OSIRIS Hieroglyph The OSIRIS User's Manual
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Automatic Observation Logging (AutoLog)

The caliban daemon is responsible for transferring all images from the data-taking PCs and writing them as FITS format images on the Sparcstation disks. After an image is written, at least two subsequent actions are performed on the newly written data:
  1. The FITS file is submitted to the Save-The-Bits auto-archiving queue.

  2. The FITS file header is sniffed by AutoLog and entered into a running observing log for the night.

Of these two, automatic archiving is always enabled, and can only be disabled by the support scientist.

Autologging is currently not enabled by default, but can be started by the observer. AutoLogs are generated in ASCII text format, and can be easily read by any screen editor or imported into a spreadsheet program (e.g., Excel or Lotus). At present there is no option for generating logs in TeX or LaTeX format (we tried, it was ugly, and since nobody has been pounding down our doors for it, it hasn't been given high priority).

This document describes how to use AutoLogging with OSIRIS. If we find it being widely used it may be enabled by default.

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Enabling AutoLogging

You can instruct caliban to enable AutoLogging from either the Prospero command prompt or in the caliban command window.

From Prospero:

At the Prospero prompt, type the commmand:
    CB +AUTOLOG

From caliban:

In the caliban command window (usually started as an icon), type the commmand:
    +autolog
Either command will enable autologging for the current session. If caliban has to be restarted, the default condition is autologging disabled and you will have to re-enable autologging by hand after recovering from a crash.

Once enabled, the next file written will start the log for the current observing day.

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Disabling AutoLogging

You can instruct caliban to disable AutoLogging from either the Prospero command prompt or in the caliban command window.

From Prospero:

At the Prospero prompt, type the commmand:
    CB -AUTOLOG

From caliban:

In the caliban command window (usually started as an icon), type the commmand:
    -autolog
Either command will diseable autologging for the current session. If caliban has to be restarted, the default condition is autologging disabled, so you will not have to disable logging again after recovering from a crash.

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The AutoLog File

AutoLog produces an ASCII text files with names of the form:
   ccyymmdd.log
where ccyymmdd is the date of the Observing Day on which the image was written to disk.

AutoLog files are written into the Logs directory in the osiris observing account:

CTIO 1.5-m:

   /ua20/osiris/Logs/ccyymmdd.log

CTIO 4-m:

   /ua10/osiris/Logs/ccyymmdd.log
The log is owned by the "osiris" user since the AutoLog program is triggered by the caliban daemon running on the osiris observing account.

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The Observing Day

The "Observing Day" used by AutoLog begins at noon local time on the date of the start of the night, and ends at 1159 local time the following day. Defined in this way, all afternoon (and morning) calibration or engineering check-out data associated with a given night of observing will be in the same autolog file.

Example:

An night of observing runs from the evening of 1999 February 16 to the morning of 1999 Feb 17. The "observing day" used by the AutoLogger will be 1999 Feb 16, and the log file will be named 19990216.log.

A new logfile is started at noon on each observing day.

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AutoLog Output Format

When the AutoLog program is triggered by the caliban daemon, the FITS header of the file is sniffed for a set of predefined header cards that contain all of the information in the OSIRIS format file (osiris.fmt). The information entered in the log is currently fixed by the support scientists and is not user-defined (if there are format errors in the log format file, it screws up the whole autologging process. However, you can run the base program yourself with a custom format file after the night is done as described below).

The first line of the log is a header describing the entries in each column, followed by the entries for each image, one image per line, as they is written to disk by the caliban data-transfer daemon.

See the Sample AutoLog output file for an example.

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Monitoring the AutoLog during the night.

You can keep watch on the contents of the AutoLog for the current observing day by using an xterm and the Unix tail command. You will need to resize the xterm and/or shrink the font so that one line of the AutoLog of interest will fit in the screen. Typical OSIRIS AutoLog files run 132 characters wide.

Example:

To monitor the AutoLog for observing day 1999 Feb 16/17 on the CTIO 4m, you would type the Unix command
    % tail -f ~osiris/Logs/19990216.log
in a properly prepared xterminal window.

You can iconify the window to keep it out of the way, and you should see each image logged in the AutoLog as the night progresses. Note that the SunOS system will buffer output to the tail command, so there may be some lag in when a file appears in the window if you hit the wrong phase of the buffering.

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Printing the AutoLog for a night

% cd ~Logs/

% lpr logfile

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The AutoLog Program

It is possible to use the AutoLog program directly to make a log of one or more FITS files using a custom format file for the output. Note, however, that in this mode the AutoLog program is not being run automatically, so it is used primarily at the end of the night to create a summary of all FITS files of interest. At present there is no way for observers to control the output of the AutoLog program as triggered automatically by the data-taking system.

The AutoLog program is available via the Unix shell as the autolog executable in the OSU data-taking system software directory as follows:

   ~osu/bin/autolog
The details of how to run autolog standalone are beyond the scope of this document. See the AutoLog web page at http://www.astronomy.ohio-state.edu/~pogge/Software/AutoLog/ for details.

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Updated: 1999 February 16