OTW2014 Introduction

The Australian Gemini Office in conjunction with the Australian Astronomical Observatory has held the 2014 AusGO/AAO Observational Techniques Workshop from midday on Tuesday April 1 to midday on Friday April 4, 2014 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, and included tutorials and demonstrations where participants could get their hands on real data and learn how to reduce it.

The finalised program and speaker presentations is available here and the participant list is here. Presentations were given by AAO staff and other local experts, and Dr Emma Hogan from Gemini was available to help with software installation and data reduction tutorials. Topics covered in the workshop included:

  • Instrumentation available on the Gemini, Magellan, and Anglo-Australian Telescopes.
  • Imaging and photometry.
  • Characteristics of optical and infrared detectors, and signal-to-noise calculations.
  • Spectroscopy, including high-resolution, multi-object and 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 Gemini IRAF and 2dFDR.
  • Data reduction challanges to test out your skills.
  • Analysing, visualising, 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 Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy, there was no registration fee. Lunch (on the Wednesday and Thursday), morning and afternoon teas was be provided to all registrants. In lieu of a workshop dinner, an evening at the Sydney Observatory featuring stargazing, 3D shows, pizza, wine and beer for a modest cost was planned for the Wednesday evening (7-9 PM).


Registration closed on 26 March 2014.

Remote participation

If you did not get a chance to register or were unable to physically, we offered remote participation via AARnet. In addition, we have recorded the workshop in order to make it available on the Gemini Observatory website. Stay tuned.

Organising Committee

  • Caroline Foster (Chair)
  • Stuart Ryder
  • Richard McDermid
  • Simon O'Toole
  • Kyler Kuehn
  • Chris Lidman


Please direct all enquiries to the Chair of the Organising Committee, Dr Caroline Foster (cfoster -@- aao.gov.au).

Workshop's official group photo

Official group photo showing participants and presenters.