[ ESO ]

Service Mode data package

directory structure
directory content
list files
list of_all_obs
list of_all_calib
list of_all_red
QC0 reports
QC1 reports
data files





Data of programs performed in Service Mode are distributed on DVDs, in case the program is larger than 1.3 Gbyte (=2 CDs), or CDs. Details on the data shipping can be found on the archive web page . A description of how to read optical media produced by the ESO/ST-ECF archive can be found here.

Available are also: a general description of the basics of NACO data management and a list of FAQs.

The NACO QC web pages also include two other branches: the NACO PIPELINE and NACO QUALITY CONTROL.

PLEASE NOTE that on 2004 May 14 a new NACO detector was installed.


Assume your VLT run ID is 70.H-0447(A) and you obtained data on 2001-04-25 and 2001-06-08. Assume furthermore that your VLT data were measured in a pipeline-supported mode. You will then find your data (as FITS files) organized in the following way:


If your data have not been pipeline processed, the structure will be:


Remember this tree is the logical tree, i.e. this is the way the data have been organized before they have been put onto CDs/DVDs. Due to the 600MB capacity of the CDs, it may well be true that some of these directories have been chopped onto two CDs. It is a good idea to create this tree on your local directory and then copy all files from CDs into this tree.




  • all raw data of the night from your RUN_ID (iDPR.TYPE = SCIENCE )
  • all acquisition frames (DPR.TYPE = TEST, TPL.ID = NACO_img_acq_MoveToPixel etc.)
  • This directory does not contain raw calibrations.

  • calib
    • raw calibrations files (e.g. twilight flats or photometric standards)
    • raw calibration files: the ones created by OBs provided by the P.I., and the shared ones provided by ESO
    • raw Strehl ratio frames (DPR.CATG = PSF-CALIBRATOR)

    • pipeline processed data from your RUN_ID (e.g. NC_IOAJ for a jittered image) and processed master calibration files (e.g. NC_DCAL for a master dark)
    • The delivered products of the reduction are dependent on the instrument mode. For P70 the instrument mode IMAGING is supported by the piepline and QC-Garching. SPECTROSCOPY, POLARIMETRY and CORONOGRAPHY are not supported in P70.
    • The names of the NACO pipeline products follow a certain naming scheme

    • pipeline processing logs (*.log)
    • if any pipeline product parameter files (*.paf) containing qc values and most relevant pipeline parameters and instrument settings
    • pipeline processing intermediate initialisation (*.ini) and status (*.ascii) files as used for the jitter recipe

    • master calibration files which are not taken in the same night (including the follow up day-time calibrations). These include calibrations which are not regularly provided night by night (e.g. J,K,H twilight flat or L, Lprime, M skyflats frames mostly). Day-time calibrations, which are not taken during the follow-up day of the night-time science observations are also found in this directory.
    • corresponding raw calibration frame
    [qc0 table PS]

    You will find the following list files:
    ServiceMode.htmlthis filetop
    README.txtshort additional information. top
    NIGHTLOG.htmlextraction from the night logs when the data were takenGEN_INFO
    night_summary.htmlas aboveGEN_INFO
    night_summary_print.htmlas aboveGEN_INFO
    nightnavbar.htmlas aboveGEN_INFO
    itemOn.gifas aboveGEN_INFO
    itemOff.gifas aboveGEN_INFO
    OBnavbar.htmlas aboveGEN_INFO
    OBlog.htmlas aboveGEN_INFO
    OB_summary.htmlas aboveGEN_INFO
    OB_summary_print.htmlas aboveGEN_INFO
    arrow_up.gifas aboveGEN_INFO
    arrow_down.gifas aboveGEN_INFO
    <RUN.ID>_obslist_req.txtextraction from the ESO OB repositoryGEN_INFO


    summary of the packageGEN_INFO
    <RUN.ID>_assoc.txtassociation file GEN_INFO
    camera.txtcamera/objective center pixel values GEN_INFO
    zp.txt photometric zeropoints of all observing nights. GEN_INFO
    <RUN.ID>_qc1_report.txtlog containing data about the reduction process and product qualityGEN_INFO
    summary of the fits and tfits files in each directory (these files are provided in text [*.txt] and PostScript format) raw, reduced, calib

     Raw data summary file: list_of_all_obs
    sample file (.txt)  
    [list_of_all_obs.txt 6K]
    sample file (ps)  
    [list_of_all_obs.ps 12K]


    This file gives a short description of each FITS file on this disk. This information has been extracted directly from the FITS header.

