How to Observe with LUCI1

1) LUCI Software Start-Up

2) Other Software Start-Up

3) Pointing and Collimating

4) Running Scripts

5) Target Acquisition

A) Introduction

B) Sky, Source, and Slit Images

C) MOS Alignment

D) Longslit Alignment

E) Telluric Stars (MOS and Longslit)

6) Calibrations

7) End of Night

8) Basic Troubleshooting

LUCI Software Start-Up

  • Log into LBTO workstation using your partner account (INAF,LBTB,OSURC,AZ)
  • Start NXclient from the LUCI desktop icon, or in the menu Applications/Internet/NXClient/NXClient for Linux.
  • On the client login popup, log in as observer (get password from the ISA/OSA). This will get you to the Solaris desktop on the lucifer machine
  • Stretch the Solaris desktop window to cover the bottom three screens
  • Exit/cancel out of any terminals that auto-start on login for a clean start
  • If there is no task bar at the bottom of the screen with an orange “Launch” button, right-click on the desktop to open an xterm and type “gnome-panel &”.
  • Double-click the Start_LUCI1 icon. This will open a number of GUIs and viewing tools including:
  • A GEIRS initialization window will pop open. In this window, set “observer” to your partner ID, press enter in the box; press OK. This will proceed to open GEIRS; which will display every DIT taken with LUCI, even those that will be co-added.
  • Re-arrange the panels to your liking. DO NOT EXIT out of the GEIRS xterm — icon it.  GEIRS uses this for log messages.  A carriage return in the terminal will show a “Lucifer>” prompt.
  • In the Readout Manager:
    • Check the Save Path. It should be auto-set. Create it from the pop-up if needed
    • Check the Filename Root, it should be auto-set. Change to to luci.20100410. (replace 20100410 with current UTDate, and don’t forget final period)
    • Press Set New Values in the Readout Manager
  • In the Telescope Manager GUI Check that Wait for collimation is on
  • In the Instrument Manager GUI, check that the Calibration unit is out of the beam
  • Take a test exposure to check the dataflow:
    • In the Readout Manager GUI  set up a test exposure. Remember to press enter on the keyboard when changing values in any text box.
      • Save Image type = AUTOMATIC
      • Frame Type = Dark
      • DIT = 4
      • ROEmode = o2dcr
      • NDIT = 1
      • Savemode = normal
      • # exposure = 1
    • Click Set new values. Confirm that the “current readout setup” now appears the same as the “new readout set-up”.
    • Click the Start READ button at the right top of the Read Manager GUI. This will take a single test exposure.
    • Check that the frame appears in the GEIRS and skycat windows and is saving correctly.
      • A cron job copies data from /data/luci/UTdate into the archive in /archive/ once a minute
      • /archive is mounted as /newdata on the LBTO summit workstations (obs1, obs2, etc)
      • On any summit workstation >> cd /newdata and confirm the LUCI test image has appeared.

Other Software Start-Up

Some TCS GUIs can be opened, but MUST be run on the linux workstation (obs2, obs3) and not the LUCI computer (NX client)

  • On the 4- or 6-monitor workstations, move the cursor to a display showing the Linux desktop (usually the top display in the 3+1 monitor arrangement).
  • right-click on background, Open in Terminal to open an xterm
  • In the xterm type “GCSGUI left &” to bring up the GCS GUI for the left telescope where LUCI1 is mounted (for LUCI2 replace “left” with “right”). This GUI will show you the the acquisition exposures as well as the guide star on both the guider and wavefront sensor and give you a measure of the seeing and collimation.
  • Open an xterm and type “IIFGUI &” to bring up the IIF GUI display. This GUI will allow you to keep track of the position of the telescope and will help confirm when commands to the mount & mirrors are completed.
  • Start IRAF (ignore the LBC-specific startup) if you plan to use it.  It is best to run this on the obsN workstations.  Please work in a /scratch/<UTDate> directory that you create.

Pointing and Collimation Check

  • Provide the OSA with the coordinates of your first target before the start of the night, preferably at or before sunset.

