The available observing time on the ING telescopes is allocated between
British, Dutch and Spanish time allocation committees, the CCI International
Time Programmes (ITP), service and discretionary nights, and scheduled
stand-down and commissioning time.
The ING Board has delegated the task of time allocation to British astronomers
to the PPARC Panel for the Allocation of Telescope Time (PATT), and to Dutch
astronomers to the NFRA Programme Committee (PC). It is the responsibility
of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) to allocate the
Spanish time via the Comité para la Asignación de Tiempos (CAT).
For committee membership see Appendix I.
The PPARC made 27 nights per year of its share on the JKT available
to the National Board of Science and Technology of Ireland and the Dublin
Institute for Advanced Studies, until the JKT was taken out of service on
August 1st, 2003.
The aim of the ING service observing programme is to provide astronomers
with a way to obtain small sets of observations, which would not justify
a whole night or more of telescope time. For each telescope and instrument
several nights per month are set-aside especially for this purpose. During
those nights, ING support astronomers perform observations for several service
requests. As a result of the budget reductions, the service programme is
now only active on the WHT.
Stand-down, commissioning and discretionary nights are used for major
maintenance activities, commissioning of new instruments, minor enhancements,
calibration and quality control tests, etc., and partly for astronomy,
for example, as compensation for breakdowns or for observations of targets
The way the available observing time on the ING telescopes has been
shared in 2002 and 2003 is summarised in Table 1.
Table 1. Allocation of nights from Semester
2002A to 2003B. UK PATT allocation on the JKT includes Irish time. Service
nights include UK and NL service time, and SP CAT time includes Spanish service
time. Discretionary time includes all nights used for commissioning, maintenance,
and stand-down activities. The JKT stopped operating in August 2003.
Instrument Builder’s Guaranteed Time
USE OF INSTRUMENTATION
Figure 1 shows the allocation of nights per instrument on the WHT in 2002
and 2003. As in previous years, the ISIS spectrograph and polarimeter was
the most popular instrument, taking up some 30 to 40% of the scheduled observing
time. These years, the visiting instruments have had a major impact, and
the INGRID infrared camera and the AF2 fibre spectrograph enjoyed much interest.
Visiting instruments on the WHT during this period include the SAURON
integral field spectrograph, the Planetary Nebula Spectrograph PN.S, the
high-speed multi-CCD camera ULTRACAM, and the IR multi-object spectrograph
On the INT, dark time periods were almost exclusively used for CCD imaging
with the Wide Field Camera (over all nights: 69% and 81% for 2002 and 2003
respectively). The rest of the time was for the use of the IDS spectrograph
(31% and 19%). Since decommissioning of IDS in August 2003, the INT became
solely dedicated to wide field imaging programmes.
The JKT was a single instrument telescope for CCD imaging during the reporting
Figure 1. Left: Use of instrumentation
in semesters 2002A and 2002B on the WHT. All private includes ULTRACAM, PN.S
and SAURON. [ JPEG | TIFF ]
Below: The same for semesters 2003A and 2003B. Commissioning nights are excluded.
All private includes ULTRACAM, SAURON, PN.S, INTEGRAL, CIRPASS. [ JPEG | TIFF ]
During the year 2002 and 2003 the ING telescopes again performed very
well, with downtime figures due to technical problems averaging at 2.6%,
1.1%, and 1.7% in 2002 and 2.3%, 1.0% and 2.7% in 2003 on the WHT, the INT,
and the JKT respectively. These figures meet the target value of a maximum
of 5% technical downtime. Down time due to poor weather averaged 26% in 2002
and 23% in 2003. The historical trends of technical down time and weather
down time by semester are plotted in Figures 2 and 3. Figure 4 shows the seasonal
An important metric of the success of the ING telescopes is the number
of publications published in refereed journals and for this reason the ING
bibliography (see Appendix E) is updated annually. Traditionally, this bibliography
has been compiled by visually scanning all articles in many journals and
identifying those which make use of data from our telescopes. However most
journals are now published electronically and often have quite sophisticated
search engines associated with them and it is therefore appropriate to conduct
the search with the help of these facilities.
Our selection process identifies papers that make direct use of observations
obtained with the ING telescopes, in order to qualify. Papers that refer
to data presented in earlier papers (derivative papers) are not counted.
Figure 5. Accumulative number of refereed papers
per telescope from first light. [ JPEG | TIFF ]
Figure 6. Accumulative number of refereed papers
per year. [ JPEG | TIFF
When we analyse ING publications for the five years between 1995 and 1999
inclusive it can be seen that more than 95% of articles are published in
a small number of core journals. These core journals consist of the British
journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, the American
journals Astrophysical Journal, Astrophysical Journal Letters,
Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, Astronomical Journal
and Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, plus
the European journal Astronomy and Astrophysics (including the now
defunct Astronomy and Astrophysics Supplement Series). We also include
Nature and Science as core journals due to their perceived high
impact. Journals making up the remainder of publications are widely spread
among such journals as Icarus and the Irish Astronomical Journal
to name a few. The bibliography for the years 2002 and 2003 was compiled
from only the core journals listed above for reasons of efficiency (up until
the year 2000 a wider search was conducted which partly explains the drop
in publications). Search engines were used to select papers and the resulting
list of papers visually inspected to ensure that they satisfied the selection
criteria described above.
An analysis of these numbers follows (see Figures 5–8 and Table 2). Note
that if a paper makes use of more than one telescope we count that paper
for each telescope. Also, concerning perceived nationality we use the nationality
of the first author’s institution although in a few cases two institutions
are credited. Similarly, if a paper makes use of more than one instrument,
that paper is counted against each instrument.
Table 2. Number of refereed papers per year
Of all the available instruments on the WHT, the ISIS spectrograph remains
the most productive instrument, with 42% of all publications during the reporting
period. In 2003 INGRID became the second most productive instrument. The
number of papers from visitor instruments on the WHT also remained significant,
with 14 papers over two years.
Figure 7. Use of instrument data in
WHT papers in 2002 (left) [ JPEG | TIFF ] and 2003 (right) [ JPEG
| TIFF ].
On the INT the papers are split very evenly between IDS spectrograph and
the Wide Field Camera as might be expected from the split of observing time
between these instruments, roughly 50–50.
Figure 8. Use of instrument data in
INT papers in 2002 (left) [ JPEG | TIFF ] and 2003 (right) [ JPEG
| TIFF ].
Concerning the nationality of the first author’s institution, there is little
change, at least considering the fluctuations from year to year. The UK
share is steady around 45%, and the Spanish share about 20%. The NL share
also showed little systematic change. Interestingly, about one third of the
papers have a first author from other countries, emphasising the international
character of the observatory and the high level of international collaboration
between research groups.
All data taken with the ING telescopes is archived in the UK, at the Institute
of Astronomy, Cambridge. The data archive is managed by the Cambridge Astronomy
Archival data from the ING telescopes is made available to anyone upon request,
after a one-year proprietary period. The number of archive retrieval requests
has remained high over the past two years, with over 500 requests per year,
for retrieval of more than 40,000 data sets. The historic trend of the archive
requests can be seen in Figure 9. This level of archive use underlines the
importance of the ING archive as a general tool for astronomy research.
Figure 10. Number of ING archive requests. [ JPEG | TIFF ]