Rules for using the 2.3m at SSO

  • Observers are reminded of the dangers of working at night. Torches must be carried when moving within and about buildings at night. Torches and batteries are available at the ANU Office and the Lodge. Rechargeable torches are wall mounted in domes.
  • Observers are requested to establish contact with technical staff (telephone: (0) 0427 685 288 or 6224) on the first day of their run to let them know of any outstanding requirements and to learn of any recent instrument and/or telescope developments.
  • All accidents to personnel or equipment should be reported immediately to the technical staff when they are on duty (9am to 6pm on weekdays).
  • Outside these times, if a condition occurs that endangers life, the AAT Console should be called on ext 6279.    If there is no answer, dial (0) 000.
  • A portable safety phone is provided in the 2.3m dome.  The phone has the numbers of safety officers programmed in memory, and should be carried when leaving the console area.  Make sure you know how to operate the touch-pad of the portable phone.
  • When using a given piece of equipment or telescope for the first time, an observer must receive training from a qualified observer.  The amount of training will depend upon the equipment to be used and the experience of the trainee, but will be at least one night.  The training requirements will be specified by the Director, RSAA.  To accommodate such training requirements, you should ensure that sufficient time is available before your observing run commences, and you should liaise with observers using the same equipment as yourself prior to your run.
  • Only observers listed on the schedule are permitted in the domes at night or at Siding Spring Lodge. Exceptions to this are the trainees defined above, technical staff, and visitors authorized by the Director.
  • All mechanical, electrical, and software difficulties must be reported via the Fault Reporting Procedures. Some indication of weather conditions and objects observed should be logged in the Weather and Downtime Log system.
  • Observers are requested to complete an electronic report at the end of their run using the Observer's Report Form.
  • Observers should note that a member of the SSO technical staff works a shift ending at 6 pm Monday through Friday.  The function of the staff member is to attend to equipment malfunctions which become evident during afternoon setup and testing and to progress project work for RSAA as a whole.
  • Technical staff are on call from 9am to 6pm on work days and may be reached by mobile phone (0) 0427 685 288, or failing this, by consulting the telephone list in the dome for the phone number of the technician on duty, as displayed in the dome.
  • Astronomers are urged to test their equipment as thoroughly as possible during working day afternoons as there are no night time callouts} (i.e. after 6pm) and no weekend callouts.
  • In the event of a technical fault that endangers the telescope (for example the dome stuck open with rain around), technical staff can be called after hours on 0427 685 288, or if that fails, 6842 6267.
  • There is no technical support during Easter and the ANU Christmas Break.
  • It is the observer's responsibility to ensure that the CCD dewars are kept topped up so they do not run out of liquid nitrogen.  Details of the filling should be entered into the appropriate dewar book.
  • 2.3m observers are required to fully power down the telescope at the console at the end of each night's observing in order to reduce heat input into the dome during daytime.
  • Any alterations or revisions to the schedule must be arranged through the through the Chair of the TAC and are subject to the approval of the Director.
  • Unscheduled time must be applied for to the Chair of the TAC at least seven days prior to the desired commencement date.
  • Unscheduled equipment changeovers must be applied for at least 48 hours (exclusive of weekends) in advance of the desired changeover date, and are subject to the approval of the Director.  Observers should communicate their equipment requirements to the technical staff, at least 48 hours before commencing their run, to ensure that the equipment is available. Reasonable effort will be made to accommodate unscheduled equipment changeovers where operational factors permit.
  • It is the observer's responsibility to ensure that he/she has suitable filters, data storage media, etc.  
  • Observers are requested to check their equipment in the very early afternoon of the first day of use of a telescope.  Any necessary alterations or additions can then be carried out during normal working hours.
  • The domes, telescopes and auxiliary equipment are under the control of the assigned observer. All other staff may not use the facilities or equipment without the permission of the observer, with the exception of technical staff from 8 am to 4 pm, Monday to Friday. During these times, technical staff require access to the telescope and equipment in the course of their testing and maintenance duties. Access to the telescope may be restricted and remote operation of the telescope may be locked out for the safety of on-site staff. They will return the equipment to its original state, and inform the observer of their actions when relevant.
  • It is important to remember that you are only a temporary user of the telescopes and equipment and, in fairness to others, you should  attempt only the most minor repairs e.g. rebooting of computers and power cycling equipment (but beware that Sun computers may have disk problems when power cycled: power cycling should be OK for the PCs). Any changes to telescope or instrument hardware or software are forbidden.
  • Telescopes should be closed down (and the dome firmly shut) when :
    • the wind exceeds 45 knots = 51 miles/hr = 23 m/sec = 83 km/hr for the 2.3m telescope
    • the humidity exceeds 95% in the case of the 2.3m telescope. The observer should record in the log whenever the telescope is operated over periods during which the humidity exceeds 90%. If the internal handrails in any dome feels wet, particularly those at the Nasmyth level of the 2.3m, observing should cease. Observers are reminded that observing time is lost when damaged mirrors have to be realuminized. (In the absence or malfunction of anemometer or hygrometer, the observer should use his/her best judgement to protect the equipment.)
  • Extreme care must be taken to avoid having the dome open during rain.  In the event of observations having been terminated for some reason, it is advisable to close the mirror cover and dome shutter.
  • The observer must inform the technical staff if rain enters the dome.
  • Please do not consume food and drink in the vicinity of electronic equipment, particularly computer peripherals such as key-boards, disk units, etc.
  • All safety codes generally adopted within the Australian National University must be adhered to, together with specific codes for Siding Spring Observatory as may be adopted from time to time by the appropriate safety committee.  Safety devices such as alarms on moving floors, etc, must not be overridden by the observer.

        A/Prof Paul Francis
        Chair, Time Assignment Committee
        Research School of Astronomy & Astrophysics
        May 2013

Updated:  21 September 2017/Responsible Officer:  RSAA Director/Page Contact:  Webmaster