  • Once it is dark enough, they will use the coordinates provided to slew to a nearby bright star and correct pointing and collimation

Running Scripts

  • Scripts are tested as: --test scriptname
  • Scripts are started as: scriptname
  • Scripts are exited gracefully by typing “exit” in the xterm where they are running

 Target Acquisition 


  • A normal MOS mask or longslit alignment requires four images: sky, source, slit, and source+slit.
  • Most acquisition scripts are configured to automatically take the first two images in this sequence without interaction from the observer, however, because LUCI scripts are not standardized, it is left to the user to preview the acquisition script with a program like emacs, nano etc. to identify which steps the PI has included.
    • On occasion, only the first image in the sequence is in the script and it is left to the observer to make a small offset to obtain a subtraction frame (see Offsets with LUCI). In this instance, only one ACQUISITION will be included in the START_OBSERVING_SETUP.
    • In the case of bright sources like telluric stars, the sky frame may be omitted completely.
    • All four images in the sequence should be taken with the same readout configuration.

Sky, Source, and Slit Images:

To take sky and source images, run the acquisition script using scriptname.acq.

  • When the first (sky) image reads out, it will display in SkyCat.
  • When the second (source) image reads out,
    • Return to the Bias Image dialog box
    • Use the diamond shaped radio buttons to select an usused buffer (i.e. Buffer 2)
    • Click Copy Image –> Bias. This will load the source for later use.
    • Select the buffer with the sky image (i.e. Buffer 1) using the radio buttons and click “Subtract” in the upper left corner.
    • You should now have a sky-source image displayed on SkyCat.
    • Use the finding chart provided by the PI, make a first attempt to identify the field. If the field is crowded or the orientation is misleading, we recommend that you proceed with the next steps while continuing to identify the target. This prevents inefficiencies in the acquisition process.
  • The script should automatically pause while these two images are complete. Do not exit out of the script.

To take the slit image:

  • In the MOS configuration box on the Instrument Mananger GUI (IMGUI) you will see “Mask to Position” listed as “Mask to Turnout”
  • Using the pull down menu change “Mask to Turnout” to “Mask to FPU”
  • Press the yellow “Commit Instrument Set-up” button on the upper right of the IMGUI
  • In the Readout Manager GUI confirm that the exposure settings match those for they source and sky images. Then press “Start Read”. This will take a slit image
  • The slit image will automaticall appear in Skycat once it has readout.
    • Return to the Bias Image dialog box
    • Use the diamond shaped radio buttons to select an usused buffer (i.e. Buffer 3)
    • Click Copy Image –> Bias. This will load the slit for later use.

Note: Please do not leave the mask in turnout for long periods.  Motor current is used to hold the mask in this position and over time it will warm up parts of LUCI.  This happens frequently when an acquistion is interrupted because of bad weather.

MOS Alignment

  • If it is not already displayed in Skycat, use the “Go” menu to bring up the slit image
  • Press the MOS ACQ button on the Telesecope GUI
    • A MOS acquisition box will appear
    • Check use LMS file for Ref. Stars box
    • Choose the correct camera. If you are in doubt, check the instrument configuration to see which camera was used to take the acquisition images
    • Click Set Mask reference slit #3 button.
  • A pick object dialog box will appear
    • At the very top of the slit image, you will see a row of reference holes.
    • Using the mouse and following the directions, click the third reference hole from the upper right
    • The pick object box will indicate that the reference hole has been found
    • Close the pick-object window. The MOS Alignment Box will now have the reference slit button set to yellow
  • In Skycat, use the “Go” menu to display the source image; subtract the sky image using the subtract button in the Bias Image dialog box; Adjust stretch to see the alignment stars
  • Click Set Alignment Stars button in the MOS Acquisition Box
    • Another pick object window will appear
    • Using the directions provided, choose alignment stars that correspond with the alignment boxes that are displayed on the source image in Skycat.
  • In the MOS Acquisition Box, both the Mask Reference and Set Alignment buttons will be yellow. Click Calculate Transform.
    • A dialog box will appear asking if you would like to exclude any stars from the calculation. If alignment stars were misidentified or poorly centroided, list them in the space provided.
    • One the offsets are calculated, check if they are reasonable and if the rms values are low (usually << 1 pixel)
    • Commit the offsets if acceptable
  • Take confirmation source+slit image
    • Display, subtract the sky frame if needed and adjust stretch to see sources in alignment boxes (if any) or slits
  • Check alignment; apply any residual X/Y correction (manually) if needed
  • Stop alignment script on command line (carriage return to exit) and start science script

