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The installation of Sun workstations running IRAF has proven a great addition to the Observatory's data collection and reduction capabilities on the mountaintop. We have seen a sharp increase in the number of observers who use the Suns to at least get started with the data reduction process. Many observing programs now have more than one observer on site with one person reducing the previous night's observations while the other observes. Two workstations or graphics terminals are available at most of the telescopes
Giving adequate support for reduction activity is becoming a difficult support problem. The mountaintop is not a fully supported IRAF site, and response to requests for help with the Suns or IRAF will depend on the availability of support personnel. We will certainly do our best to do what we can to assist you, but there will be times when no support will be available. We make the following suggestions to users:
Minimum expected level of knowledge: Some previous computer experience, preferably with the UNIX operating system, including tape handling. Beginning level experience with IRAF is a plus. VMS is not used on Kitt Peak mountain.
Learning IRAF and the optimum data reduction procedure is no small task. If you have not previously used IRAF, the mountaintop is not the best place to start learning unless you have made a fair effort to prepare in advance by reading the available "cookbooks" and talking with persons experienced with data reductions. Our resources do not allow for multi-hour "cold-start" teaching sessions with the uninitiated.
The observer should know in advance what steps in the data reduction process he or she wishes to do. Your start-up person will help you with the Sun and get you going in IRAF, but the actual steps of the data reduction process are the responsibility of the observer. Many of our support people can offer advice depending on their level of experience.
If you experience difficulties with IRAF and mountain support personnel are not able to answer your questions, call downtown IRAF support, Jeannette Barnes (8-381), or use the hotline (dial 9-323-4160). For less pressing questions/problems, use the IRAF Email service, i.e. "mail firstname.lastname@example.org". Jeannette Barnes is also willing to give introductory"tours" of IRAF/ICE downtown before your run, by pre-arrangement.
Your cooperation is appreciated.