Observing time availability on the NMSU 1m

To increase the scientific productivity of the telescope, and in accordance with our agreement with NSF for our PREST proposal, we are making some time with the NMSU 1m available to the general community. Our agreement with NSF was to make 20 % of the time available; a larger fraction is possible for projects done in collaboration with NMSU personnel. Our agreement was that all time made available would be through robotic scheduling; no external observers will actually control the telescope.

We have not yet established a specific procedure for how to allocate the time; we prefer to see how many and what type of requests come in before doing so. One key point is that we do not want to attempt projects for which the telescope is not well suited. In particular, we want to focus on projects that do not require superb image quality and on projects that are well suited to a robotic mode of observation. We have had good experience with monitoring projects where targets are followed continually for a period of time (either over many hours in a night/nights, or over many nights). Obviously, we do better with brighter targets than with fainter ones.

Requesting observing time

We have established a observing request form through which observations can be requested. Telescope performance information that may be useful in completing this form is available here . If you have any questions about performance, how to request time, and/or special requests, please contact Jon Holtzman at holtz@nmsu.edu, (505) 646-8181. Once we receive your proposal, we will contact you about the viability and scheduling of your request. If the proposal is executed, we will inform you as observations get completed.

Retrieving data

Automatic observing logs are available publically at http://nmsu1m.apo.nmsu.edu/1m/logs.html; this pages lists the dates on which robotic observations were obtained. Each date is a link to a summary observation page giving the targets that were observed. At the top of the page is a link to the detailed Science camera image log, which gives a sequence number, target name, position, filter, exptime, etc., for each observation. Be aware that some sequence numbers may be duplicated, e.g. for focus runs, to minimize disk space usage.

All image files have the naming convention yymmdd.seq.fits where yymmdd is the UT date of observations (e.g., 070110 refers to the night of 9/10 January 2007) and seq is the sequence number, which has three digits for sequence numbers less than 1000, and 4 digits for larger sequence numbers. After a night of observations is completed, all fits files are compressed using bzip2, and transferred to the astronomy server at NMSU. In addition to the FITS files, log files are created for each target with names target.filtname (with the number of log files depending on the number of filters used), e.g. for target name COOLSTAR, there will be files COOLSTAR.u, COOLSTAR.b, COOLSTAR.v, etc. for each filter observed. These files have a line for each observing sequence, giving the start sequence number, the end sequence number and the UT date of the observation.

The FITS and log files can be retrived from http://astronomy.nmsu.edu/1m/data/yymmdd (where yymmdd is the UT date of the observation). These directories are under access control, so by default you will not be able to see or retrieve data for which you have not been granted access. In general, access will use the PI last name as the username, and single word program identifier given in your observing proposal form as the password; you can contact Jon Holtzman if you have difficulty accessing the data.

Accessing the image directories via a web browser will allow you to retrieve selected images. To retrieve an entire night, or a large block, of data, is not conveniently done using most browsers! Instead, we recommend a command line network downloader like wget or curl to retrieve files. For example, to retrieve all files from 070110, use command:
wget -r -nd --user=username --password=password http://astronomy.nmsu.edu/1m/data/070110
Or, to use curl to retrieve some subset:
curl -u username:password -C - --trace-time -O http://astronomy.nmsu.edu/1m/data/070110/070110.\[100-120\].fits.bz2