Welcome to the island of La Palma and to the telescopes of the Isaac Newton Group. May I wish you a safe, productive and enjoyable visit.
This information is provided to ING visitors on their arrival at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos, ORM). Please take a few minutes to read the accompanying notes: they are intended for all users of the 2.5m Isaac Newton Telescope and the 4.2m William Herschel Telescope, known collectively as the Isaac Newton Group.
During your stay you will meet or see many of our staff; all of them are here to make your observations possible and successful, so please do not hesitate to ask anyone for advice or assistance. The staff you will interact with most are listed below with a brief description of their duties.
Support Astronomer (SA): Each run is allocated a SA whose role is to help you maximize the scientific returns from your trip. They will have contacted you or the principal applicant in advance and will help you interact smoothly with the rest of the Observatory. The SA will introduce you to operating the instrument and telescope on the first night of your run. When things are running satisfactorily he or she will probably leave you in peace unless you request differently.
Observing Support Assistant (OSA): The WHT has an OSA whose role is also to support you and help you get the best out of the equipment. Your OSA also has an important role to play safeguarding the telescopes, their associated equipment, and yourself. There will be times when the OSA will have to close down the telescope for safety reasons. If they do so then it will be because of criteria based on design limitations and experience. Your understanding, if this happens to you, would be much appreciated.
Online information to help you to prepare your observing trip can be found at Planning Observations (http://www.ing.iac.es/astronomy/planning/).
Marc Balcells, email@example.com
You are strongly advised to declare any serious medical condition to the Director of the ING (directoring.iac.es) before arranging your visit. Such conditions include respiratory or heart problems, epilepsy, diabetes, any medical condition which may be significant in the event of an accident or emergency, etc. With your permission he will ensure that the essential personnel are aware of the condition. Be assured that all medical matters are treated in strict confidence.
Astronomical observing is a potentially dangerous occupation. It frequently involves the operation of heavy equipment, in pitch darkness, at high altitude, and in lousy weather. Severe accidents have occurred at astronomical observatories, so visitors must take safety issues seriously.
Visitors should note that the ING safety policy applies to them as well as to observatory staff. For that reason, they are provided with one of the following safety checklists upon arrival at the observatory, which should be read and returned signed: WHT (http://www.ing.iac.es/astronomy/planning/VisitingAstronomersWHT.pdf), INT (http://www.ing.iac.es/astronomy/planning/VisitingAstronomersINT.pdf).
The responsibility for safety on site during daytime working hours is vested in ING's Leader of the Operations Team, and at night in the Observing Support Assistant (OSA). They are the first point of contact in case of any emergency, and they have the authority to take decisions on safety issues, such as determining that the buildings or the observatory site should be evacuated, and such decisions must be obeyed. The IAC Residencia provides a 24-hour porter service who can also be contacted in case of an emergency.
For emergency procedures please refer to the Health and Safety (http://www.ing.iac.es/Intranet/safety/safetyindex.html) section on the Intranet web pages (only accessible at the observatory).
The OSA's mobile number is (0)616 974 513. He/She starts work 30 minutes before sun set. The IAC night porter's mobile number is (0)609 554576 and works until 23:00, stays on site and is on call for emergencies. During working hours you may contact the operations team by making an F79 call on the ING intercom or calling 670 using the ING Cisco phones. The WHT control room (telephone number: (0)922 405559, (0)922 425452) is manned throughout the night (except when abandoned due to bad weather). The general emergency number in Spain is (0)112; they will speak your language!
If you feel unwell, notify the operations team or your OSA or get someone to do so. For your own safety, do not, under any circumstances, go to your room and lie down without telling someone. If someone else tells you they feel unwell, make sure that the ING's Leader of the Operations Team, the OSA or the IAC Residencia porter are informed
In case of an emergency contact ING's Leader of the Operations Team at daytime normal working times, or the Observing Support Assistant (OSA) at night. The IAC Residencia provides a 24-hour porter service who can also be contacted in case of an emergency.
Observers who are resident in a European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland are advised to carry a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to facilitate any medical care within the Spanish public health system that may be needed during your stay on La Palma. Residents of the Netherlands and UK may apply for their EHIC respectively at:
Residents of other EEA countries and Switzerland should apply for their EHIC through their national health insurance systems.
Without this card you will be required to pay any doctor and hospital charges.
Note that the range of medicines available on site is extremely limited, since ING is not legally permitted to dispense medicines. This legal restriction includes non-prescription items such as aspirin, and visiting observers would be well-advised to bring their own supply.
