POEM Instructions


The Paranal Observatory Eavesdropping Mode (POEM) is a web-based application for viewing instrument panels on Paranal. As it is web based, i.e., no software installation is necessary, apart from a modern, up-to-date browser. Note that POEM only offers viewing function - no mouse control is allowed to the remote panels. You will be expected to edit, modify and queue your OBs in parallel with the p2 tool and monitor weather conditions with the ASM.


  • A modern browser like Firefox or Chrome. There has been issues reported with Safari.
  • A reliable internet connection. POEM has been tested with an average home connection. 

Access rules

Apart from the web authentication, the access is controlled at all times by the Paranal operator. In order to view the relevant panels, a "door" needs to be opened on the Paranal side. Your POEM account is set up for the approved date and time of the observations. A message "This user account is not currently valid." will appear if you try to enter outside the approved period.

Up to 5 observers are allowed connection at a given time. An error message will appear if you try to connect to an already occupied instrument.

Up to 5 terminals can be accessed by 1 observer (if the need arises).

All user activities (entry time, instrument and IP address) are logged and unauthorised access or suspicious activities will be reported.


  • You will be given the POEM credentials in the Deskpro ticket associated to your run. Those are different then your user portal credentials.
  • Establish a voice/video contact with the operator via skype. 
  • When ready, the operator will enable the connection from the Paranal side, and signal you to enter.
  • Log into POEM with your credentials.
  • You will be presented with a list of telescope/instruments. Click on the instrument of your run. Your session will start after a few seconds.
    • You may find that the mouse pointer will disappear when moved inside the viewing area. This is the normal behaviour.
  • The keystrokes CTRL-ALT-SHIFT (Mac: control+option+shift) will present you with a menu:
    • “username - home" will get you back to the home screen (but the connection is not cut)
    • “username - disconnect” will terminate the remote connection
    • There are also options for zooming in or out. Scrolling is enabled via the web browser.