learned and future steps", Proc. SPIE 9910, Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems VI, 991002 (15 July 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2233588; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2233588
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