Other items which visitors are advised to bring include lip-salve (the atmosphere on site can be extremely dry), sun shield (particularly for those who intend to do much walking on site) and travel-sickness tablets (for those who might be affected by the journey up and down the mountain road).
Alcoholic drinks are not allowed in the telescope buildings. Smoking is prohibited in all ING buildings. Drinks and cold snacks are allowed in the control rooms; please use the kitchen for hot meals. You may use the refrigerators, however please remove all your items at the end of your run. It is good practice to label (name and date) what you put in the fridge.
Observers working alone at night are at particular risk. Carry the lone worker alarm and mobile phone always with you. Your Support Astronomer will show you how it works.
If you discover a fire:
On hearing the evacuation signal:
The operations leader or the ING contact person will call (0)112 if a fire has been discovered that cannot be tackled. If a fire is discovered the operations leader or the ING contact person must inform the IAC reception, ING management and the ING safety adviser.
Once a fire incident has been resolved the operations leader or the ING contact person, after agreeing with ING management or the ING safety adviser, will inform staff and visitors how to proceed.
If you intend to leave the site to walk, always tell somebody before you leave.
Please bear in mind that bad weather can restrict the access to the observatory. In these conditions ING activates the bad weather procedure (http://www.ing.iac.es/astronomy/planning/winterprocedure.pdf) which means that the taxi can't get to the IAC's Residencia before 09:15, and the way down must be done in daylight. Due to these restrictions, or if the observatory is unreachable, then you might have to stay longer at the IAC's Residencia.
ING strongly recommends that you do not travel to the mountain-top in anything other than the official ING transport or an ING-booked taxi. The roads can be impassable or dangerous at any time of the year, with the worst months being November through April. In any case, please never book a taxi or drive a car without providing ING a contact mobile phone number, your planned itinerary (departure and arrival times and places), informing of any accompanying people, and contacting the IAC residencia or your support astronomer for the latest update on driving conditions for both the way up and down . See maps and photos on How to Get to the Roque de Los Muchachos Observatory from Sea Level (https://www.ing.iac.es/astronomy/planning/howtoget.html).
The WHT Observing Support Assistant (OSA) can provide transport to and from the telescopes before sunset and after sunrise for non-driving observers. Arrange this with your support astronomer.
For insurance reasons, ING administration is now required to check the validity of the driving licences of any observers planning to drive ING cars on the mountaintop. Your support astronomer will therefore be asking you to email firstname.lastname@example.org, and at least 10 days before the first night of the observing run:
The copies of licence and passport will be treated by ING as confidential, and will be seen only by authorised ING administration staff.
Once the administration staff have checked the validity of the driving licence, they will authorise release of the car keys to the observers when they arrive at the residencia. Only with this authorisation will observers be allowed to drive an ING car.
ING greatly regrets the additional work involved for observers, but this is apparently the only way we can meet the requirements of our insurance cover.
Keys for the vehicles may be obtained from the reception desk at the IAC's Residencia the day of your first observing night. In case the keys are not encountered, please contact your Support Astronomer.
Visiting observers will be asked to sign a form, before using these vehicles. Information on the use of the vehicles is available inside the vehicles. Please report any problem you find with the car via the ING fault database and remember the speed limit on site is 40 km/h and we drive on the right.
Car and keys should be returned at the IAC's Residencia immediately following the last observing night. See below the current allocations:
|ING Car||Assigned to|
|Blue SEAT IBIZA 1679DCB||WHT observer|
|White SEAT IBIZA 1650DCB||INT observer|
A Support Astronomer (SA) will be present until approximately 23:00 local time on the first night of each WHT and INT run (apart from runs with established visiting instruments), to provide an introduction to the telescope, instrumentation and data-acquisition systems, and to safety issues. The SA will be on-call at the Residencia throughout the first night. Unless otherwise agreed, observers should meet their SA in the telescope control room at 15:00 on the first day of the run. Support astronomers usually make contact with their observers several weeks before the start of the observing run. INT support is provided by student SAs.
The WHT 'observing support assistant' (OSA, an enhancement of the former 'telescope-operator' role) provides all-night, year-round operator and engineering support at the telescope. The OSA will be present at the telescope by half an hour before sunset (usually carrying out pre-observing checks) and will by default ensure, weather permitting, that by sunset the dome is open and the telescope is available for observing. If observers need the telescope on-sky earlier (e.g. for unusually-demanding sky flats) they should discuss this in advance with the OSA (or SA).
