Half-nights are usually designated in the telescope schedule after each
instrument is installed so that the Instrument Support staff can
confirm the correct operation of telescopes, instruments, and
detectors. If no problems are found in this first-night check, the
telescope is turned over to the astronomer to begin observations.
If, however, maintenance is found to be necessary, work may be
allowed until midnight when the telescope will be turned over to
The 4-meter and the WIYN telescopes are run by professional
operators; the 2.1m telescope is operated by the observer. A
brief familiarization session will be scheduled to help get you
started. An Telescope Assistant (TA) is on many days until 4:00
pm. To reach a TA by phone, you can use the "phone patch" to
the radio system by dialing 8721. After hearing the tones, say
"Duty TA please call Ext. XXX." Then press the # key to
disconnect. The 0.9-meter, Coudé and the Coude Feed Telescopes
are equipped with portable radios. If you have an equipment
failure and are not able to reach the duty TA, call the telescope
operator at the the 4-meter (620) or the WIYN (8670).
Operating manuals are available at each telescope. You are
required to fill out the Operating Log each night and/or day,
except at the 4-meter and WIYN telescopes (where the logs are
filled out by the telescope operator). Report all troubles to the
Observing Assistant when they occur. After 12:30 am, please report
non-urgent operating failures using the computerized "Service"
At the end of your run, please fill out an Observing Run
Evaluation Report on-line or print out
a form from the web. Turn it in to the Mountain Receptionist,
or to the Kitt Peak Support Office downtown.
When you are on the mountain, an Observing Assistant or an Instrument
Support staff member will give you a safety tour of your telescope,
pointing out precautions for your own personal protection. At the
same time, emergency procedures will be reviewed and instructions
given on use of the phone system. You will also receive a Safety
Hazard Report should you need to report any safety concerns. Return
your completed form to an OA. You may also note an unsafe condition
on the "Service" program; however, please fill out a Safety Hazard
Report so the proper personnel can be notified. We encourage and
appreciate your making us aware of any safety problems so that we
can do our best to correct them.
You may be required to close down your telescope under unfavorable
circumstances as determined by Kitt Peak personnel.
Warm clothing, filters, calculators, dome communication radios, and
flashlights can be signed out from the Observing Assistant. We
recommend that observers bring their own flashlights.
If your program requires special filters or a special system of
filters, contact either Daryl Willmarth (dwillmarth_at_noao.edu) or your Staff Contact well in
advance of your run. They will arrange for you to sign out the
filters from our Observing Assistant when you arrive on the
mountain. Return all filters to the Instrument Support Office
in the Administration Building at the end of your observing run.
It is possible that loss of or damage to personal property of
non-AURA employees may occur while the individual is using AURA's
facilities. Such personal property may include equipment, personal
papers or records, data stored on photographic plates, on a computer
medium, or on other magnetic media. It is administratively and
financially impractical for AURA to assure against such losses of
Accordingly, AURA disclaims any responsibility for loss or damage
to equipment, supplies, data, records, personal papers, or other
personal property of any kind that are owned or brought into or
generated and maintained at an AURA site by a user, or any employer
of a user, of AURA's facilities. Permission to use AURA's facilities
may be granted only upon the user's acknowledgement of this disclaimer
and agreement to hold AURA harmless from any liability for such
loss or damage.
I'itoi, the man in the maze
The story of I'itoi is also the story of every human being, traveling
through life as through a maze, taking many turns while growing
stronger and wiser as death at the dark center of the maze comes
Tracing the light path with your finger you will find one more turn
at the end, away from the center. Here we can look back on the
trail and find acceptance of the last step.
Updated March 3, 2011