The 2017A OT will automatically display sky survey images to help put your observations into context. These images will be downloaded in the background for all active and unexecuted observations and cached for future use. The images default to the DSS, but other catalogs may be selected at the bottom-left of the Position Editor, and this selection will be remembered for each observation. The cache size is user-customizable via the gear button, and when the limit is reached the oldest images will be removed first.
The 2017A Observing Tool (OT) to be released in December features an image of the debris disk around HD 106906 obtained with the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) on Gemini South. See the press release for more information.
The 2016B Observing Tool (OT) uses a new serialization library which is incompatible with the previous version. As a result, the keychain will be reset the first time the 2016B OT is opened. Please reenter your key(s) using the “Manage Keys” button on the Welcome screen, or by selecting “Manage Keys” from the “Edit” menu.
The 2016B Observing Tool (OT) to be released in June fundamentally changes the way that nonsidereal targets are supported.
The current OT handles nonsidereal targets using a mix of JPL minor body orbital elements, MPC minor planet orbital elements, a selectable list of the 8 major planets, and manually generated ephemerides (which must be entered as a sidereal target). This can be confusing and cause errors when preparing observations.
The 2016B OT will support all nonsidereal targets using automatically generated and updated ephemerides from JPL HORIZONS.
When an observation is created in the OT it will download a low (~6-hour) resolution ephemeris covering the entire semester, augmented by ~5-minute resolution data for the night the observation is scheduled. This will provide approximate target coordinates for planning purposes while allowing for accurate visualization in the Position Editor and selection of a guide star. The Observing Database will keep track of nonsidereal observations and download high (1-minute) resolution ephemeris the day before an observation might be scheduled.
The OT Position Editor now displays the path of nonsidereal targets throughout the semester. The red line in the image below shows the the orbit of Titan as seen from Mauna Kea. The yellow circle in the center marks the start of an observation planned for 2016 Mar 18 at 12 UT, and the green line segment shows the position during the scheduled observation.
Existing observations which are transitioned from orbital elements to ephemerides will have a note with a brief explanation and a list of the orbital elements.
User-supplied ephemerides will be supported as in the 2016A OT.
The 2016B Observing Tool (OT) to be released in June will be conspicuously missing the button to trigger the Automatic Guide Star (AGS) search. This is because all guide star queries will be performed in the background when observations are created or modified, meaning one less thing to worry about when preparing your Gemini observations!
This new feature will work with all instruments, and will update the guide star whenever the observation or observing conditions are updated. It will also automatically select the best guide star when the nighttime observer updates the time for nonsidereal or parallactic angle observations.
Of course if you don’t like the guide star which was automatically chosen you may use the Catalog Query Tool to manually select your preferred guide star. Manually selected guide stars, and guide stars from previous semesters, will not be modified, and will take precedence over automatically selected guide stars.
If the automatic guide star selection fails, the observation will have a red X, indicating that no guide star could be found.
The 2016B Observing Tool (OT) to be released in June features a GMOS-North image of three galaxies in the group VV 166. Read the image release for more details.
The 2016A Observing Tool (OT) to be released in December includes improved name resolution using the Simbad Astronomical Database, which provides the target coordinates as well as the proper motion, parallax, and redshift.
The OT now includes a pull-down menu to select whether you want to enter/view radial velocity, redshift, or apparent radial velocity (cz). The redshift is used by the Integration Time Calculator.
The Observing Tool (OT) supports querying and plotting on-line guide star catalogs when manually selecting a guide star. The 2016A OT to be released in December has a new and improved query tool which makes this process much easier.
The new Catalog Query Tool displays the target name and coordinates, the instrument, guider, and observing conditions on the left panel. The list of all guide stars is shown on the right, each with an indicator of the expected guide quality. Users may narrow the search by adding magnitude ranges for any filters.
The Catalog Query Tool is linked to the Position Editor which displays images from on-line sources, overlays the list of potential guide stars color-coded according to guide quality, and allows selecting the desired guide star.
The 2016A Observing Tool (OT) to be released in December includes a new algorithm which will significantly speed up synchronizing program changes with the Gemini Observing Database. The new algorithm sends incremental changes and reconciles conflicts when multiple users modify the same elements of an observation. This yields synchronizations which are 3-6 times faster compared to the 2015B OT.