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24 September 2012 Evolution of the phase 2 preparation and observation tools at ESO
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Throughout the course of many years of observations at the VLT, the phase 2 software applications supporting the specification, execution and reporting of observations have been continuously improved and refined. Specifically the introduction of astronomical surveys propelled the creation of new tools to express more sophisticated, longer-term observing strategies often consisting of several hundreds of observations. During the execution phase, such survey programs compete with other service and visitor mode observations and a number of constraints have to be considered. In order to maximize telescope utilization and execute all programs in a fair way, new algorithms have been developed to prioritize observable OBs taking into account both current and future constraints (e.g. OB time constraints, technical telescope time) and suggest the next OB to be executed. As a side effect, a higher degree of observation automation enables operators to run telescopes mostly autonomously with little supervision by a support astronomer. We describe the new tools that have been deployed and the iterative and incremental software development process applied to develop them. We present our key software technologies used so far and discuss potential future evolution both in terms of features as well as software technologies.
© (2012) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
D. Dorigo, B. Amarand, T. Bierwirth, Y. Jung, P. Santos, F. Sogni, and I. Vera "Evolution of the phase 2 preparation and observation tools at ESO", Proc. SPIE 8451, Software and Cyberinfrastructure for Astronomy II, 84511B (24 September 2012);

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