It's expected that on-sky observations will end during morning twilight. Occasionally, e.g. if the dome couldn't be opened in the evening, the observer may need to take sky flats in morning twilight. If so, the OSA should be warned about this during the night, and taking sky flats should not extend beyond 10 minutes after sunrise (NB flats taken in bright twilight can be done with the WHT pointing at the zenith, allowing the OSA to park the telescope). The OSA will only rarely be able to stay at the telescope longer than this, due to various constraints (including allowed shift length), and such observations may also conflict with daytime engineering access to the telescope.
The OSA's mobile-phone number is +34 616 97 45 13.
INT observers may call on the OSA for advice, but should be aware that the OSA usually has to stay at the WHT, and can't go to the INT to investigate problems. Critical technical problems which arise at the INT on weekends or public holidays, and which cannot be solved by the OSA, will not be addressed until the next working day.
There is no engineering support on-site during the following periods (local time):
|Summer weekdays||16:00 - 19:30 (15:30 - 19:30 on Fridays)|
|Winter weekdays||16:00 - 18:30 (15:30 - 18:30 on Fridays)|
|Weekends, public holidays||From dawn until 19:30 (18:30 in winter)|
During these periods, the telescope buildings will be locked (key available from the Residencia reception), and visitors working alone should carry the lone-worker alarm and the lone-worker mobile phone. In the event of an emergency, call the Observing Support Assistant (phone (0) 616 974513) or Residencia reception (phone (0) 922 405500).
On normal working days, the operations-team staff will carry out only limited checks of the WHT and of the instrument scheduled for use that night. The telescope will usually be available to observers by 15:00. The operations team will not normally move any optical component in the instrument light-path (and if they do, the observers will be notified) but system restarts might change the detector readout settings. It's recommended that observers check during the afternoon that the instrument configuration has not been disturbed.
On a few working days (Christmas and New Year's eve, colour-coded light green on the schedules), there will be a reduced level of engineering support.
Only ING staff are allowed to move the WHT, or its dome or shutters.
Observers who have a long observing run at the INT, and who plan to change the observing team during the run, should let their SA know, well in advance of the run, the names of the observers and the date/s of the handover/s. Safety training will be provided for the new observers on the day of each handover.
Observers who wish to discuss any aspects of the run, after arrival on La Palma, but before the formal start-of-run introduction at the telescope, may want to arrange a preliminary meeting with their SA, perhaps in Santa Cruz, where the ING offices are located.
Manual changes of the configuration of an instrument during an observing run (e.g. changes of filter, dichroic or grating) will be accommodated if they were requested explicitly in the original observing proposal. Such changes will be made by ING staff, and must not be made by visiting observers at either the WHT or INT. At the WHT, manual changes to instrument configurations can also be made during the night by the OSA. At the INT, instrument configuration changes can only be made on normal working days, when appropriately-trained day-time staff are available to effect the changes.
Details of requested changes to the instrument configuration during a run should be confirmed with the SA well in advance of the run. Requests for configuration changes not specified in the telescope proposal will be handled on a best-efforts basis.
The INT/WFC is offered at a default rotator position angle of 180 degrees. When there is compelling scientific justification (which should appear in the original observing proposal), other rotator angles (0, 90 or 270 degrees) can be offered for the duration of the run. Changes of WFC rotator angle during a run are not permitted.
Inexperienced WHT and INT observers must be accompanied by an experienced observer. 'Inexperienced' here means unable, alone, to make efficient (and safe) use of the observing night, whether from general lack of observing experience, or from lack of experience with the specific techniques to be used. This lack of experience will not adequately be compensated by the start-of-run training provided by observatory support staff.
In addition, it is essential that INT observers have considerable end-to-end observing experience with medium-sized telescopes. INT observers are responsible for all aspects of operation, from opening the dome in the evening, and operating the telescope and instrumentation throughout the night, to parking the telescope and closing the dome at the end of the night or in the event of deteriorating weather conditions.
ING relies on student supervisors, and experienced members of proposing teams, to ensure that less-experienced observers prepare adequately for their observing runs, before travelling to La Palma.
If there is any doubt about whether intended observers have sufficient experience, the advice of the SA should be sought.
While observing alone at the INT, observers should always carry with them the lone-worker alarm, whose use will be demonstrated by the SA.
