Welcome to ARO Remote Observing.
With the completion of the new control system on the SMT 10 Meter telescope, ARO can now offer remote observing to the radio astronomy community using both telescopes. The 10 Meter now joins the 12 Meter's rich history of providing world class remote observing.
NOTE: As of April 2, 2004 ARO no longer supports any form of communication to our computers other then ssh. We are sorry for this inconvenience, but security issues force our hand in this respect. All references to remote observing using the old telnet method have been removed from this document.
NOTICE: Due to an ever increasing number of ssh attacks to our telescope computers, it has become necessary to implement limitations on our users. Beginning observing season 2011-2012, all users of ARO facilities are required to supply ARO management the IP numbers of any and all computers they plan to use for their remote observing. Details about this policy can be found here.
Requests for remote observing should be coordinated with the ARO Director.
Observatory Director: Info on observing scheduling.
Dr. Lucy Ziurys:
Thomas W. Folkers:
12 Meter Operator: Info on the scheduling of remote test runs and account passwords.
10 Meter Operator: Info on the scheduling of remote test runs and account passwords.
Phone: 520-621-4328 x210
Documents and other information is available on the ARO web site: http://aro.as.arizona.edu/
Observers can connect to the 12-m or SMT telescope computers and establish a remote data reduction session, see the on‑line "Status" screen, have a computer "Talk" session with the telescope operator, have a real‑time automatic display of incoming data, browse previously recorded data, see weather information, view receiver switched power and total power "chart recorder" output, and view real‑time video snap‑shots (12-m only).
Trial logins before a remote observing run are best done on maintenance and test days. In all cases, you should notify the operator when you are attempting a trial run. Once you have performed the login and checked that all the tasks are working, you should exit as quickly as possible. Simple courtesy and common sense will avoid any conflicts.
We strongly advise that all observations to the ARO telescopes be performed using ssh. Using ssh provides the most secure type of communications to and from the telescopes. Ssh also makes setting X display variables easier because it does all the work for us.
If your computer is behind a firewall or you use DHCP for obtaining IP addresses, then ssh will most likely be the only way remote observing will work for you.
Just make sure your instance of ssh is doing the X11 tunneling for you.
Observers are strongly advised to obtain and use ssh.
A free implementation of ssh for Windows is called putty and may be obtained at:
The latest version of Xming can be obtained at:
The latest version of openssh can be obtained at:
Most Linux distributions already supply ssh or openssh by default.
It is the policy of ARO not to give out passwords via email. All passwords must be obtained by calling the Telescope Operator, Operations Manager or the Program Coordinator.
The following are required for successful remote observing:
The following systems are known to work with our Remote Observing Package:
It is imperative that you email the operator, at least 24 hours in advance, with a description of your planed observing run. This email should contain source names, receiver configuration along with frequencies, backend selections and the type of observing you expect to do. This information will be used by the operator to configure you observing ahead of time when possible.
Using the information on Contacts Page, telephone or email the Telescope Operator and have them create a data reduction subdirectory with your initials. The operator will need the name of the principal observer, three initials from his name, and the project id of the program.
Observer = Thomas Folkers
Initials = twf
Project Id = f117
If you have your own catalog of sources you need to copy them to the telescope computers.
The only 'ftp' daemon we use is the "Secure File Transfer Protocol", sftp. This program is part of the ssh suite and is the only type we support. See section 3 for more on ssh.
Once a directory is established, you may sftp your source catalog to our computers by typing, (at your own system prompt):
For Kitt Peak 12 Meter:
For Mt. Graham 10 Meter:
Password: (See section 4 for our password policy)
Next, you must change to your observing directory:
sftp> cd "ini" ( Example: cd twf )
where "ini" are your three observing initials.
To place your catalog in your directory, type:
sftp> put your_catalog_name.cat
sftp> put agn_sources.cat
NOTE: Your catalog name must have the extension ".cat" when finished to be recognized by our system as a source catalog.
To end the sftp session, type
Note that all source catalogs must be in the standard ARO format, for example
Other coordinate and velocity frames are supported - Please see contact list above for more info about catalog options.
Examples of ARO catalog format can be found here.
Please see Section 3 for information on Security Issues involving ssh.
Open a shell / xterm type window then type: (NOTE: the -X allows the required X11 Forwarding)
For Kitt Peak 12 Meter:
% ssh -X -l obs modelo.as.arizona.edu
For Mt. Graham 10 Meter:
% ssh -X -l obs smtoast.as.arizona.edu
% Password: (See section 4 for our password policy)
[ lots of messages ]
% observer initials: (your initials, as established with the operator)
At the prompt you may start the remote observing package by typing:
% Xremote <cr>
The system will first check that your home machine has allowed our computers the permission to write to your display, and, if so, will print:
Shortly after executing the steps in sections 6.3 or 6.4 a control menu like the one shown below should, depending on the site, appear on your screen. The items that are "missing", from the Xremote control panel, are engineering processes that are available only from engineering login accounts. These technical items are not of general interest to observers.
"Select All" button. Pressing it will select all the standard processes.
"Clear All" button. Pressing it will clear all the check boxes.
"Start" button. Pressing this will start all of the selected processes.
"Stop" button. Pressing this will stop all the selected processes.
"Exit" button. Pressing this will end your remote session. Any processes still running will also be terminated.
"Page Operator" button. Pressing this button will play a prerecorded message in the control room to alert the operator.
If you press the button, checks marks will appear in all the default boxes except a few auxiliary processes which must be started explicitly.
Conversely, pressing the button removes all the check marks. It is worth starting all the remote processes at least once to familiarize you with what is available. You may find that you do not need all of the processes, in which case they can be shut down individually. If the network throughput into your site is sluggish, you may also choose to shut down all but the most essential screens.
