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Getting Started on the LCO Global Telescope Network

A PDF guide to the user interface that was launched in June 2019. The latest version, January 2023, includes updated MuSCAT overheads and information on email notifications of completed observation requests.

LCO Network Jump Start

A two-page PDF document that lists the basics about interacting with the LCO Network. We strongly encourage serious users to consult the "Getting Started" guide for information about the Observation Portal and how to compose observation requests.

Documentation on Data Processing and Availability

Archive Documentation

Documentation relating to the LCO internal science archive.

Imaging Data Pipeline (BANZAI)

Documentation of the BANZAI data reduction pipeline.

FLOYDS Spectroscopic Data Pipeline

A description of the FLOYDS (low-resolution spectrograph) pipeline.

NRES Data Pipeline

A description of the NRES pipeline.

LCO FITS Headers

FITS header keywords and definitions

Pixel uncertainties in BANZAI

A description of how uncertainties are propagated during the BANZAI reduction process.

Current and Near-term NRES Data Processing

A description of the BANZAI-NRES data pipeline.

For Developers

Developer Documentation

Documentation, examples and code for working with LCO's extensive programmatic interfaces.

Finer Points

Information on Submitted Observing Requests

A description of the information on submitted observing requests now available in the observatory portal.

Photometric nonlinearity in SBIG 6303 camera images

Some SBIG 6303 cameras show a nonlinear response when the sky background is low. Photometry affected by this problem can be improved by applying empirically-derived corrections.

Intra/Inter Proposal Priority (IPP) Factor

The system for prioritizing observing requests.

Special Scheduling Modes

Rapid Response mode is for observations of science targets (e.g. gamma-ray bursts) that must be carried-out as soon as possible after a request is submitted. Time-Critical mode is for observations at tightly constrained times that rarely occur.

Photometric Standard Stars

Observations of standard stars are routinely acquired to enable the photometric calibration of science data, as well as to monitor the performance of the network’s telescopes. The data from these observations are available to all in the Science Archive.

Time Refund Policy

If data are unusable because of a technical problem arising from LCO's hardware or software, the time charged for that observation may be refunded to the proposal.

Airmass Limit

Advice on setting your airmass limit for best quality data

User Quotas

The time available to Co-investigators on a proposal (for observation requests) may be restricted by the proposal's PI. Read how user quotas work and how to enable them.

Ghosts in SBIG 6303 camera images

Bright stars can leave "ghosts" in the SBIG 6303 camera images (on the 0.4m telescopes). Find out why they occur, and how to spot them.

Astrometric Solutions Thwarted by Saturated Pixels

Some images, acquired under good conditions, resist astrometric solutions. We’ve determined that pixel saturation is critical for determining whether an astrometric (WCS) solution is fit to an image.