Subject: December 14 APO User's Committee meeting minutes

From: Michael Strauss

Submitted: Wed, 16 Dec 1998 19:05:04 -0500 (EST)

Message number: 327 (previous: 326, next: 328 up: Index)

Minutes of APO 3.5-m User's Committee Phone Conference
Monday, December 14, 1998

Attending: Rene Walterbos, Jeff Brown, Bruce Gillespie (taking
minutes), Ed Turner (Chair), Xiaohui Fan (substituting for Michael
Strauss), Gene Magnier (substituting for Chris Stubbs), Ed Kibblewhite

Not attending: Alan Uomoto


SPIcam status
Report on the 11/24 ARC BoG meeting
Uncertified remote observers
Standardized acknowledgement
New 2ndary status
Approval of minutes and scheduling next telecon

SPIcam status:

Weekend work by site staff and UWashington engineers seem to have SPIcam
close to being back in service.  A spare Cryotiger unit was shipped from
Seattle and installed Saturday.  It seems to be working OK except that
there is some problem with temperature stability related to its "heater."
This is being worked on today but the feeling is that we can use the
instrument as is.  The bad unit will be shipped back to the manufacturer,
and some attention needs to be given to cold-temperature operation of the
unit.  The possibility of keeping the Cryotiger pump running in some sort
of standby or offline mode, even when the camera was allowed to warm up,
was suggested as a possible means of avoiding the cold weather start-up

Report on the 11/24 ARC BoG meeting:

The Board approved re-appointment of Ed Turner as 3.5-m Director.  It also
approved the 1999 site operations and the third year of the 3-yr Plan
engineering budget proposals.  In particular, the proposal of Jon Davis
becoming the full-time (from half-time) 3.5-m Telescope Engineer was
endorsed, and becomes effective 1 January 1999.  The 3-yr plan items of
priority this year are tertiary rotation and motions, installing the new
2ndary, improved telescope and instrument baffling, and other items related
to 3-yr plan improvements.

The Board considered other strategic items, including:

- in concept, the continuation of ~$300k/year to be assessed in future
years for new instrumentation support and other telescope improvement

- the use of telescope time as motivation for instrument developers to
bring new instruments to APO for general use

- future consideration of funding for site capital improvement projects
(e.g., replacing the phone system, an aluminizing facility, etc., see


Bruce Gillespie reported (for Shu-I Wang) that the Echelle installation is
nearing completion with only minor delays and problems, and that the
instrument goes on the sky tonight.  The echelle team plans to wind down by
the end of this week, and then return to APO after the holidays to continue
the scientific commissioning.  There is optimism that "shared-risk" use
could be possible during February/March, and that the instrument could be
released to the community near the beginning of Q2.

Uncertified remote observers:

Ed Turner led a discussion on policy related to remote use of the 3.5-m by
"uncertified observers."  By policy, all remote observers must have spent
three nights at APO to become "certified" for remote operation of the
telescope.  The policy allows uncertified observers to use the facility
remotely only under the supervision of a certified observer.  Ed clarified
that this meant that the supervision of an uncertified observer had to be
continuous throughout the night, and that physical presence with the
uncertified remote observer was required.  The UC endorsed this policy

Standardized acknowledgement:

Ed Turner reported that the ARC BoG reversed its previous position and
unanimously adopted a resolution stating that authors of publications
based (in whole or part) on data obtained with the 3.5-meter should
be requested to include a footnote to the title giving a standardized
acknowledgement.  Among other things, this should make it much easier
to conduct electronic database searches for APO 3.5-m publications.

After reviewing several such standardized acknowledgements required
by various other observatories, Ed chose to stick to a short and simple
style and did not, for example, enumerate the ARC institutions, mention
NSF support of the telescope construction, etc.  The UC basically agreed
with this proposal, with the addition of the phrase "owned and" added

*Based on observations obtained with the Apache Point Observatory (APO)
3.5-meter telescope, which is owned and operated by the Astrophysical
Research Consortium (ARC).

The rationale for this policy shift is in part due to searching
publications for APO data.  Some concern exists on whether this
acknowledgement will be "seen" by search engines if it is a footnote as
opposed to an acknowledgement.  After the UC telecon, Rene Walterbos ran
some tests and reported:

"I tried some searches with ADS to see what we can pick up to easily find
the 3.5-m papers. Unfortunately, it doesn't look too good. Footnotes to
titles are NOT seen as part of the title, so a footnote acknowledging ARC
will not be found. Also, the "text" searches are restricted to the abstract
text, not the paper text. Nevertheless, I do advocate we  continue with the
idea of a boiler plate, since I suspect that search engines will continue
to improve, and I can at least easily check if a paper was using 3.5-m data
if it has a boiler plate somewhere. A footnote to the title would probably
be easier to find (since it appears on the 1st page) than a note in the

New 2ndary status:

May be finished at SOML early next year, plans afoot to have it mounted and
in service as early as end of Q1 next year.

Last meeting minutes are approved.

Next meeting is Monday, January 11, 1999. 12:30 Eastern Time


Site Capital Improvement Items, for possible funding in CY2000 and beyond:

Phone System Replacement - replace obsolete and inadequate system

Housing & Storage - need more storage space and visitor housing

Vehicle - replace worn-out vehicle

Lightning Abatement Systems - add lightning warning system

Mirror Coating Facility - to enable recoating primary mirror at site

APO APO APO APO APO  Apache Point Observatory 3.5m  APO APO APO
APO  This is message 327 in the apo35-general archive. You can find
APO  the archive on
APO  To join/leave the list, send mail to
APO  To post a message, mail it to