UCSC Remote Observing

This is an astronomical calendar, not a civil calendar. See bottom of page for proper interpretation.


UCO home > Observing > UCSC Remote Observing

This is an astronomical calendar, not a civil calendar. See bottom of page for proper interpretation.

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Make reservations as early as possible

Repairs and upgrades to network and power infrastructure tend to be scheduled at night. If the contractors are given enough notice they will avoid work on remote observing nights. For all such routine work we need as much advance notice as possible, so please make remote observing reservations as early as possible.

Remote Observing at Keck

Users who need the UCSC Remote Observing stations for the telescopes on Mauna Kea must request and receive approval from Keck Observatory. The process of requesting reservations begins by using the WMKO Observer Login Page as described on the Keck Policy on Mainland Observing page. After Keck grants their approval of the remote observing then the local-to-UCSC arrangements can be made using the remote observing e-mail address listed below.

If the Keck reservation is in place more than 5 days before the night then Keck will send automated e-mail to the PI indicating that the VNC sessions for that night are ready. After those VNC sessions are started Keck remote observers should come to Remote Observing during the daytime and test that the connections to Keck are working. Remote Observers will need the information in the e-mail from Keck in order to connect to the appropriate VNC session.

Keck Observers, please make remote observing reservations 3 weeks in advance in order that displaced Lick Observatory users can make their arrangements to travel to Mt. Hamilton.

Remote Observing at Lick

Lick Observatory users who need the UCSC Remote Observing stations for telescopes on Mt. Hamilton can reserve time via e-mail
UCSC Remote Observing <ucsc-remote-obs@ucolick.org>
Please read the Policy for Shane remote observing and the Policy for Nickel remote observing. Note that remote observers must be checked out prior to using the Remote Observing stations. Arrangements for checkout should be made several weeks in advance by e-mail to
Support Astronomers <sa@ucolick.org>

Always use e-mail for key arrangements

We need to know how to contact the people who have the keys. Make arrangments for the Remote Observing room keys by sending e-mail to UCSC Remote Observing <ucsc-remote-obs@ucolick.org>. The e-mail must be either

This is particularly important for projects which have teams of many observers.

Keys, training, and passwords

Observers who need keys to the UCSC Remote Observing rooms or who need training for the login, setup, and Polycom operations should make an appointment via e-mail
UCSC Remote Observing <ucsc-remote-obs@ucolick.org>
The remote observing connections require passwords, and those passwords may change at any time.
The keys, training, and passwords are not available at all hours of every day, so please make the appointment several days in advance of the observing. During the training it is helpful to bring a secure way to take and store notes about all of the login procedures.

Policies and other details

The UCSC remote observing room is always cold. Bring warm clothing.
The remote observing policy for the UCSC facilities respects aperture priority. This means that Keck observers will displace observers using telescopes on Mt. Hamilton. In such cases the Lick Observatory observers may have to travel to Mt. Hamilton and make arrangements to sleep in the Lick dormitories. Use of the Lick dormitories can be arranged by e-mail to
Mt. Hamilton Reservations <reservations@ucolick.org>
Mt. Hamilton observers, please make reservations 3 weeks in advance for the sake of mountain preparations and dormitory billing arrangements.

Since 2013 June both facilities are in Natural Sciences 2 Room 170. They have the following characteristics:

Remote Observing Station #1 Station #2
Keck Mainland-only mode Yes Yes (software video)
Keck Eavesdrop mode Yes Yes (software video)
uninterruptible power duration 1 to 2 hours 1 to 2 hours
failover telecomm
to Keck (ISDN)
Yes Yes
backup computer Yes Yes
Lick telescopes Available Available

Remote Observing room usage for dates before April 2013 is still available at this old calendar page.

Interpretation of times on this astronomical calendar

The begin and end of the events on this astronomical calendar differs from typical civil calendars. A full-day event shown on, e.g., the 17th day of the month is understood to mean that the observer begins on the afternoon of the 17th and ends on the morning of the 18th. For Lick Observatory this is effectively a timezone 20 h behind GMT, and for Keck Observatory this is effectively a timezone 23 h behind GMT.