 Longslit Alignment

  • If you have not already done so, load the sky, source, and slit images into three separate buffers in the Bias Image box in Skycat
  • Using the “go” button in Skycat, display the source image.
  • Select the buffer with the sky image (i.e. Buffer 1) using the radio buttons and click “Subtract” in the upper left corner. You should now have a source-sky image displayed on SkyCat.
  • In the Acquisition box on the lower right of the the Telescope GUI choose the correct camera. If you are in doubt, check the instrument configuration to see which camera was used to take the acquisition images.
  • Press the Shift Image button on the Telesecope GUI
  • A pick object dialog box will appear.
    • Using your cursor, left click to select the star you would like to center in the slit from your source-sky image.
    • Be sure you are marking the correct object. A cross should appear over the object and the Pick Object dialog box should estimate a FWHM
    • Visually confirm that the crosshair marking the center of the source actually corresponds to the centroid. The software should also automatically detect the FWHM, which should be displayed in the Pick Object Box. Confirm that this value makes sense.
  • Next you will need to mark the center of your slit. DO NOT LOAD THE SLIT IMAGE USING “GO”. Instead:
    • Return to the Bias Image Dialog box. Select the buffer with the slit image (i.e. Buffer 3) using the radio buttons and click Subtract. This will subtract the slit from your source image
    • Now continue the alignment procedure, carefully marking the middle of the slit.
  • Once this process is complete, the offsets will appear in the bottom left of the Telescope Manager GUI in the Offset Telescope box under X,Y. You should make sure they look reasonable before you send the offsets to the telescope using the commit button.
  • Take a through slit image to confirm that the object is centered well in the slit. If it is not well centered, you can use the offset panel on the TMGUI to adjust the object manually.
  • Once you are pleased with the acquistion, start your science script.


 Telluric Stars (MOS and Longslit)

Telluric stars are aligned on the masks from the Longslit tab on the RTD, whether this is through a longslit or a MOS mask.  When observing a telluric star through MOS masks, you must know which slit is the first one the telluric should be observed through, or subsequent offsets will not place the telluric through other slit lets.  The telluric script produced by Scriptor will likely put the star near the center of the detector, so the offset to place the source on the first slit can be large.

The telluric scripts also will automatically cross and uncross particular combinations of filters as needed to prevent the telluric star from saturating the detector while still allowing for sufficient sky flux to get through the slit so its position can be identified.



Twilight Flats:

  • Inform the OSA/ISA  as soon as possible if you plan to do twilight flats (dusk or dawn).
  • Narrowband flats are taken as early as 45 minutes before sunset (Br_gam) or after sunrise with the telescope parked at zenith, facing away from the sun.
  • Broadband flats are normally taken after sunset or before sunrise.  Ask the OSA to preset in TRACK mode to a Persson standard at relatively high elevation.  Make sure it is off the Galactic Plane.
  • For all filters:
    • Start with short 1×4.0s O2DCR exposures to check count levels
    • Keep maximum counts below 15,000 if possible
    • Aim for a minimum of 5 exposures at each level with Delta_ADU of 5000 or more
  • Broadband filters:
    • K/Ks-band flats start just after sunset or complete just before sunrise
      • Monitor brightness in Br_gam before starting at sunset
      • Switch to K/Ks when Br_gam counts drop below 2000 ADU after sunset
    • H, J, or z bands are usually started immediately after the K/Ks flats have completed (at sunset, reverse order at sunrise).
    • We generally recommend small offsets between each flat so that any stars that appear in the frame can be removed when the frames are combined.  You can use a generic dithering script like 10xDithers.img in the directory ~/00_Scripts/TwilightFlats/ to take the data.  


  • Darks are better taken in the afternoon, before removing the blind mask, to minimize persistence effects from the previous night.
  • With the blind mask in the FPU they can be taken even with the lights on in the enclosure.
  •  Darks are stable over several nights; they do not need to be taken daily!
  • Procedure:
    • Copy DoDarks, and from ~/00_Scripts/Darks to your working directory.  There is a README file and some other scripts there as well if you need them.
    • Edit and to produce darks for all readout modes and DITs used that night (3-5 each or so).  It is not critical to match NDITs as the integrated darks are a simple sum.
    • Edit (comment in/out) DoDarks as needed and run it on the command line with ./DoDarks.

