Visitor Mode Phase 2 Guidelines

This page provides information about Observation Block (OB) creation only for users assigned Visitor Mode time at ESO telescopes. Astronomers having obtained observing time in Service Mode or at APEX should consult instead the links provided on this page.


Users should familiarize themselves with the appropriate instrument documentation, including ESO supported calibration plans, as well as with all the various logistic-related aspects available from the La Silla and Paranal webpages. Please consult as well the ESO Instructions for Astronomers on Mission to Chile.

All Visitor Mode users are encouraged to read the P2PP User Manual before arriving on La Silla or Paranal. Visitor Mode users of Paranal instruments should read the new P2PP version 3 User Manual. For La Silla, please refer to the documentation for P2PP for La Silla.

Important note for VIMOS MOS Visitor Mode Observers: due to the demands of the mask preparation and manufacturing process, VIMOS MOS Visitor Mode observers must submit at least a part of their OBs well in advance of the observing run following the procedures outlined here.

Targets and backup: Make sure you have enough targets for the whole night. In case you need more to fill the night, additional targets must be requested and approved in advance. Similarly, you should have a backup program in case the conditions do not permit your main program to be executed. In particular, keep in mind that strong wind often comes from the North, so backup targets to the South should be prepared. Additional targets, backup targets and change of set-up must be requested well in advance using this procedure.


OB Preparation on the Mountain

In principle, all Visitor Mode observers are requested to arrive on La Silla or Paranal 48 hours before the beginning of their observing run to allow time for OB preparation. Your Support  Astronomer on the mountain will provide you will all needed guidance with the process of preparing your OBs. Visitor Mode observers with previous on-site P2PP observing experience may arrive on the mountain 24 hours before the beginning of their observing runs. Even in this latter case however, if you expect to need substantial assistance during the preparation of your observing run (for example because of using a new instrument), you should plan to arrive 48 hours in advance.


OB Preparation before arriving on the Mountain

ESO strongly encourages all users to prepare their OBs in advance to the arrival at the Observatory, without being under time pressure or fatigue after intercontinental travel. To do this, please follow the instructions given in the P2PP Page for installation of P2PP in your local computer and the additional indications in the P2PP User Manual.

Please notice that the scheduling containers should NOT BE USED for preparation of visitor mode OBs, because the Visitor Mode Observing Tool (vOT), used to execute the observations at the telescope on Paranal, will ignore them.

Investigators preparing their OBs remotely for a Visitor Mode run should not  check them in the ESO Database. Use instead the copy of the OBs in your Local Cache (see the P2PP User Manual for complete information). Such a copy is automatically generated every time you create or modify an OB.

Needless to say, please make sure that your remotely prepared OBs are accessible from the mountain when you arrive there by having stored them on a site accessible via FTP, on a laptop computer that can be connected to the local network, or on a data storage medium such as a USB stick or a CD-ROM.

Please contact the ESO User Support Department if you need assistance on P2PP installation or if you have any questions on the remote preparation of your OBs not specifically related to your observing programme.


Whom To Contact For Help

Investigators assigned Visitor Mode time should contact the appropriate telescope team:

All investigators assigned Service Mode time should contact the ESO User Support Department in all matters regarding Phase 2.

If you are unsure of whether your allocated time is in Service or Visitor Mode, please contact the Observing Programmes Office (OPO).

Instrument selector

This page is valid for all instruments