ALL OBSERVERS, it is the observer's responsibility to prepare for their run. CfA facilities do not provide an instrument scientist at the telescope or a software scientist to assist with data reduction. Thus observers should contact the appropriate instrument scientist or an experienced CfA observer prior to their observing run, and read the appropriate set of Observatory Policies.

  • MMT policies
  • Magellan policies
  • FLWO policies
  • The OIR Telescope Data Center will process and distribute reduced data for CfA observers using SAO-built instruments: (MMT) Binospec, Hectospec, Hectochelle, MMIRS, (Magellan) Megacam, and (FLWO) FAST, TRES. Observers are responsible for processing data from all other instruments; see the instrument web pages for links to possible data reduction software.
  • The OIR Science Archive, a public archive of processed spectra, is located at http://oirsa.cfa.harvard.edu

NEW OBSERVERS should take extra time to prepare. You must learn how to operate the instrument from an experienced observer. Usually, arriving at the telescope several days before your observing run will give you enough experience. Make sure to read the appropriate set of policies and the instrument manual prior to your run.

MAGELLAN OBSERVERS should complete the Las Campanas Observatory Instrument Set-up and Travel Arrangement forms at least one month in advance of their scheduled run. IMACS users must submit their slit mask files at least 6 weeks in advance of their observing run.

A new possibility exists for service observing at Magellan. The cost is $800/night; not all nights are available; PI instruments are excluded. Contact Las Campanas Observatory to inquire about availability.

MMT and FLWO OBSERVERS must be familiar with the difficulties of driving a mostly unpaved, single-lane mountain road where weather conditions can change rapidly, especially in winter. Safety precautions must be followed to protect all drivers. The Mt Hopkins road can be very dangerous for unprepared and inexperienced drivers.

Visitors not confident about driving the Mt Hopkins road must make alternative plans. One option is to arrive at the FLWO basecamp in time to ride with day staff or with another observer. It may be possible to make other arrangements if you contact FLWO significantly in advance of your trip. Further information is available in the FLWO Visitor information guide.