Observer Duties and Shift Times

Shift times and handovers

Shift change times are usually 9 AM, 5 PM and 11 PM. Please allow for a ~10 minute handover before the shift change time. The handover should occur in person or over the phone (if one observer is at Mt Pleasant for example).

  • Shift change times can be negotiated between observers if they wish
  • As a courtesy to each other, please make sure you are on time for the handover. If you're going to be late, phone the current observer and arrange something.

Setting up

Experiment setups can be done several hours before the observations, provided there are no other activities scheduled in the meantime. Please check the schedule before starting a setup.

Once the setup is complete, please send the “ready” email.

Even if the next experiment follows immediately from the previous one, a “ready” email should be sent. Things like Tsys, pointing, fringe checks, DBBC checks etc can be skipped. The main point is to let the IVS Coordinating Centre know all is OK and we're ready to start.

Starting observations

The observer must supervise the start of the experiment. It is not good enough to start the schedule well in advance and rely on things to start unsupervised. Once the first scan is complete and a checklist done (start it manually if necessary), the “start” email should be sent.


Checklists should be done every 2 hours. Start them manually if they don't come up.

At the end of an experiment

Observers should also supervise the end of an experiment and carry out the end of experiment checklist.

Processing logs and the end experiment message

There is less urgency in processing the logs and sending the “end” email. This can be done a few hours later if necessary. It certainly should take lower priority than starting a follow-on experiment.