Receivers: Due to delays in commissioning the MPIfR Phased Array Feed (PAF), it will remain in the focus cabin until the end of October 2016, with some observing time in October allocated to 2016APR projects. From Nov 21st to Dec 5th there will be a shutdown for a major overhaul of the mains power reticulation in the telescope Tower. There will be no observing during this shutdown. The 20cm multi-beam receiver (MB20) will be installed in the focus cabin in early November, but will only be cooled at the end of the two-week shutdown to minimse the number of thermal cycles the receiver is subjected to. MB20 observing will recommence in December.
Breakthrough Listen: The Breakthrough Foundation and Yuri Milner have entered into an agreement with CSIRO to use the Parkes Telescope to Search for Extra-terrestrial Intelligence (SETI). The Breakthrough Listen program will be allocated 25% of Parkes observing time for five years commencing in 2016OCT. Breakthrough Listen is allocated somewhat less than 25% in 2016OCT, and so will be alloacted more than 25% in 2017APR in order for the required 25% to be allocated over the course of the full year.
Parkes Observing: The default location for Parkes 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 several working days.
Parkes Observing Support: Each Parkes project is required to designate a Project Expert from within the team who is the first point of contact for observing support for that team. Observers at the Science Operations Centre (SOC) will be provided with a "Friend" who will be the first point of contact during business hours. Teams with no member suitable to be the Project Expert for that project should send an observer to the SOC in advance of the scheduled observing to be trained by a combination of Operations staff and a local Friend. The Project Expert is expected to be capable of basic fault diagnosis/triage. In cases where the Project Expert is inadequately experienced, in the opinion of the Head of Science Operations, the team will be required to designate an alternate Project Expert, or for the Project Expert to attend the SOC in person for training prior to future observations.
First-time observers will be required to come to the SOC, and will be provided a telescope orientation session to introduce them to observing systems and monitoring tools. First-time observers must arrive 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.
Observers may choose to observe from the SOC at any time, and will be given a refresher or training session on request. The requirement for observers to return to the SOC annually has been dispensed with: responsibility lies with the Principal Investigator (PI) to ensure the observers on their team are trained and competent observers. Similar support will now be provided by Astro or Operations staff for observers at the SOC. Observing from Parkes will be permitted for complex or non-standard observations, or in other circumstances where this is the more sensible option. These requirements may be revised if there is a substantial change in the observing set-up (for example, installation of a new front-end or back-end system).
If anything remains unclear, please email ATNF-Parkes-Remobs[at]csiro.au for further clarification.
Marsfield On-site Accommodation: The Marsfield site has a Lodge which is able to provide on-site accommodation for observers and DAs. Please use the new webform to book at least two weeks in advance to ensure a room is available.
Leap Second: A leap second will be introduced at 0UT on January 1st (10am AEDT). Two hours have been blocked out in the schedule to allow staff to make the necessary changes to observatory software.
Daylight Saving: Daylight saving in New South Wales will start at 2:00am (AEST) on Sunday, 2nd October 2016, when clocks will be put forward one hour. During the daylight saving period, local "clock time" (AEDT) is one hour ahead of AEST (Australian Eastern Standard Time), so 7am AEST is 8am AEDT. Note that the ATCA schedule is in AEST. Daylight saving in New South Wales will end at 3:00am (AEDT) on the first Sunday in April 2017.
Public Holidays: Monday October 3rd is a public holiday in NSW. Sunday December 25th, Monday December 26th and Tuesday December 27th are public holidays in NSW. Sunday January 1st and Monday January 2nd are public holidays in NSW. Thursday January 26th is the Australia Day public holiday. Easter is in April (14th to 17th) in 2017.
Version 1 of the schedule was released on 2016 September 2nd.