OTW2018 Introduction

Group photo

The International Telescopes Support Office in conjunction with the Australian Astronomical Observatory, Macquarie University, and the European Southern Observatory, held the 2018 ITSO/AAO Observational Techniques Workshop from midday on Monday April 30 to midday on Thursday May 3, 2018 at the AAO Headquarters in North Ryde, Sydney.

The workshop was designed to be an introduction to the optical and infrared facilities available to the Australian astronomical community, focusing primarily on the AAT and ESO facilities, and included tutorials and demonstrations where participants were able to get their hands on real data and learn how to reduce it. We were privileged to be joined by 3 experts from ESO for these sessions:

  • Dr Lowell Tacconi-Garman (Deputy Head of the User Support Department)
  • Dr Martino Romaniello (Head of the Back-end Operations Department)
  • Dr Wolfram Freudling (Head of the Science Data Products Group)

Topics covered in the workshop included:

  • Instrumentation available on the European Southern Observatory's La Silla and Paranal Observatories and the Anglo-Australian Telescope.
  • Imaging and photometry.
  • Characteristics of optical and infrared detectors, and signal-to-noise calculations.
  • Spectroscopy, including IFU spectroscopy.
  • Infrared observations, including Natural and Laser Guide Star Adaptive Optics.
  • Proposal writing, and how to impress the Time Allocation Committee.
  • Preparing your observations, and where to get help.
  • Data reduction using different packages, including ESO Reflex, astropy, R, and 2dFDR.
  • Analysing and promoting your results.

The workshop was open to all but preference was given to Australia-based students and early-career researchers. Thanks to generous sponsorship from AAL and the Australian government's National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy, there was no registration fee. Lunch (Monday through Wednesday), morning and afternoon teas was provided to all registrants.There was a workshop dinner on the Wednesday evening (6:30-8:30PM) - see the Dinner tab above for more information.

Code of Conduct

The AAO requires that participants at all our events abide by the Astronomical Society of Australia's Code of Conduct. By registering for this workshop you acknowledge that you have read this code of conduct and will respect it. Anyone who wishes to report a violation of this policy is asked to speak confidentially to one of the meeting organisers.

Remote participation

Live streaming of some sessions may be arranged on request. Please contact the organisers as below.

Organising Committee

  • Devika Kamath (Chair, Macquarie U./AAO)
  • Caroline Foster (U. Sydney)
  • Stuart Ryder (AAO)
  • Richard McDermid (Macquarie U.)
  • Tayyaba Zafar (AAO)
  • Chris Lidman (ANU)
  • Blaise Anthony Kuo Tiong (Macquarie U.)

  • Dylan Bollen (Macquarie U.)

  • James Tocknell (Macquarie U.)

  • Stefania Barsanti (Macquarie U.)
  • Tiffany Day (Macquarie U.)

  • Wilfred Gee (Macquarie U.)


Please direct all enquiries to the Chair of the Organising Committee, Dr Devika Kamath (devika.kamath@mq.edu.au).