Guidelines for AAT Observers
A "Must-do" Checklist
You must use the WWW travel form to
keep us informed of your plans.
All observers must read the Safety Guidelines.
Make contact with your support astronomer well in advance of your run.
Fill out your Observer's
Report Form at the end of your last night.
Travel, Accommodation & Arriving at the AAT
Due to changed staffing arrangements, effective from 1 January
2008, the AAO will no longer be able to offer a personalised
booking service for visiting observers
. The AAO will require
external users/observers to make their own bookings and travel
arrangements to Epping and SSO. The AAO will no longer make bookings
on behalf of those users. The travel
on the AAO web contain many useful accommodation and
It is each observer's responsibility to book the SSO lodge
and organise transportation
for their visit.
Once accommodation and travel arrangements have been confirmed, you
will still need to advise the AAO of your plans by filling out our Observer Travel form. You will
be able to indicate on this form if you require car hire or a taxi if
you are flying to/from Dubbo. Please inform your support astronomer
and the AAT admin (Katrina Harley ; aatadmin -@- aao.gov.au) of any subsequent
changes to your travel arrangements.
Visiting observers from most countries, including the United Kingdom
and the USA, will need to apply for an
Electronic Travel Authority (ETA)
in order to enter Australia. You can apply for an ETA online by going to
Visiting observers who are not eligible to apply for an ETA will need to
contact their nearest
visa office. Please contact Helen Woods (hmw -@- aao.gov.au) if you
require an official letter in support of your visa application.
A study desk, torch/flashlight, and AAT keycard will be allocated for
your use at the telescope. If you arrive at night, the AAT building will
be locked (though the ANU Lodge will not). You may phone the night assistant
from the AAT entrance to request admission to pick up your keycard.
Observers will also find information on their study desks about visitor
computer accounts, connecting laptops, etc.
Visits and Talks at Epping
We encourage observers to visit the AAO Laboratory in Epping, Sydney. In
particular, we encourage visitors to present colloquia -- please contact
Quentin Parker (qap -@- ics.mq.edu.au)
if you would like to give us a talk. Funding is available from the AAO for
a night's subsistence and accommodation in Sydney to assist this.
Facilities available at the AAO in Epping include a library,
PCs, Linux and UNIX workstations running Starlink, IRAF, and IDL software.
Please let us know your requirements.
A night assistant and technical support are always provided at the telescope.
A support astronomer (noted on the schedule) is available to advise on
your observations, and will assist at the telescope if required. He or
she will usually contact you a month or so before your observing run. If
you wish to contact them ahead of time, see the Schedule Notes near the
bottom of the schedule for their e-mail address.
The AAO strongly encourages students to attend and participate in observing
runs. However, all students must be accompanied throughout by their supervisor,
or a suitably-qualified colleague (postdoc-level or above). Under certain
circumstances, suitably-experienced graduate students may observe on their
own at the AAT, but only with the prior written permission of the AAO Director.
You are strongly encouraged to arrive at the telescope one
day prior to your observing run. The trip from Sydney can be a long one,
and may not leave sufficient time to set-up for your run if you arrive
on the day your run starts. This problem is even worse for instruments
requiring complex set-ups like 2dF.
- If your required set-up changes from that which you originally proposed,
it is essential that you contact your support astronomer (see schedule),
and the AAT scheduler (sched -@- aao.gov.au)
to inform them of the change. Significant changes made at the last minute
may be difficult, or impossible, for the telescope staff to accommodate.
2dF observers should thoroughly familiarise themselves with the documentation
available on the 2dF + AAOmega
home page, which includes the 2dF Manual, Information for Observers,
and a list of Frequently Asked Questions.
2dF is a very complex instrument!
We have developed a list of
"Frequently Made Mistakes",
available from the
2dF + AAOmega WWW page, and which we encourage observers to read.
You should liaise with your support astronomer before your run if there is
anything which is unclear. Because of the complexity
of 2dF set-ups, it is essential you are ready to begin work by 4 hours
before dark on the day of your run. For this reason 2dF observers must
always arrive at the telescope on the day before. Many problems can be
fixed if they are caught the day before observing starts!
Seeing measurements are usually made at the start of each night using
a Differential Image Motion Monitor (DIMM), causing interruptions of
several minutes during twilight. We ask observers to be patient with this
small loss of time.
Every observer should fill out an
Observer's Report Form
towards the end of their last night. The information provided in these forms is
vital to the continued improvement in the Observatory's facilities.
You are encouraged to bring your own writable DVDs, as AAO-supplied
DVDs will be charged for. Writeable CDs are supplied free of charge.
Observers must also pay for their overseas telephone calls. Please settle
debts with Rhonda Martin in the AAT Reception before your departure; the
AAO accepts Visa, MasterCard and Bankcard. These charges are
separate from the accommodation charges payable to the
AATAC can award time to over-ride programs. The
guidelines under which these programs operate can be found
In general, no one scheduled program can be over-ridden for more than 3
hours without payback.
Safety at the AAT
- Dome Safety: The following is excerpt is taken from the AAT Safety Guidelines which every observer
will find on their desk when they arrive at the AAT. Observers
follow these guidelines at all times.
Admission to areas of the AAT building above Floor 2 is allowed
only with the permission of an observatory staff member. Only the current
observers should be at the control room level. No-one (observers
included!) may enter the dome at night without the knowledge and
approval of the night assistant, whether to check the instrument or the
weather etc. Everyone entering the dome at night must collect a
torch/flashlight and carry it with them at all times. Anyone unfamiliar
with the telescope or dome should ask for a 5 minute orientation tour.
Please ensure that your colleagues appreciate these requirements.
See also Dome Safety.
- Bushfire Safety: Bushfires (also known as forest fires or wildfires) present a very real
risk to the observatory site each summer (November to March). Visiting observers
are especially at risk. Please ensure you have read the document describing
Fire Procedures during Bushfire Season for Siding Spring Observatory.
Bushfires can change quickly and unpredictably and so visitor familiarity with these
procedures during the summer months is of paramount importance.
Preprints and Reprints
It is important that we maintain complete records of publications based
on AAT and UKST observations. Please inform the Epping Librarian (lib -@-
aao.gov.au) of any published and conference papers. We also request an
acknowledgement to the AAO in any publications which result from use of the
Observers awarded time with a Visitor Instrument are encouraged to examine
the Guidelines for Visitor
to ensure their instrument arrives in time for their run to
Heath Jones, aatac -@- aao.gov.au