ROF Manual

ROF Schedule

User Support

Keck RO Reservations

Palomar RO Reservations

Other Reservations

Cahill Visitors

ROF Feedback

Palomar Observatory

Keck Observatory

Caltech Optical Observatories

Caltech Astronomy

California Institute of Technology

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.

ROF Manual

We have an extensive manual for Cahill ROF, available in HTML. 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.

ROF Reservations and Schedule

Reservations for using Cahill ROF are arranged through your Keck RO request, Palomar RO request, or for other facilities/uses by sending email to rof [at] (also see Other Observatories/Uses 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]

118 Cahill Videoconference

118 Cahill Videoconference Equipment

Non-Caltech Users

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], or faxed to Richard Walters (rsw [at] 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.

User Support

Cahill ROF user support can be requested at rof [at] First-time users are particularly encouraged to review the ROF Manual.

ROF Reservations: Keck Remote Observing

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.

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.

118 Cahill Computer Workstation

118 Cahill Instrument Control Workstation/Remote NIRC2 VNC Session

ROF Reservations: Palomar Remote Observing

Palomar RO is available to experienced Palomar observers on TripleSpec, WIRC, WaSP, DBSP, and CHIMERA, from ROF2/144 Cahill.

P200 RO requests are submitted through the web-based Palomar RO request portal. Palomar RO requests will receive a response within three (3) business days of submission. P200 RO requests should be submitted at least four (4) weeks in advance of the scheduled observing run (other requests will be supported on a best-effort basis).

For more extensive P200 RO information please see our P200 RO Guidelines.

ROF Reservations: Other Observatories/Uses

If you are planning remote observing/participation at another facility (e.g. IRTF), or just a videoconference, you may request your ROF reservation directly with rof [at]; 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) and 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.

For the Non-Cognoscenti: Cahill Visitor Logistics

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 COO Cahill logistics page.

ROF Feedback

We are interested in improving RO based on your experience. Please share your feedback on Cahill ROF facilities and processes at our COO Feedback page.

Cahill Center

Cahill Center/NE Corner

Cahill ROF Page/ v 0.8.1
Last updated: 15 October 2019 ACM/AFB