This presentation provides interesting miscellaneous information regarding the instrumentation activities at Paranal
Observatory. It introduces the suite of 23 instruments and auxiliary systems that are under the responsibility of the
Paranal Instrumentation group, information on the type of instruments, their usage and downtime statistics. The data is
based on comprehensive data recorded in the Paranal Night Log System and the Paranal Problem Reporting System
whose principles are explained as well. The work organization of the 15 team members around the high number of
instruments is laid out, which includes:
- Maintaining older instruments with obsolete components
- Receiving new instruments and supporting their integration and commissioning
- Contributing to future instruments in their developing phase.
The assignments of the Instrumentation staff to the actual instruments as well as auxiliary equipment (Laser Guide Star
Facility, Mask Manufacturing Unit, Cloud Observation Tool) are explained with respect to responsibility and scheduling
issues. The essential activities regarding hardware & software are presented, as well as the technical and organizational
developments within the group towards its present and future challenges.
This paper is presenting the implementation of the concept of a Visitor Instrument at the Very Large Telescope
observatory of ESO at Paranal. The focus on the Nasmyth A of Melipal UT#3 (8m telescope) is dedicated to receive
these Visitor Instruments. This concept consists in the installation of an Instrument at the Visitor focus for an observation
run for a limited period of time, and then to remove the instrument. The selection of the instrument is done according to
its scientific and innovative outcome compared to the other ESO instruments already existing in the observatory. Once
granted an observation run of several nights, the visitor Instrument has to show its compliance with the requirements of
Paranal Observatory. Then the implementation and integration of the Visitor Instrument are scheduled according to the
needs of the Institute who developed the instrument. The instrument is installed at Paranal with the support of ESO staff.
The Visitor Instrument can be operated in 2 different modes according to its level of compliance to the ESO
specifications. Immediately after the observation run is finished, the instrument is removed from the Visitor Focus.
The European Southern Observatory (ESO) operates its Very Large Telescope (VLT) on Cerro Paranal (Chile) with to date 11 scientific instruments including two interferometric instruments and their numerous auxiliary systems at 4 Unit Telescopes (UTs) and 3 Auxiliary Telescopes (ATs). The rigorous application of preventive and corrective maintenance procedures and a close monitoring of the instruments' engineering data streams are the key ingredient towards the minimization of the technical downtime of the instruments. The extensive use of standardized hardware and software components and their strict configuration control is considered crucial to efficiently manage the large number of systems with the limited human and technical resources available. A close collaboration between the instrument engineers, the instrument scientists in instrument operation teams (IOTs) turns out to be vital to maintain and to the performance of the instrumentation suite. In this paper, the necessary tools, workflows, and organizational structures to achieve these objectives are presented.
This paper presents miscellaneous activities related to instrumentation taking place at Paranal Observatory. The number of instruments and / or facilities that will eventually equip the Observatory (VLT, VLTI, VST, VISTA)is about 20. An adequate organization (human and technical)is required to ensure configuration control and efficient preventive and corrective maintenance (hardware and software). Monitoring instrument performance is a key feature to guarantee success of operations and minimize technical downtime. Some observational projects are carried out with the aim of characterizing the Paranal sky conditions in the visible and the IR, in emission and absorption. Efforts are being developed to monitor, characterize and archive the transparency conditions at night.