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Service-Mode Observations for Regular Programmes at the INT

PIs of regular proposals at INT now have the possibility to request service observations for their IDS or WFC programmes in the new scheme of INT service-mode observations.

The INT service-mode observations scheme is offered to PIs aiming to facilitate the observations of their programmes with allocated time at the INT. Under this scheme, PIs can specify in the proposal, when applying for time at their respective Time Allocation Committee (TAC), that they are interested in the possibility of having the observations made by an INT Support Astronomer (INT-SA). Based on availability, an INT-SA will be assigned to the programme and will do the observations during the programme scheduled nights. PIs need to cover the IAC Residencia cost for the observing run (room, meals and snacks for the observer). In exchange for the INT-SA's time and effort performing the observations PIs must agree to include (or at least invite) the observer in any publication (papers, proceedings, etc) that result from the acquired data. When observations are done by an INT SA there won't be any special payback for observing time lost occurred during the run; technical problems, bad weather and possible observing errors will account as usual for a PI visitor programme.


  1. Who can request INT service-mode observations?
  2. When and how can INT service-mode observations be requested?
  3. How will INT service-mode observations be assigned?
  4. How and when will assigned INT service-mode observations be communicated?
  5. How do PIs provide the detailed information for the observations?
  6. Can the observations be overriden?
  7. How and when can the PIs retrieve the observed data?
  8. What is the agreement about possible time lost during INT service-mode observations?
  9. What is the cost of the observing run and how to pay it?
  10. What is the deal between the PIs and the INT-SA who performed the observations?
  11. How to acknowledge the service mode in publications
  12. Who coordinates the INT service-mode observation scheme?


  1. Who can request INT service-mode observations?

    Any PI of a regular proposal for WFC or IDS instruments at INT.
  2. When and how can INT service-mode observations be requested?

    At proposal submission: PIs can request INT service-mode observations with an explicit mention in the technical description section of the proposal to be submitted to the TACs. Note that requesting INT service-mode observations has no influence on either the TAC's decision about allocating time or the scheduling of the programme at the INT.

    After the programme was scheduled: PIs can also request INT service-more observations at a later stage, after the programme is scheduled at the INT. In this case the PIs should send an email to the INT Manager as soon as possible (ideally at least a month prior to the first night of the run) to increase the possibilities of successfully coordinating the observations for the programme.
  3. How will INT service-mode observations be assigned?

    INT service-mode observations requested will be covered according to availability of INT-SAs to perform the observations. Programmes for which the INT service-mode observations were requested at proposal submission will have priority over those whose request was made after the programme was scheduled (see information in Item 2).

    Note that INT service-mode observations are not guaranteed in advance as they depend on the availability of INT-SAs and the number and length of programmes requesting this mode. Those cases for which INT service-mode observations are critical (i.e. observations cannot be carried out in visitor mode), should clearly state this situation in the request.
  4. How and when will assigned INT service-mode observations be communicated?

    In case of programmes for which this mode was requested at proposal submission, PIs will receive an email with the notification within 2-3 weeks after the INT schedule is published.
    In case of programmes for which INT service-mode observations were requested after the programme was scheduled, PIs will receive an email with the notification within two weeks after the request was received.
  5. How do PIs provide the detailed information for the observations?

    For those programmes for which INT service-mode observations were assigned, PIs will receive in the notification email the information needed to proceed with the preparation for the observations (Phase-2, invoice to pay, etc).
    The detailed information for the observations will be provided by the PIs through an on-line Phase-2 form. A detailed technical assessment will be done on the Phase-2 and some iterations with the PI may be required before having everything set for the observations. If necessary, the assigned INT-SA for the observations will contact the PI after the Phase-2 technical assessment is finished to fine-tune the observation details. It is necessary that the PI (or a team member) is be available for contacting at daytime during the period when the observations are being carried out. It also would be desirable that a person could be available for contacting at least at the beginning of the first night of the run for providing quick feedback.
    PIs will be informed of the Phase-2 deadlines for each programme. Delays in submitting the Phase-2 information and/or answering technical assessment queries can result in the cancellation of the Service mode observation (hence, the programme team will be responsible for sending their own observer to INT for the run).
  6. Can the observations be overriden?

    Service-mode observations can be overridden by an authorised programme, see the Override Programme web pages. In the case that a programme can override the programme being observed in service mode only at the discretion of the observer, the local observer will contact the PI for instruction before observations start.
  7. How and when can the PIs retrieve the observed data?

    A report of the observing night will be issued at the end of each night and PIs will receive an email with the instructions for downloading the data, via ftp, the following morning.
  8. What is the agreement about possible time lost during INT service-mode observations?

    Technical problems, bad weather and possible observing errors by INT SA will count as usual for a PI visitor programme. For INT service-mode observations, the INT-SA carrying out the observations will have the same responsibility as a team member of the programme. ING is not obliged to pay back observing time lost in the scheme of INT service-mode observations.
  9. What is the cost of the observing run and how is it paid?

    In the scheme of INT service-mode observations PIs should cover the cost of the observing run. The nights have a fixed cost of about 90€ to cover the price of IAC Residencia room, meals and night snacks for the observer. Transport to and from ORM will be coordinated according ING transport availability, and usually won't add an extra cost to PIs. If it were necessary to use a taxi, its cost should also be covered by the PIs and it is about 45€ for a one-way trip. ING admin will prepare the budget for each programme, communicate the final cost to the PI, and send the invoice which should to be paid to ING in advance of the observing run.
  10. What is the deal between the PIs and the INT-SA who performed the observations?

    PIs must agree to invite the INT-SA who performs the observations to co-author the publications (papers, proceedings, etc) resulting from the data obtained in the INT service-mode observations scheme. This invitation must be issued regardless of the time passed from the observing date.

    The affiliation of the INT SA in the publication will include the ING. The INT SA is responsible for providing the PI with an email address where he/she can be contacted after his/her year of studentship programme at ING has finished.

    Other forms of collaboration between the science team and the INT-SA (e.g. participation in the science discussions, images reductions and data analysis, preparation of the publications, etc.) are also welcome (although are not part of this agreement).
  11. How to acknowledge the service mode in publications

    The ING asks users of its facilities to give proper acknowledgement to this effect in the papers that they publish. Please read the notes in the Acknowledgement ING web page for suggestions on how to acknowledge the INT Service Mode.
  12. Who coordinates the INT service-mode observation scheme?

    The INT Manager will coordinate the INT service-mode observations, supported by the INT scheduler. For any comment or question about this service please do not hesitate to contact Cecilia Farina via email.

Service-mode observations can only be carried out after the PI has explicitly agreed with all the items described in this page. Queries about this are welcome, and should be addressed to Cecilia Farina. We are open to discuss particular situations aiming for an agreement.



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Contact:  (INT Telescope Manager)
Last modified: 13 September 2017