Keck ToO policy
Policy for UC Keck Time for Targets of Opportunity
December 5, 2018
Members of the W. M. Keck Observatory Community
On November 16, 2018, the WMKO Director, Hilton Lewis with approval from the CARA Board updated the WMKO policy for target-of-opportunity (ToO) observing. The update of the policy is intended to better account for anticipated follow up observations associated with gravitational-wave (GW) events. The new policy is based on recommendations from the SSC and the EM-GW sub-committee tasked to formulate the policy recommendations.The policy is effective immediately, the formal policy details are included below, and key highlights of the new policy are as follows:
WMKO will retain its “first-come, first-served” policy and increase the number of Partnership ToOs from one to two per night per telescope.
(1) Multiple ToOs per night will allow observations with different instruments and at different times in the evolution of each GW event.
(2) Multiple teams will have the opportunity to obtain data on each event. For each telescope, one partner may expend one Partnership ToO per night, which allows another partner to use a Partnership ToO. Additional ToOs may be possible via Institutional ToOs. Each institution has specific rules and polices for ToO interrupts and are not covered here.
Switching of instruments during the night for ToOs will be permitted on a limited basis. The Observatory will initially allow switching only for Partnership ToOs, starting in 2019A. Keck I instrument changes will be fully flexible in 2019A with up to 3 instruments with use of the newly commissioned K1 Deployable Tertiary Mirror, K1DM3. Keck II instrument changes for partnership ToO’s will only include NIRES starting December 14, 2018.
Fractional nights and nights assigned to minor partners are no longer exempt from interruption. WMKO follow-up of gravitational wave events will have priority. WMKO Director nights and engineering nights are also interruptable to the extent that it’s technically feasible.
In order to initiate a ToO, observers must log in to the WMKO Observer Home Page and use the ToO GUI to select a specific night, time, telescope, instrument configuration, and coordinates for their ToO. The first come first served policy will be coordinated with the ToO trigger GUI software. Partnership ToOs will have priority over institutional ToOs.