Observing procedure

Observations will be prepared in the Management of Measurements (MoM) system by the ASTRON SDC Operations group. MoM can be accessed at https://lofar.astron.nl/mom3/ using most browsers. Cookies and javascript should be enabled. A detailed description can be found at https://lofar.astron.nl/mom3/help/.

You should be able to login to MoM with the username and password used for Northstar. If you have problems logging in or with viewing your project, please contact us through the ASTRON helpdesk. Please remember to always enter your project code in the subject when communicating through the helpdesk.

Observations related to your project are being prepared under the appropriate project code (e.g., LC12_001) in MoM. Detailed specifications can be examined by pressing the “Details” buttons.

You will be notified when observations have been (partially) prepared. You are then requested to review the detailed specifications of the observations (“Details” button) and send us any remarks you may have. The information we need includes the following, but more can be asked for if needed:

**Observational setup**

1 Target/(calibrator) coordinates

2 Station/antenna setup (LBA/HBA + submode)

3 Frequency setup (antenna filter; user-specified subband list)

4 Specifics on the setup of beamformed mode

**Pipeline setup (if requested)**

1 Frequency and time averaging parameters

2 Demixing yes or no, which sources

3 Calibration/imaging details

If you find that parameters you gave at the time of proposal submission are no longer adequate (e.g., if you have other source coordinates, frequency settings, etc.), or if you have additional requirements, you are requested to provide us with this information as soon as possible through the ASTRON helpdesk.

For your orientation, a preliminary schedule can be found at the following web address:

http://www.astron.nl/radio-observatory/observing/cycles-allocations-and-observing-schedules/cycles-allocations-and-observ


The overall schedule is subject to change, as LOFAR is being further developed and the telescope operators have to respond to triggered observations as well as operational issues and maintenance.

In view of the overall telescope schedule, the detailed preparation of upcoming observations that require any input provided from you will be initiated (under normal circumstances) by ASTRON staff at the latest two weeks ahead of your observations. Fundamental changes in the setup of your observations should be reported at least 10 days ahead of your observations. We cannot guarantee any changes to be made at a later time.

As soon as the ASTRON personnel finishes the preparation you will be notified by email. In case you see errors on the “Details” overviews of the observations, you will be able to respond with any changes that need to be made until the last working day of the week prior to the week preceding the scheduled time of observation.

After the observations and subsequent processing, you will be notified by email and your requested data products will be made available through the archive as soon as possible.

The Radio Observatory will not have the opportunity to check all data manually before it is exported, although some automatic diagnostics are generated for system monitoring, and offline technical monitoring will be carried out regularly. You will receive an email after each observation for your project with detailed information on where to find the relevant plots. Your project team is encouraged to analyze their data, at least preliminarily, soon after the observations, and to get in touch through the ASTRON helpdesk about any possible problems. Observations that turn out to have a problem that makes them unusable may be considered for only one re-run, as soon as the schedule allows.

For more information about the observing and processing policies adopted by ASTRON during the LOFAR Cycles, please consult the ASTRON web pages at

http://www.astron.nl/radio-observatory/observing-capabilities/depth-technical-information/cycle-1-observing-and-processin

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