Instruments & Operations



If you have any questions pertaining to your current or future use of the LBT Observatory, or have any other comments or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact one of the instrument support astronomers (ISAs).

Submit Slit Mask designs in advance!

Slit mask designs must be submitted well in advance (MODS=3 weeks, LUCIFER=6 weeks) of your observing run to allow for manufacturing of the slit masks, transport to the observatory, and installation into the instrument. Visit these links for more information on MODS and LUCIFER.

Review the LBT Site Safety information

The LBT will remain an active engineering project for some time yet, making many places in the enclosure unsafe for casual visits by observing team members. Please review this summary of LBTO site safety rules. Visiting observing teams are expected to follow these rules.

Rely on your Observatory Support Associate (OSA)

The OSAs should be your primary source of information on, or policies about, any operational issues that may arise. Observing runs will normally also include an instrument specialist and instrument support astronomer that can also help answer questions.

Submit Observing and End-of-Run Reports

Your input is valuable! LBTO uses the information provided by the observing teams to help improve the telescope, instruments, and operational procedures in order to maximize the science you can obtain from your observing time. There are links on the science and operations homepage (click home at left) to the necessary forms. Thank you!

Logging into the observer workstations

Observations at the LBTO will normally be done from one of the observer's workstations, logging into them using one of the partner observing accounts. These four accounts (inaf, lbtb, osurc, and az) have been set up with a default unix security preventing group or world access to the /home/<partner> directory, but note that the observers can defeat this. These accounts are to be used for all normal observations during partner blocks. The /home/<partner> directories are backed up regularly by LBTO personnel. They should be used for preparation and execution of a partner's observing program. Files can be left in the home directory for future observers. Please do not use these home directories for storage of data from the instruments. For security, you cannot log into these accounts from off-site. At the telescope, you can scp data from your home institutions to the observer's workstations. The initial passwords can be obtained from the ISAs; feel free to change them to something more memorable for your Partner's observing teams.

Each workstation is equipped with a ~1TB scratch disk that can be used as needed to support the ongoing observations. These local disks on all workstations should be considered as scratch space. They are not backed up by the LBTO and data left on them should not be considered either safe or private. LBTO staff will delete files not belonging to the current observers, with no notice, if the space is needed by current observers.

All of the workstations are equipped to run the usual suite of software (iraf, idl, most other common linux software packages). If you would like to have some other software packages available on the workstations that are not currently installed, please contact the ISAs.

Reporting problems (IssueTrak)

The LBTO is using IssueTrak as the official problem tracking system. All official problem reports for work to be done for the telescope and enclosure hardware and software, as well as instrumentation, should be reported in IssueTrak. To use IssueTrak, go to:

Please keep the observatory support assistants (OSA's) or other LBTO staff informed of any problems and have them enter the information into IssueTrak.

Backing up your data

Under the paradigm of a working LBT data archiving system, it should not be necessary for the observers to back up any data at the telescope. Data are transferred from the mountain archive to a Tucson mirror/server and from there distributed to the partners running their own data server machines. Please note that the /Repository directory is not the official copy of any data taken at the telescope. Data are copied there for the observers to use as needed for real-time data quality assessment. However...

Observing teams should come prepared to back up any science data they take, from the /Repository disk on the mountain workstations. Given the volume of data that can be produced each night, the most reasonable option would be to bring an external hard drive with sufficient capacity (plan for up to 50GB per night under full binocular LBC operations) for the length of your observing run. Plugging these hard drives directly into the observer's workstations is not recommended, however, as the default file permissions and ownership can cause problems later. We suggest you connect the hard drive to your laptop and copy data through the laptop to the hard drive.

Connecting your laptop

We assume that every Astronomer visiting the observatory will arrive with a laptop computer set up the way they like for email, editing, etc. There are two primary means of getting your laptop connected to the mountain network: wireless and wired connections. Either connection is sufficient for standard web or local access of small files.


There is a wireless hotspot at the observatory which runs a DHCP server. In principle, if your laptop is configured to automatically get an IP address through DHCP it should simply work. However, note that the wireless connection is much slower than plugging into the local ethernet network (also DHCP).


Ethernet cables for use by the visiting astronomers are available at the telescope, as the telescope operator if you need one. Plug the cable into any free ethernet port labeled "Astronomer's Net" on the wall behind the workstation. Again, in principle, if your laptop is configured to automatically get an IP address through DHCP it should simply work.

If this does not succeed in connecting your laptop to the local network, here are some additional OS-specific suggestions:


Connecting a Laptop to the LBT Network
Linux Jim...?
Mac OS X Make sure that AirPort is turned on for a wireless connection. If you do not automatically connect to either network, then open System Preferences -> Network and on the 'Network Status' page select either the Built-in Ethernet or AirPort depending on which you want to use. Click on the Configure button, then TCP/IP and make sure that 'Configure IPv4' is set to using DHCP. Click Renew DHCP Lease. That should do it!
Windows Vista/XP Make sure your wireless connection is on, scan for wireless networks, select "lbto". For a wired connection, you should automatically receive an IP address. If this does not happen stay connected then restart your machine. When you log back in open a command prompt, type in ipconfig /all and see if your local area connection is pulling an ip. If you see some other address than, go into that network adapter and take off the static IP and static DNS. Once that happens, windows will then query the DHCP server for an IP and you
should then get a valid IP address.


Printing to LBTO printers

There is a standard 600dpi black and white HP LaserJet printer in the control room for use by visiting astronomers wishing to use the dead-tree format. Follow the instructions above to connect your laptop to the local network and then follow the instructions below to add the printer to your available printer list.

Using LBT Printers
Linux For variations on CentOS/RedHat linux (CentOS/RHEL/Fedora), the queues are set up in CUPS (Common Unix Printing System) and published to Rendezvous. From the main menu, select System Settings and then Printing. You will be asked for the root/admin password for your machine. When the GUI starts, look in the Browsed queues menu for the printer labeled "HP". Otherwise, open the printer configuration GUI as above, and click New and follow the instructions to add a new printer queue. The queue type should be Networked CUPS with the server set to XXX and the path for the queue set to YYY. For the printer manufacturer and model choose Generic PostScript Printer and then click Finish. The process will be similar for other versions of linux, but the specific printer configuration software may be different.
Mac OS X The printer should be on the Rendezvous/Bonjour menu. Once you are connected, just print your file the normal way (command-P) and under the printer menu you will see an entry for Rendezvous/Bonjour Printers. On that list you should see an entry for the HPXXXX. Note, there are two in the building, if your mouse pointer sits on one of the printer entries, it will pop up an ID window stating the location of that printer.
Windows Vista/XP Kyle...?