How do you use modern web technologies to build a user-friendly browser-based data archive? We answer this question for the data archive of the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) and Southern African Large Telescope, which lets users make complex searches, view FITS files and make data requests. The software stack includes React, NodeJS, GraphQL and PostgreSQL. The archive is hosted on virtual Ubuntu servers. The development workflow uses tools like Github Actions, Reviewable and Prettier. The archive forms part of the SAAO's artificial intelligence based approach to observing.
SALT is a 10-m class optical telescope located in Sutherland, South Africa, owned by an international consortium and operated in fully queue-scheduled mode by the South African Astronomical Observatory. In this paper we present an update on all observatory performance metrics since the start of full science operations in late 2011, including science time, weather and technical downtime, and time used for planned engineering activities and commissioning. We analyze key statistics describing the science output of SALT, the completion fractions of scheduled observations and programs per priority class, and analyze the more than 260 refereed papers since the start of operations in 2011 until the end of 2019. We further discuss 2020, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our metrics, and the resulting, successful move to full remote operations since May 2020. The SALT refereed paper has continued along a similar trend to other 6-10 m observatories (when scaled by the number of telescopes). When scaled by operations costs (where known), SALT is still clearly very cost-effective compared to most other large telescope operations. It is interesting to note that, while our main workhorse instrument, the RSS spectrograph, still produces the largest number of papers and dominates our best conditions queue (i.e. dark time, best seeing, photometric conditions), with the arrival of the high-resolution data reduction pipeline at the end of 2016, the HRS is now used ~40% of the time and is our main instrument during bright Moon and poorer conditions. Spectropolarimetry continues to be widely. Our Fabry- Pérot system is undergoing repairs and it is hoped it will be back online in the latter part of 2021. We also briefly discuss our upcoming instrumentation and facility developments and show SALT's near- and long-term exciting future.
SALT is a 10-m class optical telescope located in Sutherland, South Africa, owned by an international consortium and operated in fully queue-scheduled mode by the South African Astronomical Observatory.
Since the start of its science operations in late 2011 and particularly since the start of its integrated operations, all the key metrics have continued to increase at a significant pace, breaking records nearly every semester: program completion, completion levels per priority, number of observed blocks, and publications. In this paper we present an update of all of our performance metrics and the strategic changes that have been and are taking place, in line with the new Strategic Plan for SALT and the SAAO.
To take full advantage of the upcoming era of LSST, time-domain astronomy, and proposals that span multiple semesters and may have hundreds of targets, it was decided to upgrade the software for the Southern African Large Telescope. At the heart of the upgrade were changes to the MySQL database. A new web-based API allows an automated submission of targets of opportunities. This API is also used by a React-based single page application for real time updates of time allocations. The software upgrade also includes extensible web pages for monitoring data quality.