Caltech Remote Observing Facilities
Caltech Astronomy remote observing facilities (here ROF) are maintained in 118 and 144 Cahill for remote observing/participation (here RO) at Keck Observatory, Palomar Observatory, and other remote sites. The Cahill ROF are equipped with videoconference and computer facilities to support remote observations and interaction.
Reservations for Non-Caltech Users
We have an extensive manual for Cahill ROF, available in HTML and PDF. The ROF manual contains descriptions of operations procedures; recipes, and scripts for connecting to remote observatories; and contact lists for questions and support. The ROF manual is also available in hardcopy in the two ROF rooms.
Figure 1: 118 Cahill Videoconference Hardware
Reservations for using Cahill ROF are arranged through your Keck RO request (see Sect 4 below), Palomar RO request (see Sect 5 below), or for other facilities, uses by sending email to rof [at] astro.caltech.edu (also see Sect 6 below for important notes).
The on-line schedules for the Cahill ROF can be viewed at:
|ROF1 – 118 Cahill||ROF2 – 144 Cahill|
Access to Cahill and the ROF is through Caltech card keys. Many users will already have card-key access to Cahill ROF; if you don't, guest card-key access can be arranged through email to rof [at] astro.caltech.edu.
Note: Non-Caltech users of Cahill ROF are required to submit a signed Facilities Use Agreement (FUA; PDF) before they can be granted access to card-keys and Cahill ROF. Signed FUAs can be scanned and submitted to rof [at] astro.caltech.edu, or faxed to Richard Walters (rsw [at] astro.caltech.edu) at 626/568-1517.Filing a FUA is particularly relevant for NASA-Keck users; please see the NExScI instructions for NASA-observer use of Cahill ROF.
Figure 2: 118 Cahill Instrument Control Workstation/Remote NIRC2 VNC Session
If you are planning remote observing at Keck, then please see the WMKO Instructions for Keck Remote Observing. In particular, Keck remote ("mainland") observing reservations are now booked through an on-line reservation form linked from the WMKO Observer Login Page. Please note that WMKO requires as much as four (4) weeks lead time in filing the remote observing request – so please plan accordingly.
Alternatively, users can still make their remote observing requests through the older email mechanism; please use our template email Keck/Cahill ROF remote observing request form. Please be advised: although this email form is still accepted for RO requests, WMKO encourages users to go through the web-booking portal described above. [Note: if requests are being submitted by individuals other than the assigned observing time PI, then the PI for the relevant observing time must be copied on the ROF request.]For NASA-Keck users: please see the NExScI instructions for NASA-observer use of Cahill ROF.
Users with approved remote observing sessions will be advised by WMKO of required checkout and coordination steps, and by Cahill ROF support personnel on reservation status and ROF demo appointments.
TripleSpec, WIRC, and DBSP RO to experienced Caltech observers from ROF2/144 Cahill.
P200 RO is being offered on a shared-risk basis (Palomar RO infrastructure and procedures are still in development & testing, so shared-risk remote observers risk that their run may be adversely impacted by technical issues), and only to users with previous experience with the RO-available instrumentation. But by helping us "beta-test" P200 RO you help us refine our RO infrastructure, and make the experience better for all.
P200 RO requests should be submitted at least two (2) weeks in advance of the scheduled observing run (other requests will be supported on a best-effort basis), and the request must be made in email by the investigation PI. Please use our template email P200 remote observing request. Palomar RO requests will receive a response within three (3) business days.
rof [at] astro.caltech.edu ; please request your ROF reservation at least one (1) week in advance (other requests will be supported on a best-effort basis). In your request please indicate the UTC observing date(s) & hours, the remote facility and instrument, and any support requirements beyond videoconference and computer connection. ROF support staff will advise you on your request status within three (3) business days.
To facilitate submitting the required information, please use our template email generic Cahill ROF request form. [Note: if requests are being submitted by individuals other than the assigned observing time PI, then the PI for the relevant observing time must be copied on the ROF request.]
Please note that support of Keck (ROF1) and Palomar (ROF2) remote observing is our first priority for Cahill ROF; other uses will be accommodated as the ROF are available, and may be preempted.
The Cahill ROF are on the first floor of the Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics on the Caltech campus.
Cahill is located on the South
perimeter of campus, at 1216
E California Blvd, adjacent to the Keith
Spaulding Bldg and the Caltech athletic facilities. Cahill visitors
can find a summary of relevant information on our
Cahill logistics page.
Figure 3: Cahill Center/NE Corner
COO Feedback page