How to create Finding Charts for Service Mode

In general, a finding chart has to be attached to each OB. Exceptions are given in the instrument-specific rules. Please read the P2PP3 User Manual for a detailed description on attaching finding charts to OBs.

General Finding Chart Requirements

Regardless of the instrument, finding charts must have all the following characteristics:

  • Clearly indicate the Observing Run ID.
  • Clearly indicate the PI Name.
  • Clearly indicate the OB Name or Target Name, as used in the OB to which it is attached.
  • The target(s) position(s) must be clearly indicated.
  • The entire instrument field-of-view must be shown.
  • North and East must be clearly indicated.
  • The scale must be indicated by drawing a bar and writing the bar length in arcseconds or arcminutes.
  • The wavelength range of the image must be indicated. Whenever possible, finding charts should have similar central wavelength to observations (e.g. DSS charts are often inappropriate for IR observations near the galactic equator).
  • The images should be negative, i.e. dark objects on light background.
  • The output files must be in JPEG format and their size must be less than 1 Mbyte.
  • Positions of spectroscopic acquisition reference stars, if any, should be marked.
  • Spectroscopic finding charts must indicate the slit(s) position(s) clearly (unless slits are aligned along parallactic angle)

Please verify that finding charts have sufficient quality and resolution. This can be easily done from within P2PP by using the View Finding Chart option in the Finding Charts menu of the main P2PP interface (see also the P2PP User Manual), or using p2 by attaching the finding chart and then clicking on the "thumbnail" version to see the full size version displayed in your browser.

Unified Guidecam tool for Finding Chart preparation

VISIR, MUSE and HAWK-I users shall use the unified Guidecam tool (GUCT) to prepare ESO-compliant Finding Charts. Using GUCT will also allow to directly connect to P2PP/p2 and upload the Finding Chart(s) to the OB(s) in preparation.

GUCT is now available from the ESO software repositories (see below), package name eso-guidecamtool.

Other Finding Chart tools

Alternatively, valid finding charts can be produced with any software tool able to produce output files in JPEG format. For users who do not use the new unified Guidecam tool, ESO recommends the use of the SkyCat-based finding chart tool. This tool provides a user-friendly interface to easily produce finding charts with the general characteristics described above.

FIMS, the FORS observation preparation software is a such a SkyCat-based finding chart tool. Once installed, if you only what to make finding charts, you can simly run the skycat command (that is installed alongside the command). FIMS is now avaialble from the ESO software repositories (see below), package name eso-fors-fims-P101 (except on Ubuntu where it is eso-fors-fims-p101).

Additional rules for VISIR finding charts

  • Finding charts are to be provided based on existing infrared (K-band or longer wavelength) images. Typically, 2MASS or DENIS K-band images are acceptable, although higher spatial resolution is preferable. 
  • If the wavelength at which the finding chart has been taken is different from that of the science observation, e.g. a K-band finding chart for a N-band spectroscopic observation, the user has to clearly describe how to identify the target at the wavelength of acquisition in the README section of the programme description. Adequate examples of such comments can be:
    • the sources is the brightest source in the field of view in N-band or
    • two bright sources are expected in our field of view. The science target is the southernmost of the two.

Finding Charts for VISIR observations which are compliant with the above additional rules can easily be prepared using the new unified Guidecam tool (GUCT).

High-Resolution Spectroscopy OBs

The operating range in ADUs of the new Aquarius detectors is relatively small. Therefore, for high-resolution spectroscopy, the Detector Integration Time (DIT) needs to be optimized by the night-time astronomer for a given wavelength. It is therefore important that he wavelength(s) of scientific interest need to be clearly indicated in the README information, and by means of a plot of the Exposure Time Calculator (ETC) transmission spectrum, attached as an additional Finding Chart to the OB. If the wavelength(s) of interest are different from the central wavelength, this needs to be clearly indicated in this plot.

ESO Mac & Linux software repositories

For several years ESO has been providing pipelines and esoreflex via MacPorts, Fedora 20-25 RPM and Scientific Linux 7 RPM repositories. We are now in the process of extending this service, on a trial basis, to include other ESO software components, beginning with some phase 2 tools, in particular the GuideCamTool, FIMS and FPOSS, which are now all supported both for Mac and Linux.

In addition we are providing access to an EXPERIMENTAL Ubuntu repository (providing Phase 2 tools only, no pipelines (yet)) and it is also possible to use the Scientific Linux 7 repository on CentOS-7 and RedHat Enterprise Linux 7 systems. See instructions for accessing these repositories below.

In case your OS/distribution is not one of the above, the phase 2 tools are still available for installation via the "traditional" tarball + install script methods. But please feel free to contact to let us know which OS/distribution you would like supported. Obviously we cannot promise to support every single OS/distribution, but this information will help guide us in deciding where any resources that might be available in the future would be best focussed.

Currently only 64bit systems are being supported. Please contact if you need 32bit support.

To make use of these repositories to install the available tools you will need superuser/admin user (i.e. the ability to run sudo) privilege, or else to ask you system administrator, to first install the repositories and then the tool(s).

Please follow the instructions below, as appropriate for your operating system/distribution.

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