Parkes Quarters: During the semester the Quarters will be staffed on Monday to Friday. The Quarters will provide accommodation, breakfast and evening meals. Lunches for observers, Parkes Observatory staff, and other visitors will be available from the Dish Cafe at reasonable rates.
Parkes Remote Observing: As of 2013 March 1, commissioning of the full Telescope Protection System (TPS) is underway, with the continuing requirement for a person to be present in the tower while observing is underway. Once the TPS has been demonstrated to be robust and reliable we will move to the next stage of commissioning, with no requirement for a person to be in the tower during observing. As this timescale is not clear (though is expected to be early next semester) we advise observing teams to ensure there are at least two observers on site at Parkes for April and May. Observing from the SOC is encouraged, but will still require the presence of a person in the tower until the TPS is commissioned: during week-day work-hours this may be a Parkes staff member. Some coordination between teams may be required when there is more than one program being observed in a 24 hour period -- much as has been the case in the past when teams need to ensure there is both an observer and a Designated Contact Person (DCP), possibly from another team, on site at all times. Teams will be contacted in the near future with more details about coordinating observing plans.
Parkes Observing Support: 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. 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.
Maintenance Periods: The 2013APR semester schedule for Parkes has several maintenance blocks that extend overnight: April 4th and 5th is planned for generator re-location (in the end, the overnight portion was able to be handed to observers). September 16 to 20 is planned for MB20 thermal cycle and Master Equatorial roller-door replacement, among other things.
Daylight Saving: Daylight saving in New South Wales ends at 3:00am Eastern Daylight Saving Time on the first Sunday April 7th, when clocks will be put back one hour. The Parkes observing schedule schedule is in AEST. During the daylight saving period, local "clock time" is one hour ahead of AEST, so 7am AEST is 8am daylight saving time.
Public Holidays: Monday April 1st is the Easter Monday public holiday. Thursday April 25th is the ANZAC Day publica holiday. Monday June 10th is the Queen's Birthday public holiday in NSW. Tuesday August 27th is Parkes Show Day and the afternoon is a public holiday for people living in Parkes Shire.
Version history: Version 1 of the schedule was released on 2013 March 4. Version 2 of the schedule was released on 2013 April 5.