Step 4: Preparing a list of observation requests
After generating a list of potential targets for the night when the observations will take place, you need to select the targets you wish to observe from that list, and prepare a text file containing a list of requests for observations of the selected targets. This text file will be processed by the TAO scheduler. The observation requests are composed using a specific syntax, illustrated by the text file TAO\schedule\example.stg, whose contents are reproduced below:
When a text file such as the above is processed by the scheduler, the various observation requests are processed in the order in which they appear in the file. The scheduler tries to insert the first target into an empty schedule, then tries to insert the second target, then the third, and so forth. The first targets to be processed are inserted into an empty or near-empty schedule, so they are observed under the best possible conditions. As the schedule becomes more and more full, it becomes increasingly difficult to insert new targets, and the targets which are inserted at this stage may not be observed under the best possible conditions due to "competition" with previously scheduled targets. This means that the requests for your highest-priority targets should usually be listed near the top of the text file containing your observation requests. More scheduling tips may be found by clicking here.
The various options and keywords which can be used to build observation requests are described in the next sections.
Simple requests using default options
The simplest kind of observing request consists of the target name followed by a semicolon:
If a 3-character user ID is specified after the semicolon,
the observations are understood to have been requested by the specified user; the observations would be carried out using the default options specified in the user's profile.
Note: When you add fixed targets to the database using program addFixedTargets, a scheduler input file will be automatically generated. This file contains simple observation requests for each of the targets which have been added.
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