With the addition of SPIRIT 3 and 4, telescope operation is changing from the ‘live observing’ modes of SPIRIT 1 and 2, to a scheduling system. The web interfaces for SPIRIT 3 & 4 include a request form, where users create image requests that are scheduled and dispatched automatically according to variables, such as weather, target visibitility, and a number of ‘user definable’ constraints.
Scheduling takes all of the work out of figuring out the best time to image a target of interest, while also making telescope use more efficient and productive. Unlike live observing modes, users do not book or interact with the telescope in real time, though requests and live telescope operations can still be monitored via the SPIRIT web interface.
Observations can be requested by authorised users at any time of the day or night – no more booking calendar !
SPIRIT 1 & 2 will be moved over to scheduled operation in the future, but for now remain ‘live observing’ telescopes that require planning and booking.