Due to planned IT maintenance between Saturday, 15 May 2021 at 08:00 CEST/02:00 CLT and Sunday, 16 May 2021 at 24:00 CEST/18:00 CLT, ESO services that rely on Database Management Systems, the Scientific Archive, and Internet connectivity on all ESO sites, could be subject to intermittent outages. Full services cannot be guaranteed before Monday 17 May. We apologize for any inconvenience caused.

How to create Finding Charts for Service Mode

In general, a finding chart has to be attached to each OB. Exceptions are possible for some instruments, in which case this is specified in the instrument-specific rules, which can be found by selecting the instrument from the pull-down instrument selector menu in the upper right of this web page.

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, e.g. 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 the parallactic angle)

Please verify that finding charts have sufficient quality and resolution. This can be done using p2 by attaching the finding chart and then clicking on the "thumbnail" version to see the full size version displayed in your browser.

Please read the P2 finding chart tutorial for a detailed description on how to attach finding charts to OBs.

How to create finding charts

p2 Finding Chart Generation service

Finding Chart Generation service, called p2fc, is integrated into p2. It allows the automated, non-interactive creation of finding charts for individual or multiple OBs at the push of a button for almost all of the current VLT and La Silla instruments that require finding charts. A detailed description and instructions for usage are available in the dedicated p2fc Finding Charts page.

A command line interface to p2fc is also available, via the Python p2api, allowing control over many of the characterisitics of the FC generation that are not possible in the single click implementation available in p2.

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 p2 finding chart generation service or instrument specific preparation tools like FIMS or KARMA, ESO recommends the use of the SkyCat-based finding chart tool. This tool provides another user-friendly interface to easily produce finding charts with the general characteristics described above.

Skycat, including the ESO Finding Chart Plugin, is now available from the ESO software repositories (see below), package name eso-skycat.

Additional rules for FLAMES finding charts

In addition to the general requirements for finding charts, the following requirements should be fulfilled:

  • the field of view of all finding charts must be 25 arcmin by 25 arcmin in size, with a clear indication of field center and orientation,
  • the VLT Guide Star must be clearly indicated; a field of some 30" in diameter around the star must be clearly visible,
  • the Fiducial (aka FACB) Stars must be clearly indicated; a field of some 10" in diameter around each star must be clearly visible,
  • in order to be able to evaluate the quality of the reference stars, we recommend to produce full-size A4 charts.

FLAMES is fully supported by the p2fc Finding Chart service. Once the OB has been prepared, including attaching the FPOSS setup file created in FPOSS, simply open the Finding Charts tab, and click the "Generate Finding Charts" button.

ESO Mac & Linux software repositories

For several years ESO has been providing pipelines and esoreflex via MacPorts and RPM repositories.

RPM repositories are available for several Fedora, Scientific Linux and CentOS versions and can be used under certain conditions in other RPM based distributions (see the instructions below in the pull down menu for your system).

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 FIMS, KARMA 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 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 usd-help@eso.org 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 usd-help@eso.org 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.

Choose your platform:

Instrument selector

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