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Knowledgebase: ALMA Observing Tool (OT)
Can I set up monitoring observations with the OT?
Posted by Andy Biggs, Last modified by Rein Warmels on 15 March 2017 02:39 PM

Indeed, you can set up monitoring observations in two different ways depending on the observing strategy.

For monitoring programmes with sparse temporal sampling (e.g. you want to observe a source every month) you should select 'Are the observations time-constrained?' in the Control & Performance editor of the OT and click the 'Multiple Visits' option. This will allow you to define a number of visits at which the observations described in the Science Goal will be executed either in terms of specific dates or times relative to a previous visit. If e.g. you want to monitor a source every month for 5 months you would define a first visit with an arbitrary start date, and then define another four visits to be scheduled 30 days after the previous visit. The time estimate for the Science Goal will automatically be multiplied by the number of visits. Note that the project cannot currently guarantee dates with a margin less than ±7 days.

For monitoring programmes that require a source to be observed continuously over a certain time period you should select 'Override OT's sensitivity-based time estimate' and enter the length of the monitoring required. The time entered should include calibrations and overheads and refer to the 12-m Array time. It will override the sensitivity-based time estimate in the OT. Note that for observations requiring very good weather (Bands 8, 9, 10 and Band 7 around the 327 GHz atmospheric absorption feature)  the continuous time that can be spent on source is 2 hours; otherwise, up to 3 hours of continuous monitoring are acceptable. If your Science Goal requires multiple monitoring visits, you can combine the time override and the 'Multiple Visits' option described above.

Time constrained observations are limited to one 12-m Array configuration per Science Goal; ACA observations or those requiring two 12-m configurations are not possible. Any time constraints and/or time overrides must be carefully justified in the Technical Justification.

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