Frequently Asked Questions

 

Below you can find some of our users most frequently asked questions. Click the one of the question links below to jump to the frequently asked question. If you have a question that is not answered here, please contact us.

 


Frequently Asked Questions 

I have forgotten my username and password. What do I do?
Why did my observation not work?
I can add observations but I can’t submit them. Why?
Why does the time disappear from my account even when my observations do not go ahead?
Can we use the telescope when there is a Full Moon?
Is there a way to program the telescopes for cadenced observations?
We took the images during a full moon cycle - should we have eliminated the blue filter? Or decreased its exposure? 
The Gaia alerts page that showed targets had an image of the suggested target. How do we know where the supernova is? Is it in the exact centre of the image?
Why can’t I watch my images being taken anymore?
Why can’t we take real time images anymore?
Why are there telescopes not as reliable as they were?
What is the difference between slot time and queue time?
When should we use the queue?
When should we use slot time? 
Error: Invalid Instrument Name 
Error: This observatory is currently unavailable. Please try again later
Error: The request duration xx:xx:xx did not fit into any visible intervals. The largest visible interval within your window was 0:00:00

  




I have forgotten my username and password. What do I do?

Your username will always be the e mail address you regisetered for an acount with.  If you have forgotten your password you can reset it by following the link below:

https://lcogt.net/observe/auth/accounts/password/reset/



Why did my observation not work?

Very often, this is down to the weather – if the telescope site that your request was scheduled for was cloudy, windy or rainy, the telescopes are unable to open.

Sometimes, there can be a technical issue with the telescope such as a broken camera or motor.

And sometimes, the telescope network is simply over-subscribed and not all the requests can be performed.

Usually, the scheduler program will attempt to re-schedule the requests within the allocated time window, but of course, short time windows allow fewer opportunities for this to happen. 


 


I can add observations but I can’t submit them. Why?

The scheduler program will check if your request is valid before allowing it to be submitted. This means that an object that isn’t visible during the time window cannot be requested. If you are sure that your object should be visible, it is possible that you may be trying to submit a request that cannot be currently taken because the instrument/telescope is not available. By saving the request as a ‘draft’, it can be submitted once it is available. 

For example, a target for the 2-metre network which is too far north for FT South cannot be submitted if FT North is offline due to a technical issue (even if this is a very short amount of time). As soon as FT North is working again, this request can be submitted.


 


Why does the time disappear from my account even when my observations do not go ahead?

Sometimes this will happen but if it does, email and we can re-credit this time to allow you to re-submit your request.


 


Can we use the telescope when there is a Full Moon? 

Yes, of course, but your object will not be imaged if it is within 30 degrees of the Moon. Generally, objects that are close to the Full Moon (up to 50 or 60 degrees) will not look as nice as those that are further away or taken when the Moon is less than full. It can be worth avoiding taking images with the blue filter or using longer exposures in blue than in other filters. Filters such as Bessel-R and SDSS-i' are less prone to be affected by the Full Moon.


 


Is there a way to program the telescopes for cadenced observations?

Yes, cadenced (or repeat) observations can be set up using the 'Cadence' option in the more advanced (ODIN) interface. This can be reached by changing a setting within your profile and unticking the 'Enable On Sky as your default interface' box. You can set up a repeat period in hours and a jitter which determines how regularly you wish the images to be taken.


 


We took the images during a full moon cycle - should we have eliminated the blue filter? Or decreased its exposure? 

You can eliminate the blue filter or perhaps consider doubling the exposure in blue. Images taken of 'pretty' objects can suffer quite badly but science images are still usable at this time.


 

The Gaia alerts page that showed targets had an image of the suggested target. How do we know where the supernova is? Is it in the exact centre of the image?

Yes, it should be in the centre of the purple cross-hairs.



Why can’t I watch my images being taken anymore?

This is a problem with the LCO software, and in part relates to (8) below - the LCO system is not really designed for "live observing", but we're hoping for improvements in the future...


