YALO Telescope
Phase II Observing Program
Submission Form Instructions

Once you have created a set of Observation Template files ("obs files") for all of your program targets, you use the Phase II Submission Form to submit them to the YALO queue for implementation along with a set of detailed instructions for how to execute your observing program.

You should submit one observing program form for all targets that are ready to be implemented for your project. This is meant to keep things simple. If you submit many separate files, it gets complicated and your program could be delayed while we sort things out.

A Phase II program submission consists of two parts:

  1. A text file with your observing instructions and the list of obs files to be executed. This file is stored on this server in your project's working directory and send by email and ftp to the queue manager. This forms the basis of the queue manager's nightly instructions to the observers at CTIO. Your instructions should be as complete and explicit as possible (see the examples below).

  2. Copies of the obs files you have marked for submission are uploaded to the ftp staging disk for eventual uploading to the data-taking computer at CTIO for execution by the on-site observers.

On submitting your program electronically with the forms provided here, you can expect 3 kinds of feedback:
  1. A web page showing a summary of the submission as soon as your submission is completed.

  2. A copy of the email message sent by the submission form to the queue management team within a few minutes or so depending on network delays.

  3. Email from the current queue manager acknowledging receipt of your electronic program submission, usually within 24 hours.

Once you have received confirmation from the queue manager, the implementation process proceeds separately from the forms provided on this server.

Phase II Submission Form Entries

The Phase II Submission Form requests the following information:

Your Name

Enter your name and institution in the "Submitted by" box. The default value is the name you entered when you logged into to the observing preparation tools. This tells us who submitted the program, and so who to contact in case of problems. In general, this should be the project PI or their designate.

Your Email Address

Enter your full email address in the "Email" box. This tells how to get in touch with you to confirm your Phase II program submission and sort out any remaining details or submission problems. It also ensures that you receive an email copy of the program instructions submitted for your records.

Program Instructions

In the box provided, please write a detailed set of instructions for your observing program. For each target, describe what observations are to be made, which obs files are to be used (and how), the approximate brightness of the target, and the location of any finding charts to be used (e.g., an ftp address where it can be downloaded), etc. These instructions should be brief, clear, and to the point.

Examples of program instructions are given below.

Obs Files

You are presented with a list of all currently "active" obs files found in your project's directory on the server. To the left of the name of each obs file is a check box. Check off only the files that are to be used for the program you are submitting. These files will be copied to the ftp staging disk for eventual uploading to the data-taking computer at CTIO.

If any old or defunct obs files appear in this list, you might want to take a moment when your submission is complete and clean up your project's obs file directory using the Obs File Manager Form provided among the observing preparation tools.

Once you have filled in the form, clicking on the Submit Observing Program button will start the electronic submission process.


The astronomer who creates the obs files and submits the Phase II observing program is responsible for providing valid target names and celestial coordinates. They are also responsible for providing ephemerides for solar system targets that are not already in the telescope control computer system (i.e., ephemerides major planets are pre-loaded into the telescope controller, minor planets and comets are not). Neither the queue manager nor the on-site observers will enter, validate or correct target names or coordinates. Although if there are problems with your coordinates, the queue manager will be in touch.

Example Program Instructions

Example 1:

This is a set of instructions for a program to observe 47 Tucanae using the dual CCD/IR mode of ANDICAM. For this project, 5 obs files have been prepared (named tucik, tucvk, tucbh, tucuk, and tucuh).

Instructions are as follows:

1) Go to coords given and execute
   The object title here should be 47Tuc #1

2) If the moon is down AND the seeing is <2.0" execute
   Object title 47 Tuc #1

3) offset dec +00:04:00 and repeat the above two steps with the
   object title 47 Tuc #2

4) If u-band images are obtained, we will need sky flats.  If they haven't
   been obtained at the beginning of the night, we will need them at the
   end.  Probably wise to check if the moon will be down at the end of the
   night in advance, so we know if we won't need them.
Example 2:

This is an observing program adding 2 new targets to the OSU Microlensing followup program (these are fictitious additions):

Add two targets to our observing list as follows:

MB99007 - RA=12:13:14.5 DEC=-22:33:44 (2000.0)
          obs file: mb99007ih, dual IR/CCD images
          MB99007 is a high-amplification microlensing event
          approaching peak brightness during the next 2 weeks.  
          It should be observed with high priority at least once per
          hour until further notice.  Current brightness is
          V=14, I=13.  A finder chart is on anonymous ftp at

MB99008 - RA=13:14:15.6 DEC=-33:44:55 (2000.0)
          obs file: mb99008ih - dual IR/CCD imaging at I andH
          Long-timescale event, should be monitored at least
          once a night.  Do not observe if there is heavy 
          cirrus or seeing worse than 2", as the field
          is crowded and the target is faint (currently V=19).
          A finder chart is on anonymous ftp at:
In this example, the astronomer has provided GIF finding charts at the URL given. In this form, the observers can use Netscape on the data-taking computer to download and display the finding charts by entering the URL:
This feature of the web can make it easy for you to provide finders to the on-site observers using your own ftp or web servers as appropriate.

Updated: 2000 August 10 [rwp/osu]