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1. Preface

1.0.1 Transition to Remote Operations

Over the last two years considerable effort has been made towards the upgrading and development of the Parkes telescope for future remote observing. The upgrades include the installation of a RF switching matrix, the replacement of the Manual Control Panel (MCP), improvements to the backup power supplies, and, in December 2012, installation of a Telescope Protection System (TPS). Remote observing with the Parkes telescope from the Marsfield Science Operations Centre (SOC) have commenced since December 2012, and is expected to be the default mode of observing by the start of the 2013 APR semester. Observing from Parkes will still be permitted for complex or non-standard observations, or in other circumstances where this is the more sensible option. Observers who have successfully observed from the SOC will be permitted to carry out subsequent Parkes observations from other remote locations: all observers must observe at least once from the SOC in order to become a qualified Parkes remote observer.

Reductions in the Parkes Operating budget will necessarily result in a decrease in the observing support able to be provided. It is expected that proposal teams with experienced Parkes observers will become more self-sufficient, with a member of each team being designated the Project Expert and being the first point of contact (most often remotely) for questions relating to the observations after work hours. Inexperienced teams are encouraged to seek experienced collaborators: if this is not possible, the teams should be prepared to arrive several days before their observations commence in order for observer training to be completed during work hours so that a member of the team is qualified for the Project Expert role. All Parkes proposal teams are asked to nominate the member(s) in their team who will be (or will be trained to be) the Project Expert and who will be the first point of contact after hours. (However, it is recognised that the availability of team members can not be known until the observing schedule has been released.) Local Parkes staff will continue to provide the first point of contact for matters relating to safety of on-site personnel, the telescope, and equipment.

1.0.2 Telescope Operators


For those projects that require observers at the Parkes site, please note the Parkes Radio Telescope DOES NOT employ telescope operators. At least two observers who have been trained to operate the telescope will therefore be required to be at the observatory.

First-time Parkes observers should make every effort to plan their arrival to allow between three and five hours to complete the obligatory SAFETY INDUCTION (2 hours) and TELESCOPE OPERATOR (1-2 hours) training during normal Observatory working hours (8:00 am to 4:30 pm Monday to Friday) before their observing run begins.

1.0.3 Conventions

Computer system names and program names appear in the texinfo “smallcaps” typeface, e.g. PAVO is the name of one of the Parkes observing control computers. Command-line examples and filenames appear in the texinfo “code” typeface. For example: tcs [alt] is the command used to start up TCS. Optional command parameters appear [in square brackets]. Do not type these brackets when entering these commands. Linux/UNIX is case-sensitive, so operating system commands must be typed in the correct case (usually lower case).

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Last updated by Stacy Mader on March 4, 2014