 


Why can’t we take real time images anymore?

The "old" FT allowed users to control the 2m Faulkes Telescopes (FT North and FT South) in "real time", but as the number of telescopes has grown, the software required to control such a complicated network has become more complex, and eventually LCO had to turn off the Real Time Interface that we used to use. This means that currently you can only request observations through the "queue-scheduled" mode (i.e. submit a request for data and the network sorts it out for you, and you get your data back asap but from whichever telescope was able to do it first) or in the "scheduled" slots (i.e. where you request your observations and actually book them into a particular time slot on a specified telescope - so a sort of "semi-live" observing, where you must upload your requests in advance, but you can watch as they are done [not that this is terribly excited! But if you require a very specific time, such as for an exoplanet transit or something else that is time critical, it is the only way]).

We are in discussion with LCO about possibly changes to the system in future that might restore some of the "live observing" capacity, but as you can imagine, with almost 20 telescopes in the network (as of late 2016), it is not easy to switch some of them to live observing every now and then.


 


Why are there telescopes not as reliable as they were?

The telescopes have seen decreasing amounts of time written off to technical issues but at the same time have a huge amount of science and research users. Often the schools' requests don't have quite the same priority but the provision of ~ 20 telescopes should increase your opportunity to get images.


 


What is the difference between slot time and queue time?

Slot time allows you to select a 15 or 30 minute block of time on a particular telescope and then program this in advance to take images of your choice. Queue time allows the scheduler more freedom to select the optimum time and location to carry out your request within your selected time window while considering all other users' requests.


 


When should we use the queue?

If you are imaging a object not likely to change in time (such as a nebula, open cluster or galaxy), a one-off request via queue mode can be very effective. Alternatively, you may with to set up a set of repeat (or cadenced) observations via the queue. Examples include multiple observations of an eclipsing binary, a Cepheid variable or a supernova as it fades.


 


When should we use slot time?

If you have a target that needs to be observed at a particular time and date (such as an asteroid or exoplanet transit), this mode can be effective.



Error: Invalid Instrument Name

How do you see this: By hovering over the 'no entry' sign on the target box (see image)Invalid instrument error screenshotInvalid instrument error screenshot

What it means: The camera used by the telescope you've chosen has been given the wrong name by LCOGT. This is a mistake that they have made, so they need to be contacted with a screenshot to show them this.

 



Error: This observatory is currently unavailable. Please try again later

How do you see this: This message flashes up on the right hand side when you try and submit your observing request (see image)

Observatory not available error message screenshot

What it means: This error message means that the telescope or camera on the telescope you have chosen to use is offlinefor some reason. You can check the status of the telescopes and cameras on this page:

https://lcogt.net/observatory/status/ but make sure you scroll down the page to see what the latest news is on each site/telescope/camera.

You can still book a future slot on the telescope which is offline, but the LCOGT interface won't allow you to submit targets whilst it's down. So, you can either contact us (Faulkes Telescope Project team) to cancel your slot and choose one on a telescope which is working, or you can wait until nearer the time of your session and upload your targets then (if the telescope is fixed and working again). If you want to cancel a slot, email alison.tripp@faulkes-telescope.com with the time date/site of the slot you wish to cancel.

 



Error: The request duration xx:xx:xx did not fit into any visible intervals. The largest visible interval within your window was 0:00:00

How do you see this: This message flashes up on the right hand side of your target when you hover over the 'no entry' sign (see image).

No visible time interval error message screenshot

 

What it means: If you see this error message it means that the object you have inputted is not visible using that telescope at the time and date chosen. To double check this, use Stellarium (making sure you have the time set for the correct time of your session i.e. in UT) and look at the altitude of the object - is it above 25 degrees and rising? If not, you can't observe it.

There is also an issue with the 0.4m and 1m telescopes in their design (equatorial mounting) which results in a 'blind spot' behind the telescope. If you have checked that your object is visible but you still have this error message, then it could be unfortunately situated in the telescope's blind spot, so you'll have to choose another object!