For almost two decades, large volumes of technical data, in a variety of formats, have resulted from the normal operations at the observatory. Similarly, in the last few years, dealing with huge amounts of data has become a priority for several industries, and as consequence, terms like "Big Data" or "Data Lake" have started to be more and more commonly used. Under these circumstances, frameworks and tools have proliferated and later released as "Open Software"; the hardware, on the other hand, has also changed giving the power to deal with this volume of data in a reasonable timeframe, and at a reasonable price.
We hereafter present the first version of a modern data lab developed for the Maintenance Support and Engineering Department (MSE) at the Paranal Observatory, “The MSE DataLab”. This DataLab will allow us to take advantage of this new technological evolution and to be prepared for the current and further challenges to come. These challenges, of course, refer to improving the overall observatory dependability (Reliability, Availability and Maintainability) by supporting the operations in our current and forthcoming telescopes. First, in our Very Large Telescopes (VLT), the VLT Interferometer (VLTI) and the survey telescopes (VISTA and VST). Secondly, in the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) and the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA).
The Paranal Very Large Telescopes (VLT) Observatory is a complex multifunctional observatory where many different systems are generating telemetry parameters.As systems becoming more and more complex, also the amount of telemetry data is increasing. This telemetry data is usually saved in various data repositories.In order to obtain a full system overview, it is necessary to link all that data in a meaningful and easy to interpret way. A step forward from simple telemetry data visualisation has been done by developing a new tool that can combine different data sources and has a powerful graphing capability.This new tool, called SystMon, is developed in iPython an interactive-web browser environment under the philosophy of notebooks which combine the code and the final product. The application can be shared among other colleagues and having the code side by side gives the accessibility to inspect and review the process improving and adding new capabilities to the application. SystMon allows to manipulate, generate andvisualise data in different types of graphs and also to create directly statistical reports. SystMon helps the user tomodel, visualiseand interpret telemetry data in a web-based platform for monitoring the health of systems, understanding short- and long-term behaviour and to anticipate corrective interventions.
In November 2012, we installed an L-band annular groove phase mask (AGPM) vector vortex coronagraph (VVC) inside NACO, the adaptive optics camera of ESO’s Very Large Telescope. The mask, made out of diamond subwavelength gratings has been commissioned, science qualified, and is now offered to the community. Here we report ground-breaking on-sky performance levels in terms of contrast, inner working angle, and discovery space. This new practical demonstration of the VVC, coming a few years after Palomar’s and recent record-breaking lab experiments in the visible (E. Serabyn et al. 2013, these proceedings), shows once again that this new-generation coronagraph has reached a high level of maturity.
GIRAFFE is an intermediate resolution spectrograph covering a wavelength range from 360-930nm and fed by
optical fibers as a part of FLAMES, the multi-object fiber facility mounted at the ESO VLT Kueyen. For some time we sought a new detector for GIRAFFE spectrograph to boost the instrument's red QE (Quantum Efficiency) capabilities, while still retaining very good blue response. We aimed also at reducing the strong fringing present in the red spectra. The adopted solution was an e2v custom 2-layer AR (Anti-Reflection) coated Deep Depletion CCD44-82 CCD. This device was made in a new e2v Technologies AR coating plant and delivered to ESO in mid 2007 with performance that matches predictions. The new CCD was commissioned in May 2008. Here we report on the results.