    OBS.PROG.IDESO Observation Program ID
    OBS.IDObserrvation Block ID
    OBJECTTarget name
    TPL.XTemplate number within OB
    TPL.IDTemplate ID
    TPL.NEXPNumber of Exposures of the template
    TPL.EXPNOExposure Number of the current file within the template
    ARCFILE archive file name
    DPR.CATGData Product Category
    DPR.TYPEData Product Type
    DPR.TECHData Product Technique
    AOS.WFS.iDICHCORICDichroic (wavelength range used for the CONICA path)
    AOS.WFS.NAMEDichroic (wavelength range used for the NAOS path)
    WindowWindow readout flag
    INS.OPTI6.NAMEFilter Wheel 6
    INS.OPTI5.NAMEFilter Wheel 5
    INS.OPTI4.NAMEFilter/Grism Wheel 4
    INS.OPTI3.NAME(NeutralDensity)-Filter Wheel 3
    INS.CWLENCentral wavelength (for spectroscopy and BB filters)
    INS.OPTI1.NAMESlit and Occulation Mask Wheel 1
    DET.NCORRS.NAME DET.MODE.NAMEabbreviated detector operations mode
    DET.DITDetector discrete integration time
    DET.NDITDET.DIT repetition factor


    • Usually only one of the four filter wheel INS.OPTI3-6.NAME is occupied by a filter, all other are 'empty'.

    The text file prints well with UNIX a2ps if tuned to landscape format, font size 5.0 .

     Calibration data summary file: list_of_all_calibs
    sample file (.txt)  
    [list_of_all_red.txt 8K]
    sample file (ps)  
    [list_of_all_red.ps 15K]


    A similar file is provided for the raw calibration frames:

    OBS.PROG.IDESO Observation Program ID
    ...... (continues as raw listing)


     Reduced data summary file: list_of_all_red
    list_of_all_ red
    sample file (.txt)  
    [list_of_all_calibs.txt 6K]
    sample file (ps)  
    [list_of_all_calibs.ps 12K]


    A similar file is provided for the reduced science and reduced calibration frames

    OBS.PROG.IDESO Observation Program ID
    ...... (continues as raw listing)

    Science products and master calibration data follow the NACO naming convention.

      QC0 summary file: <RUN.ID>_qc0_report.txt
    QC0 summary file
    sample file (.txt)  
    [qc0 table]
    sample file (ps)  
    [qc0 table PS]

    This file < run_id > contains a report of quality control parameters ('QC level 0' where level 0 stands for QC without pipeline processing) for your raw SCIENCE files. These parameters are airmass, seeing, moon distance, and fractional lunar illumination. They have been measured on site (column 'msrd'). They are compared to the required values as defined in your OBs ('targt') and flagged (OK/NOK).

    The list is intended to give a rough indication of whether or not the required constraints have been obeyed. They should not be interpreted in a too formal way, however. E.g., there may be cases where the seeing was worse than required, but this was compensated by a longer exposure time. Check the night reports for details.

    Note that the seeing values reported here are DIMM seeing values, they are not measured on the frames or on the jitter products.

    In P70, no qc0 reports are included in NACO Service Mode packages.

      QC1 summary file <RUN.ID>_qc1_report.txt
    sample calibration QC1 reports
    sample file

    This file contains for each science product frame a quality control comment. These comments are mostly on the seeing and the possible temporal instrumental residuals which are beyond the pipeline processing. Part of this qc1 comments is automatized.

    OBS.PROG.IDESO Observation Program ID
    OBS.IDObservation Block ID
    DATEObservation Date in YYMMDD format
    CAL.IDProduct file name
    QC.IQImage quality as derived by the jitter recipe
    PRO.DATANCOMNumber of raw frames contributing to the product frame
    TPL.NEXPNUmber of raw frames as specified by the template
    obj|sky|rejnumber of object, sky and rejected frames as classified by jitter
    QC.STREHLas derived from the qc-strehl recipe applied to the PSF-CALIBRATOR frame
    QC.STREHL.RMSas derived from the qc-strehl recipe applied to the PSF-CALIBRATOR frame
    TPL.NEXPNUmber of raw frames as specified by the template

    [qc0 table PS]


    Science Raw Data

    We deliver all the FITS files produced by Observation Blocks you created and that we were able to execute. Note that some of your OBs may have been executed more than once. In particular, if time permitted, we tried to re-execute OBs which produced data clearly out of the specified constraints.

    Calibration Data

    We are also sending you all available calibration data appropriate for your program. These data may include:

    • dark frames
    • twilight flats or skyflats and or internal lamp flats
    • photometric standard stars
    • spectroscopic screen flat
    • arc files
    • tellutic standard stars
    • polarimetric standard stars

    ESO is further making an attempt to provide master calibration frames which have been produced by the quality control group. Some of these files may be included in your data set and are marked accordingly. They are stored in the reduced/ subdirectories of each directory

    Not all programs will receive all classes of calibration data.

    TWILIGHTFLAT frames in different filters are included when available.

    All NACO_img_cal_StandardStar observations as taken by the observatory as part of the VLT NACO calibration plan to monitor the photometric zeropoints are included for those nights for which science frames have been for collected for the current OBS.PROG.ID.

    [Archive] Additional or missing raw calibration files may be retrieved from the  ESO Archive.

    [NACO pipeline] Check the NACO pipeline pages, specifically for calibration data.

