Observing with AEON-SOAR

On the nights when the SOAR telescope is in AEON-mode, the sequence of observations that it will conduct is provided by the LCO scheduler, which has been specially upgraded to support the Goodman Spectrograph.

In this mode, users no longer need to operate the Goodman instrument directly in real-time. Instead, observations can be requested at any time throughout the semester, using LCO's Observation Portal. The scheduler runs continuously, and will respond to new observation requests within 15min. This means that the sequence of observations for a given night can be dynamic and evolve over time.

An observation request includes all of the parameters necessary to schedule the observation at an appropriate time, point the telescope and configure the Goodman Spectrograph. Users should note that we currently support only the most commonly-used Goodman configurations, as described below.


This figure describes the flow of information when a user submits an observing request via the LCO Portal.

Submitting Observation Requests

Users can manage all aspects of their observing programs, including observation requests, by creating an account with the Observation Portal.

Once time is awarded, users will find that their active proposals are listed under the 'Manage Proposals' tab and they will be able to request observations. The time needed to execute an observation is debited automatically from the relevant proposal, but only once each observation is completed. If a request cannot be scheduled, no time is debited.

Observations can be requested by filling out the observation request form, or programmatically by submitting a request to our API. We strongly encourage users to read our Getting Started Guide, available from our Documentation page, which describes the procedure step-by-step, as well as SOAR's AEON Home Page. Detailed information on using our APIs can be found on our site for developers.

Supported Goodman Configurations

Both imaging and spectroscopic observations can be requested, and both modes use the red camera. For a full description of the SOAR/Goodman instrument, please refer to SOAR's instrument description page.

The supported imaging modes are as follows:

Mode Binning Available filters

Spectroscopic mode currently supports the most commonly-requested combination of the R400 lines/mm grating and slit width of 1 arcsec, with no filter, spec ROI and a binning of 2x2. A detailed list of the available gratings can be found on the the Goodman instrument page.

Mode Grating Slit width Binning Wavelength range Readout mode
GHTS_R_400m1_2x2 R400 1 arcsec 2x2 m1 (300 - 705 A) 344ATTN0
GHTS_R_400m2_2x2 R400 1 arcsec 2x2 m2 (500 - 905 A) 344ATTN0

Monitoring Your Observing Program

The homepage of a user's Observation Portal will show a list of all of the observations they have request. Clicking on any observation will display more information on each component of the request, including a wealth of information on its scheduling status, the target visibility, and any data obtained - all updated in real-time. The Getting Started Guide describes the available information in more detail.

You can also find information on the status of telescopes in the network.

Accessing and Reducing Your Data

When observations are completed, the raw Goodman data products are transferred automatically and made available through both the LCO Archive and the NOAO Archive. Both archives provide the means for users to download the data products.

The SOAR Team have developed a data reduction pipeline for Goodman data. Full details are provided on the pipeline website.

Where to get help

For assistance with composing observation requests, or for information on AEON-SOAR operations, users can contact LCO’s Science Support team by emailing science-support@lco.global. For questions about the SOAR telescope, the Goodman spectrograph and the Goodman data reduction pipeline, please contact Cesár Briceño (cbriceno@ctio.noao.edu).