Parkes Remote Observing: For 2014APR (and from September 15, 2013), the default location for Parkes remote observing is the Science Operations Centre (SOC) in Marsfield (Sydney).
Parkes observers need to register for their upcoming observations, at least two weeks in advance, using the PORTAL at https://parkes-ops.atnf.csiro.au/PORTAL/index.php . Access to the portal requires CSIRO unix account details: for users who do not have an account, there is a link from the PORTAL front page to information for requesting an account. Account generation typically takes a couple of working days.
All first-time remote observers also require training on the new tools and procedures. This is currently conducted, during week-day work hours, by Parkes staff, using the point-to-point video link to the SOC wherever possible. First-time remote observers are required to be available for training at the SOC at least a full business day prior to their scheduled observations to ensure a time can be arranged for training.
When first-time remote observers register their upcoming observing session(s) on the PORTAL they are sent links to on-line documentation and training material to help them prepare. It is a requirement that the on-line documentation is read before the training session. A list of the essential documents is given on the Documentation tab of the portal. The Parkes User Guide has been regularly updated as the transition to the remote observing era has progressed.
Observing from Parkes will 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 may 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. Currently, observers remain qualified for remote observing for a year from their last observation at the SOC (or Parkes).
If anything remains unclear, please email ATNF-Parkes-Remobs[at]csiro.au for further clarification.
Parkes Observing Support: 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.
Parkes Quarters: The Parkes Quarters are staffed on Monday to Friday, and provide accommodation and breakfast. Lunches and evening meals can be purchased from the Dish Cafe during its business hours, or alternative arrangements made. For observing from the SOC, the Marsfield site has a Lodge which provides accommodation for observers. Please book at least two weeks in advance to ensure a room is available.
Maintenance Periods: The 2014APR semester schedule for Parkes has a two-week shutdown from Monday August 4th to Friday August 15th, primarily for work on site power distribution.
NAPA Proposals: Several NAPA (Non A Priori Assignable) proposals have been submitted for Parkes in 2014APR. If triggered, a NAPA proposal may displace a proposal with a lower grade. One NAPA proposal in particular seeks to make rapid follow-up observations: the logistics for how this will happen will be conveyed to all observers before the start of the semester.
Daylight Saving: Daylight saving in New South Wales ends at 3:00am (AEDT) on the first Sunday in April, April 6th 2014, 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. Daylight saving in New South Wales starts again on the first Sunday in October, Oct 5th 2014, when clocks will be put forward one hour.
Public Holidays: Friday April 18th is the Easter Good Friday public holiday. Monday April 21st is the Easter Monday public holiday. Friday April 25th is the ANZAC Day public holiday. Monday June 9th is the Queen's Birthday public holiday in NSW.
Version history: Version 1 of the schedule was released on 2014 March 3. Version 2 of the schedule was released on 2014 March 14.