    [ NACO QC] For more information about the quality control (QC) procedures and results of NACO calibration data, check the NACO QC pages.

    Reduced data

    Whenever possible we included reduced data, i.e. master calibration frames and/or combined jittered images/spectra produced by the pipeline with the best available calibration data. Please note that ESO is not assuming any responsibility in respect to the usefulness of the reduced data. The adopted reduction strategy may not be suitable for the scientific purpose of the observations.

    Quality checks for both the production of master calibrations and for science reduction are applied

    NACO SCIENCE data have been processed by the pipeline with the best available calibration data. Please note that ESO is not assuming any responsibility in respect to the usefulness of the reduced data. The adopted reduction strategy may not be suitable for the scientific purpose of the observations.


    [NACO pipeline] Check the NACO pipeline pages, specifically for more details on science reduction.

    [qc0 table PS] PROBLEMS, ISSUES, HINTS


    Fits header extensions

    Note that NACO science fits files consist of three parts, the main file and two image extensions. The usual way to specify an indiviudual extension is to append the '[<n>]' to the file name (e.g. NACO.2003-01-01T12:13:14.123.fits[2]). ESO-MIDAS (from Version Sep02 on) users will use commands like 'help [Filename]' and 'indisk/mfits' to handle NACO fits frames or display it via 'load/ima NACO.<timestamp>.fits[1]'. eclipse users do not have to handle the extensions separately. iraf users will use 'display NACO.<timestamp>.fits[0]' when using SAOimage. The RTD and SkyCat can be called with the normal filename 'rtd -file NACO.<timestamp>.fits' and all extensions are shown in a separate pop-up.

    Known problems


    Vignetting has been found for objectives S54, S27 and S13. About 80 pixels of the lowermost lines are vignetted by S54 and about the 40 lowermost rows for S27. For S13 only a few rows are vignetted. There occurs also a vignetting at the left rim (about the 5 most left columns). To improve the shift-and-add algorithm used by the jitter recipe it is usefull to ommit the vignetted part completely instead of mixing real background and fake background (= obscured parts). We will overwrite the initial RejectBottom = 100 key in the default jitter ini file. (WH 2002-11-21)

    The headers of the extensions of NACO science fits frames are corrupt. The keys GCOUNT and PCOUNT are missing. The missing keys have no impact on the current scheme of data processing, since the extensions, containing AO-related information is not used by the pipeline. The main frame can be processed by MIDAS and all three frames can be displayed by RTD/SkyCat.


    The twflat recipe must handle stacks with alternating readout modes, in particular when corresponding darks are submitted to the recipe as part of the calibration cascade. In P70, tw/sk flat calibration products have been generated without submitting a dark. The recipe hence produced an interception map, which is the A in the linear fit: Flat=A+Bx. As a coinsequence the error bars for the slope became rather large, in case the flux range was not large enough in the raw frame stack. From P71 on master tw/sky flats are generated using the twflat recipe and using the -d <darklist> option. Interception maps are no longer provided.

    On August 13-16, 2003 there was intervention on CONICA. As a result, the S27 and L27 FOV are now free of vignetting. The S54 has very small vignetting (28 rows on the bottom of frame) and the L54 has some vignetting on the right hand side. The dark current was lowered. However, electrical interference in the form of horizontal lines was noticed for the first time. They are occasionally seen in the post-intervention data and their occurrence seems to be random. Also, the 8-pixel noise has returned. It had been removed during the intervention that took place on the detector last year but is back now. Due to these high frequency variations the Read-Out-Noise (RON) values increased in case of every read-out-mode (where Double_RdRsRd appears to be affected most). For reference see NACO trending plots and control charts . It appears to have uncorrectable random pattern but shows decreasing trend with time. Special routines are developed to monitor it closely.

    CONICA detector noise features in August/September/October 2003


    It has been found that the dark frames are different depending on camera used in the instrument configuration. To take this effect into account operational change was implemented. Since November 05, 2004 the calibration darks are taken to match the camera the science data were taken with.


    Temporal variations of the NACO lamp flats since June 2004

    Known IRAF Problems

    Filename Length Problem: To display or manipulate the FITS files with older versions of IRAF (before 2.11), you can:

    1. copy these FITS files to your hard-disk and rename them with filenames -le 32 characters in length;
    2. create symbolic links with filenames -le 32 characters in length to your CD-ROM files.

    Header Interpretation Problem: ESO FITS files use the ESO HIERARCH FITS keyword extensions standard to all ESO telescopes. Note that IRAF treats all ESO HIERARCH header lines as COMMENT lines, i.e. IRAF and IDL cannot automatically interpret the information provided in ESO HIERARCH header lines.

    Please note that the RA and DEC keywords are recorded in degrees. To translate these keywords so that they can be used by IRAF you have to use the asthedit task in the noao.astutil package. The help file for this task gives an example of how to translate the ESO format to the IRAF format.

    ST-EFC Science Archive Facility provides a stand-alone hierarch28 fits tool which does the FITS header conversion.

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