INT observers who need help should make contact with the WHT OSA at dinner time, or contact him/her in the WHT control room (intercom 68, telephone (0)922 405559 or 452 on Cisco phones). Since there is no OSA at the INT, observers are expected to move the telescope, dome and shutters themselves. If there is ice on the dome, or there are other doubts about how to proceed, the WHT OSA should be contacted.
ING has a well-equipped mechanical workshop, staffed during normal working hours by trained engineers. Observers requiring their services should contact the Head of Operations, opsheading.iac.es. With sufficient advance notice, assistance outside normal working hours may also be possible.
We can provide you with up to 3 additional guest accounts if necessary (see the current account assignments (http://www.ing.iac.es/astronomy/computing/private/accounts.html). For more guest accounts that you might require, or if you are visiting the ING and you need an account, please complete the Computing Facilities Questionnaire for visiting astronomers (http://www.ing.iac.es/~cfg/public/visitors/visitors.php).
Certain access restrictions are applicable when using these guest accounts. In accordance with the ING Computer Security Policy, guest accounts are provided to be used within the ING network domain. That is to say, access to ING resources via these accounts is only permitted if the user is on ING premises.
at the WHT, at the INT, and at the SLO
Please be aware that the use of the email outgoing ports 25 (SMTP) and 465 (SMTPS) within the ING network is not permitted, unless used for connecting with an ING email server. As a consequence you can read but not send out email using, for instance, an application on your laptop to connect with your usual email server. Alternative ways to email from within the ING network like webemail, or SSH, VPN or EDUROAM connections are not affected by this network security restriction.Computing Facilities Questionnaire for visiting astronomers. ingext requires Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), no static IP addresses are available.
You can apply for a cable network access, based on DHCP. Please provide your ethernet MAC address using the Computing Facilities Questionnaire for visiting astronomers. You can use any of the spare wall UTP ports, although we strongly recommend those marked as "General Ports". Keep the wall port free if not being used. In case you are not using DHCP, we also provide some static IP addresses at the disposal of the visitors (http://www.ing.iac.es/~cfg/network/public/tempip.html) if the ethernet MAC address wasn't registered previously.
IAC operates a wireless network at the Residencia that can be accessed from the bedrooms. Details on how to use it can be obtained at the reception of the Residencia. ING also provides a network hub in the computer room of the Residencia. For plugging your computer there you need DHCP and registering your ethernet's MAC address using the Computing Facilities Questionnaire for visiting astronomers.
Users of Macintosh are requested to contact the ING Computing Group using the Computing Facilities Questionnaire for visiting astronomers well in advance of their visit, if they suspect that they will require any specific support for their computers.
If your institution is connected to the network, you can log on the ING's eduroam wifi network using your network's username and password at your institution (enter username@domain as username). At the ING, security is set to WPA2-Enterprise and encryption to AES CCMP. More information can be found attransferring and recording data (http://www.ing.iac.es/astronomy/computing/recording.html).
For any reasons, edit (create, modify or remove) any data files from the /obsdata/whta or /obsdata/inta directories.
It is an ING policy that all astronomical images are archived and eventually sent to the image archive operated by the CASU Astronomical Data Centre in Cambridge (see the ING data ownership policy (http://www.ing.iac.es/astronomy/observing/data_ownership.html) for more information. To ensure that all images are archived, please do not delete any files on the observing directories.
If you need to recover any data or an observational log of your run during the propietary period, your request will need to be made via the ING Astronomy Group. Please contact the Support Astronomer of your observing run or the Head of Astronomy.
The following are data areas at the disposal of visitors:
|/data/wcomm||WHT disk cluster||WEAVE repository of commissioning data|
|/scratch/whta/||WHT observers||Scratch area. No backups.|
|/reduction/local/||WHT and INT observers||Local scratch areas on *DRPC* computers. No backups.|
|/obsdata/whta/||WHT observers||WHT observational data. Do not edit (create, modify or remove) any data in this directory.|
|/obsdata/outgoing/whtguest/||WHT observers||FTP area anonymously acccesible at ftp://ftp.ing.iac.es/whtguest/. Do not reduce data here.|
|/data/whtguest/||WHT observers||whtguest data repository. No backups.|
|/reduction/local/||WHT and INT observers||Local scratch areas on *DRPC* computers. No backups.|
|/scratch/inta/||INT observers||Scratch area. No backups.|
|/obsdata/inta/||INT observers||INT observational data. Do not edit (create, modify or remove) any data in this directory.|
|/obsdata/outgoing/intguest/||INT observers||FTP area anonymously accesible at ftp://ftp.ing.iac.es/intguest/. Do not reduce data here.|
|/data/intguest/||INT observers||intguest data repository. No backups.|
|/scratch/slo/||SLO users||Scratch area. No backups.|
|/obsdata/outgoing/sloguest/||SLO guests||FTP area anonymously acccesible at ftp://ftp.ing.iac.es/sloguest/. Do not reduce data here.|
|/data/sloguest/||SLO guests||Data area for sloguest user.|
To work with observational data, first copy the files to a scratch area. Do not use the /obsdata or /home directories for data storage or reduction. Please be aware that scratch areas are not backed up and files older than 1 year could be removed without previous warning if free disk capacity drops below 5%.
