The 4.2-m WHT and 2.5-m INT are worked by telescope operators, to the instruction of the observer. The telescope operator is responsible for the safety of the telescope, and will restrict its use and/or close the dome in unsuitable conditions, such as rain, snow, excessive wind speed, etc. He or she will also maintain observing records and attempt to repair any faults which may occur during the night, calling out the duty technician if unable to fix the fault. The duty technician is present each night until 2300 and on call thereafter to attend to instrumental faults.
The operation of the 1.0-m JKT and associated instrumentation is sufficiently straightforward that it is normally worked by the scheduled observer (after suitable training) without the help of a telescope operator.
Each scheduled observer will be supported both before and possibly during his observing run by a support astronomer assigned to him well in advance of his observing time. Support astronomers will be active research workers who have experience of the instrumentation requested. Support astronomers will be drawn from staff on the island, from the UK, from the Netherlands and from the IAC on Tenerife. The Head of the Astronomy Group resident on the island is currently (1995) Chris Benn.
On the INT and JKT data are dumped to exabyte or DAT tape in FITS format (D-Tape). These D-Tapes are shipped to the UK about once per week, where they are stored in the tape archive. The Observer may take the data home by either making a copy of the data himself from D-Tape or disk, or by having the tape copied to DAT or exabyte by the Observatory tape copying service. If the latter is required then the Observer should ensure that copy requests are submitted after each night's observing.
On the WHT the D-tape is also written in FITS format, and the observer can make a separate FITS tape by running two FITS writing jobs simultaneously, or request a copy to be made of the D-tape, of make a VMS backup tape from the data files stored on the Vax discs. Automatic writing of FITS tapes is currently being implemented, and should be available by mid-1995.
Observers are entitled to sufficient magnetic tapes to make one copy of all their data. If any further tapes are required they may be purchased from the Tape Copier (or Duty Officer outside daytime hours).
A duty officer is always present at the observatory, and will take charge in any emergency. You must obey the duty officer's instructions if an emergency arises.