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Calibration completeness monitor


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Calibration Check Monitor

The Calibration Check Monitor ("calChecker") checks the proper execution of the calibration plan. It looks for all science data taken in the night and then checks for all required calibrations being completely available and within their validity range. If missing or outdated calibrations are discovered, it indicates required actions.

Purpose. The main purpose of the tool is to

  • monitor automatically the completeness of calibrations
  • provide early feedback about incompleteness so that missing calibrations do not jeopardize science observations already taken.
The calChecker tool is a component of the real-time QC system. Its other main components are the Health Check monitor (instrument health), and the AB product monitors with the complete set of products, QC1 parameters and scores for a given date. Selected scores are also included in the Health Check monitor.

The calChecker monitor is regularly inspected by the Quality Control Group in Garching (during normal working hours) and by Paranal Science Operations (every day, at least during daytime calibrations).

The calChecker has three modules, linked to the main result page:

  • calibration completeness for science data ("science")
  • calibrations for calibrations ("cal4cal")
  • tracking of telluric standard stars during night ("tellTracker"), only for selected instruments.

Process. The process is set up as follows:

  • In the configured time range (7 days by agreement), all science setups are analyzed. This is done with header information which is replicated from Paranal to Garching within minutes after acquisition.
  • Following its configuration, calChecker searches for all required calibrations for these science setups. It follows the Paranal calibration queue tool (calOBbuilder). It checks calibration completeness in terms of data types (e.g. FLATs, ARCs), setups (e.g. combination of filter and detector readout), number of required files (e.g. one ARC, three FLATs), and validity (e.g. ARC to be taken every day; FIBER FLAT acceptable if not older than 3 days).
  • A setup is defined as a combination of science raw file type (e.g. imaging), instrument keys (e.g. filter, grism), and detector keys (e.g. binning, read mode). All science files taken with the same setup in the same night are treated in the same way , like in calOBbuilder.

Tool. calChecker is a script-based wrapper around the OCA association engine (also used by the DataOrganizer DO) to find file types, and based on those, associations with calibrations. The OCA configuration includes file types, number of files, validity ranges, and association rules (like "find next"; "find closest in time"; "find on same date").

Results. For each date, data type and setup, there is one result box flagged as OK, NOK, or MISS:

  • complete (flag OK)
  • complete but at least one calibration outdated (NOK)
  • at least one calibration is missing (MISS) .

There is an overview of currently missing data types and setups.

Execution. The tool is operated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is called every 30 min during Paranal nighttime, every hour during daytime. To detect instances when this pattern is broken, the tool has a validity flag which is evaluated by the browser. It is green if the page is no older than 2 hours, and turns red if the page becomes outdated. In addition there is execution timestamp information:

0d 00h:02m ago
1d 13h:02m ago

tellTracker. The special module "tellTracker" (for selected instruments having telluric standard stars, like X-SHOOTER) is called every 15 minutes during Paranal nighttime.

Analysis. The results should be analyzed by the Paranal daytime astronomer every day. The QC scientists are committed to analysis whenever they are on duty which however is never guaranteed (i.e. not once per hour, not 24 hours a day, not every day of the year). If a missing calibration is detected and the case is analyzed, the result is fed back in the ANALYSIS NOTES section.

Types of calibration which are monitored. The tool is designed to check

  • daytime calibrations which are triggered by science observations
  • twilight calibrations (twilight flats) and
  • nighttime calibrations (standard stars)
  • long-term calibrations (Health Check, maintenance or technical calibrations which are not triggered by science data)
  • tellTracker only: calibrations with a validity shorter than a day (telluric standards to be taken within hours)

It cannot detect missing attached calibrations (to be taken within the science OB).

Find more information about the result page under the HELP link.

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