To start the processes identified by check marks in the boxes above, press the button.
If you want to stop some of the processes, first press the button to remove any remaining checks, then check the specific processes you want to stop, and press the button.
To stop the entire Xremote session, push the button, then log out of your original window by typing "<control-d>" or "logout." Please remember to stop your remote session as soon as you are finished observing.
Depending on your choices, up to 17 windows will begin to appear on your screen. Some of these screens may appear different because of different features at each site.
This is a digital representation of the switched power and total power chart recorders at the telescope. To access the control panel for the display and the selection of channels to plot, move the mouse arrow to the interior of the window, hold down on the right mouse button and pull to the desired selection. You can also use your mouse to resize the display as desired.
This is just a terminal window for continuum data analysis. You type "condar" in this window to start the UniPOPS CONDAR program. This program will start its own graphics window. This window shows a condar graphic window after reducing a five point observation.
This window presents a real‑time, automatic display of each observing scan within moments of the completion of the scan. Both spectral line and continuum observations are displayed. Utility observations, such as five‑points, focus checks, etc., are reduced automatically. The results of the analysis are transmitted to the operator. This window can be resized with the mouse. When Dataserv starts, an additional icon will appear labeled OTF Gridder. This icon will pop open to display on-the-fly images when that observing mode is in use. Do not kill the OTF Gridder window even if you do not plan to make OTF maps; doing so will kill Dataserv altogether. This display is a view of the 12 Meter Dataserv reducing a pointing scan.
DataBrowse is an off-line version of Dataserv. While Dataserv is always attached to the incoming data stream from the telescope, DataBrowse can be used to peruse previously recorded data. It provides a very fast way to review the data on disk. It is particularly useful in quick look displaying of spectral line OTF maps. DataBrowse does not provide publication grade results; you must use Line, Condar or Class for that. It is only a quick look tool. This shows the interface from the SMT.
This is just the interface portion of Databrowse (see above), that talks to the on-line Dataserv process. It allows adjustments to be made to Dataserv. (i.e. which filters back ends to use, which channels to integrate, etc). This is normally only used by the operator. This shows the interface from the 12 Meter.
This is just a terminal window for spectral line analysis. Within this window, type line to start the UniPOPS LINE program. Alternatively, you may type "class" in this window if you wish to use the GILDAS software package. Both packages will start their own graphics window. The UniPOPS line graphics window is shown at left.
This shows error and status messages seen by the operator.
This is a scrolling text file that gives a summary of observations with similar information to that recorded manually by the telescope operator on his log sheets. Configuration information such as filter bank changes appears as single-line entries in the automated log.
This is the off line version of Rambo. It is useful for watching the setup screens that the operator is using. No telescope control can be achieved from this display. This window shows the Rambo display from the SMT.
This shows the on‑line status monitor (with telescope setup information) as seen on the screen at the telescope.
This shows the temperature, barometric pressure, and relative humidity on one screen, the zenith opacity of the 225 GHz tipping radiometer on a second screen, and wind speed, direction, and a rain marker on a third screen. The display cycles automatically among the three screens or a specific screen can be displayed via a pull‑down menu button on the top of the window. Results for the last 24 hours are presented. This window can be resized with the mouse. The pull‑down menu also allows the display of 4 satellite weather photos from the visual, IR, water vapor‑sensitive band, and a surface analysis weather map, which includes a radar precipitation summary. You can kill these extra weather map image windows by hitting a "q" or the spacebar with the mouse arrow inside the weather map windows.
Use this to carry on an electronic conversation ("E-Chat") with the telescope operator.
If your network connection is very slow, than the very least you should run are the following programs:
After you have finished your remote observing session, please stop all the remote processes.
You have two options here. You can press the button on the Xremote screen which will stop all processes and remove the control menu.
Alternatively, press the button, then press the button. This will stop all the default remote windows, but leave the menu screen operative. Please note that killing the Xremote window by itself using the window manager will not kill the other windows; they run as independent processes. To conclude your remote observing session, type "exit" in the original window.
There are two options for routing UniPOPS hardcopies to your local site. Approach 1 is easy but tedious if you are making a lot of hardcopies. Approach 2 is automatic but requires some UNIX savvy, may open a security hole on your remote host, and it can tie up the unipops program while the graphics file is being printed.
Warning: This is for Postscript output only.
Before starting up line or condar set your popsprinter environment to be "capture".
% setenv popsprinter capture
After starting up line or condar, whenever you request a hardcopy (i.e. via GCOPY or TCOPY or LASER or OUTPUT) the postscript output that would otherwise get sent directly to a printer will be deposited in a file with each hardcopy request going into a new file (i.e. each time you type GCOPY, a new file is generated).
The name of the individual files will be capture.file.$$ where $$ will be expanded to a unique number for each file. The name of each file will be echoed to your screen.
ftp or sftp each file from our machine to your remote host and print it out as you would any postscript file (this is the tedious part).
Delete the files on our machine once you've transferred them to your remote host. You may wish to delete them on your remote host as well once they've been printed. Postscript files can be large so you don't want to get in the habit of letting them pile up.
N.B. This method:
At the telescope computer prompt, type:
setenv popsprinter remote
cp ~unipops/remote.print remote.print
Using your favorite editor, edit the copy of remote.print in your own obs/ini subdirectory. Here's what the unedited remote.print looks like:
cat ‑ > remote.ps.$$
rcp remote.ps.$$ username@hostname:remote.ps.$$
rsh ‑l username hostname lpr ‑Pprinter_name ‑r ‑s remote.ps.$$
/bin/rm ‑f remote.ps.$$
Modifications to the script you should make:
Date Issued: Mar 27
Author: Thomas Folkers
Copyright Arizona Radio Observatory.