Service Mode Guidelines for Period 113

This page and the links in the left menu provide the general information necessary to complete the Phase 2 preparation for Service Mode programmes at the VLT and VLTI.

This information has been updated for Period 113. Period 112 users (including the authors of Director's Discretionary Time proposals approved during Period 112) should continue to follow the Period 112 procedures.

P113 Phase 2 deadline:

Thursday, 22 February 2024 at 12:00 CEST

News and Recent Changes

Please follow this link to get the news on recent changes concerning general phase 2 matters, observatory news, as well as instrument specific news (if you have chosen an instrument with the Instrument Menu on the right).

Useful links:


Useful links:

Please contact the ESO User Support Department through our Helpdesk portal for all matters regarding phase 2 preparation. Please include the programme ID in the ticket!

The Knowledgebase area provides answers to the most common inquiries related to the preparation of Service Mode Observations.


The easiest way to prepare the phase 2 material of your observations is to choose the instrument of your interest in the Instrument Menu on the right and then follow the topics given in the list on the left or to choose the Phase 2 Instrument Overview Table.

The web application p2 must be used for Phase 2 material preparation for all Paranal observing runs. Please check our help section about p2 for for more detailed information including instructions on how to notify ESO when your material is ready. Observation preparation for La Silla is now done with a "cousin" of p2 called p2ls.   

Here you can also check a 5 min. video guiding you through the whole process of preparing and submitting an OB and a README with p2.


Video timestamps:

0:13 p2 main page (see also here)
0:27 Add a new OB and modify it (instrument specific info)
2:08 Change the observing constraints
2:29 Set a time interval or constraint
3:20 Finding charts and ObsPrep (additional info)
4:52 Check whether the OB is properly prepared
5:17 Modify the README
5:30 Notify ESO button
5:40 Additional settings, like User Priority

More general information about Philosophy and Scheduling of Service Mode ObservingGeneral Service Mode Policies, and Special Procedures is also available (see menu on the left).

Phase 2 Delegation

It is possible for the PI of an observing run to allow (an)other user(s) to create the OBs, READMEs, etc. using their own User Portal account by delegating access to Phase 2 preparation to them.

The delegate can be anyone with a registered User Portal account. A different person can be chosen as the delegate for different runs of the same programme. Delegating Phase 2 does not remove Phase 2 access permissions from the PI him/herself. Thus, PIs who use Phase 2 delegation are kindly asked to coordinate Phase 2 preparation between themselves and their delegate(s). Delegation can be viewed and administered though the Access Control ESO web page.
Once a user has been granted Phase 2 permissions for a run they will see the run in p2 after logging in with their own credentials. The delegated runs are distinguished by a small green arrow next to the run ID.

Where to seek help

The knowledgebase area on our Helpdesk portal provides answers to some of the most common inquiries related to the preparation of Service Mode Observations. If further help is needed please contact us through the Helpdesk portal.

Instrument selector