|whtta-color||WHT terminal room.||Colour duplex laser A4 printer.||nslookup whtta-color|
|whtta-laser||WHT terminal room.||B/W duplex laser A4 printer.||nslookup whtta-laser|
|whtta-mfp||WHT terminal room.||Colour duplex ink A4/A3 fax, printer, copier and scanner. On windows only.||nslookup whtta-mfp|
|whtor-laser||WHT operations room.||B/W duplex laser A4 printer.||nslookup whtor-laser|
|wht1f-laser||WHT first floor corridor.||B/W duplex laser A4 printer. On windows only.||nslookup wht1f-laser|
|int1f-color||INT first floor.||Colour duplex laser A4 printer, copier, scanner, fax. OKI MC362dn||nslookup int1f-color|
|intcr-laser||INT control room.||B/W duplex laser A4 printer.||nslookup intcr-laser|
|slo5f-color||5th floor, sea-level office.||Colour duplex laser A4 printer. HP Color laser jet enterprise M552. https://slo5f-color/||nslookup slo5f-color|
|slo5f-laser||5th floor, sea-level office.||B/W duplex laser A4 printer. http://slo5f-laser/||nslookup slo5f-laser|
|slo5f-mfp||5th floor, sea-level office.||Colour duplex laser A4 fax, printer, copier and scanner. HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M479fdn.||nslookup slo5f-mfp|
|slo3f-color||3rd floor, sea-level office.||Colour non-duplex A4/A3 laser printer.||nslookup slo3f-color|
|slo3f-laser||3rd floor, sea-level office.||B/W duplex laser A4 printer.||nslookup slo3f-laser|
|slo3f-mfp||3rd floor, sea-level office.||Colour duplex ink A4/A3 printer, copier and scanner. Brother MFC-J6910DW DIN A3. No network driver. For printing from windows, install driver and search manually for the IP of the printer.||nslookup slo3f-mfp|
Below are examples of how to print from a Linux computer:
lp -d<printer> <file>
lp -d<printer> -o sides=two-sided-long-edge <file>
lp -d<printer> -o media=a3 <file>
Where <printer> is the printer's name as provided in the first column of the table above, except otherwise noted. If you need to print from your laptop using ingext network, please follow the instructions on how to print to ING printers as a guest (http://www.ing.iac.es/~cfg/private/printers/guestprint.html).
Such a visit may also allow discussion of your run with, for example, your Support Astronomer, or start the reduction of your data. We have office and computing facilities for visitors, and a good library (http://www.ing.iac.es/astronomy/library). If you would like to present a seminar on your work, please contact the seminar organiser (contact available at the seminar programme (http://www.ing.iac.es/astronomy/science/seminars.html). ING may well be able to cover your extra costs if your observing grant does not; just ask the seminar organiser when you contact him to set up your visit.
Visiting astronomers are invited to report on important highlights obtained using the ING telescopes or beautiful images to the ING Public Relations Officer (contact available at the Public Information (http://www.ing.iac.es/PR). Sometimes it can happen that in twilight there might be an observing gap in your programme. If this happen maybe you can be interested in picking up a PR object from our list of PR targets (http://www.ing.iac.es/PR/targets).
Don't forget to buy an ING souvenir before leaving La Palma! Please contact your Support Astronomer or Observing Support Assistant during your run.
At the end of your observing run please fill in the feedback form (http://catserver.ing.iac.es/feedback/) and use this acknowledgement (http://www.ing.iac.es/astronomy/observing/INGinfo_ack.html) in any papers based on data obtained with ING telescopes. If you have suggestions on how to improve the service we provide, please mention this in your feedback. This feedback and your suggestions are important to us.