11 July 2016 Evolution of operations for the Survey Telescope at Paranal
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Abstract
Since 2009, operations began at the Survey Telescopes at Paranal Observatory. The surveys aimed to observe using a large field of view targeting much fainter sources and covering wide areas of sky quickly. The first to enter operations was VISTA (Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy) and then the VST Telescope (VLT Survey Telescope). The survey telescopes introduced a change into the operational model of the time. The observations were wholly conducted by the telescope and instrument operator without the aid of a support astronomer. This prompted the gradual and steady improvement of tools for the operation of the observatory both generally and in particular for the Survey Telescopes. Examples of these enhancements include control systems for image quality, selection of OBs, logging of evening activities, among others. However, the new generation instruments at the Very Large Telescope (VLT) posed a new challenge to the observatory from a scientific and operational point of view. As these new systems were more demanding and complex, they would be more complicated to operate and require additional support. Hence, the focus of this study is to explore the possible development and optimization of the operations of the Survey telescopes, which would give greater operational flexibility in regards to the new generation instruments. Moreover, we aim to evaluate the feasibility of redistributing of telescope operators during periods of increased demand from other VLT systems.
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Cristian Marcelo Romero, Steffen Mieske, Stéphane Brillant, Andres Pino, Susana Cerda, Claudia Reyes, Carlos La Fuente, "Evolution of operations for the Survey Telescope at Paranal", Proc. SPIE 9910, Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems VI, 99102Y (11 July 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2231888; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2231888
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