Synoptic Target Information


HET parlance has adopted the term "synoptic" as a shorthand for targets for which any date window is imposed in addition to their sheer sidereal accessibility. HET queue scheduling is well suited to "synoptic" observing, but the date windowing formalism, explained below, must be clear to users. Please note that the general principle is: the synoptic targets remain blocked until their observing date window, and resume being blocked after the window.


There are currently TWO modes for controlling the observing dates of synoptic targets:

Phase blocking (unblocking)
Synoptic blocking (unblocking) via the TSL keywords SYNDATE and SYNFREQ

Advantages of the Phase Blocking methods:

  • Phase blocking is linked to celestial object name, not target entry, so there can be large numbers of target entries needed to code an object's optimal observing strategy, but only one phaseblock information file needs to be tended.
  • Software bookkeeping automatically handles the situation of choosing tracks to observe or to bypass, and updating the information and future choices in the light of past visits. This minimizes the task load for the PIs.
  • Less desirable phases being blocked, the scientific throughput is greater.
  • There is little task load for the RA or the PI. The latter should however decide promptly about rejecting any data, to minimize complications. The RAs will have track censoring software to prevent wasting time considering or scheduling tracks that will turn out to have blocked phases, e.g. in nightly plans.

Advantages of the Synoptic Blocking methods:

  • For few targets and intended phase points, the =utdate date entry may be less time consuming to set up.
  • The format is ideal for decaying events which impose a time cutoff.
  • The format is well suited to targets of long and precisely known period.




Last updated: Sun, 05 Aug 2012 03:50:27 -0500 caldwell



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