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Guidelines for AAT Observers

A "Must-do" Checklist

  1. You must use the WWW travel form to keep us informed of your plans.
  2. All observers must read the Safety Guidelines.
  3. Make contact with your support astronomer well in advance of your run.
  4. 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 pages on the AAO web contain many useful accommodation and transportation links. 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 http://www.eta.immi.gov.au/. Visiting observers who are not eligible to apply for an ETA will need to contact their nearest Australian 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.

Observing Guidelines

Override Programs

AATAC can award time to over-ride programs. The guidelines under which these programs operate can be found here. In general, no one scheduled program can be over-ridden for more than 3 hours without payback.

Safety at the AAT

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 facilities.

Visitor Instruments

Observers awarded time with a Visitor Instrument are encouraged to examine the Guidelines for Visitor Instruments to ensure their instrument arrives in time for their run to go smoothly.
Heath Jones, aatac -@- aao.gov.au