End of Night

  • If you are done taking arcs and flats, run the script: /home/observer/00_Scripts/Misc/EndOfNight.  This script:
    • March 2015: Skip this unless you need darks!  We are trying to reduce wear on the MOS grabber.
    • Configures LUCI with the blind mask (NB3), both blind filters, N3.75 camera, and the mirror.
    • Watch the instrument GUI to make sure it completes.
    • It is best to log out of the UI when you are done, and start with a fresh login at the beginning of your next night.  

Basic Troubleshooting

These common issues range from the very simple ones, which can be resolved with one step, to more complicated problems that might require multiple layers of troubleshooting. Still, everything listed under this Basic Troubleshooting section can be completed by either LBTO Support Staff OR visiting astronomers and thus the directions are listed here. If these solutions do not work or the problem is more serious, please inform the OSA or ISA on duty.

I) RED subpanels on IMGUI
II) MOS subpanel RED
III) GUI Restart
IV) MOS Configuration Cancelled
V) Error stabilizing grating CWL
VI) Error while Trying to Compenate Flexure
VII) Calibration Unit Fails
VIII) Shield Temperature Alarms
IX) Other Temperature Alarms or Pressures
X) Found mask cabinet position -1


I) A subpanel other than the MOS unit on the Instrument Manager GUI turns red:

  • click initialize at the top of the IMGUI

II) The MOS unit subpanel turns red, or an initialize fails,

  • stop all interaction with LUCI1
  • IMMEDIATELY notify the OSA/ISA

III) A GUI window disappears, hangs, or otherwise acts oddly…

It can be restarted from shell scripts in the ~/bin directory:

  • Close the window as needed
  • In an xterm: cd ~/bin
  • Execute ./ (or any other appropriate start_*.sh script)
  • For GEIRS, run ./ then ./

IV) IMGUI not responsive. Pushing “commit instrument set-up” button after configuring instrument does nothing or…you have answered “no” in the popup window confirming a requested MOS motion

The IMGUI will need to be restarted:

  • Close the IMGUI
  • execute ~/bin/ & in an xterm

V) The grating unit times out while trying to stabilize at the requested wavelength

  • Manually re-select the same CWL on the GUI and commit.
  • Change CWL +/- 0.1um or so and commit, go back to original CWL if this works
  • Change grating and CWL, go back to original settings if this works
  • Re-submit science script once the grating has stabilized at the correct CWL
  • Avoid high EL observations (>80 degrees) if possible
  • Ask OSA to note date, time, EL, and ROT in IT#2772
  • Note that the G210 grating in LUCI2 is having trouble stabilizing at wavelengths >2.2um.

VI) Error while trying to compensate flexure

  • *While the exposure is reading out and telescope offsetting* turn flexure “off” and “on” again using the Set Flexure Compensation toggle in the lower left of the IMGUI.
  • If this does not work, check the parallactic angle. If it is changing rapidly (i.e. the object is transitting) then the flexure compensation, which is a function of rotator angle and applied from a LUT, may not be able to keep up. In this case, there may be nothing you can do but wait until the object is through the meridian. You can continue to observe, but might expect blurring of the object in that image.

VII) Calibration unit fails to move in or out from the Instrument Manager GUI,

  • Try to move the unit again from the GUI
  • If it still fails, notify the OSA/ISA

VIII) Sheid Temperature Alarms

  • Shield Temperature has been problematic (10/2013)
  • Concerning science observations:
    • Shield temperature alone does NOT impact science observations below  ~ 100K
    • As long as the detector stays within +-0.05K of the nominal 77K, science can go on.
  • Regardless, inform an ISA/OSA so that they can continue to monitor

IX) Other Temperature or Pressue Alarms

  • Pressure ‘alarms’ are safely ignored, but check with ISA the first time it happens or if you’re not sure.
  • IMMEDIATELY inform ISA/OSA about any alarms or critical/warning states displayed on the LUCI GUI

X) Found mask cabinet position -1

  • This means that the requested mask is not in LUCI.  You will most often see this when a mask is re-designed after having generated the observing script.
  • Verify the correct mask name in the Instrument GUI mask drop-down list, then
  • Edit a copy of the script.  SED works well for this:
    • sed -i ‘s/oldmaskname/newmaskname/g’ scriptcopy.xml
  • Reset the queue, load the corrected script, and Go!