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Paper: Long and Short Term Scheduling Tools in ESO
Volume: 216, Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems IX
Page: 111
Authors: Giannone, G.; Chavan, A. M.; Silva, D. R.; Krueger, A. P.; Miller, G. E.
Abstract: Given the cost of the constructing and operating telescopes, particularly 8-meter class telescopes like the Very Large Telescope (VLT), it is desirable to maximize the efficiency of telescope operations and therefore scientific productivity using scheduling tools. We have developed two software tools based on the STScI SPIKE engine (Johnston & Miller 1994), which was originally written for the use of the Hubble Space Telescope. This software was adapted to support the constraints of a ground based telescope. The Long Term Scheduler (LTS) is a software tool used twice a year to schedule all the observing programs accepted for a six month time period. It is a Decision Support System that helps the user best juggle the astronomical constraints of each observing proposal, like target visibility, required moon phase, links among different proposals and critical times. A LTS prototype was used for ESO Period 64 to schedule two out of seven ESO telescopes. The Short Term Scheduler (STS) can be used to schedule service observing observations at the VLT on a nightly basis. The STS can also be used to react quickly to changing weather conditions. After discussing the tools, early operations experiences are presented.
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