1  General Guidelines & Preliminary Information

1.1) About This Manual
1.2) Graduate in One Night!
1.3) Technical Problems
1.4) Transportation and Area Maps
1.5) Accommodation and Meals
1.6) Observing Preparation Form
1.7) Telephones & Fax
1.8) Publications
1.9) Sending Documents and Parcels To MDM

1.1  About This Manual

This manual contains all of the pertinent information required to efficiently operate the telescope. It covers the telescope, finder/guider, control computers and dome. Individual instruments and detectors are covered in separate manuals. You will probably find it useful to read through this manual before arriving at the observatory. Your constructive comments and suggestions for changes or additions (substantive and editorial) are welcomed.

1.2  Graduate in one night!

The Hiltner 2.4 m Telescope is unique for its size in not having a night assistant. We feel we can operate this way because the telescope is so easy to use and because we trust you, the observer to exercise good judgement and care. If you have not used the telescope before please make sure that you are instructed by an experienced faculty member from your institute. After the first night (or two?) you will be on your own!  Do not expect to receive training on-site from MDM staff.

1.3  Technical Problems

Although the telescope is kept on a regular maintenance program, problems can and do arise. If you think you have a problem go through the checklists in this manual.  A searchable database of previous trouble reports can also be referenced.  It's worthwhile to check the reports for the 1.3m McGraw-Hill telescope as well as reports there may pertain since there is so much crossover between instrumentation and the MIS.

If you are unable to solve the problem you can call a staff member for assistance prior to 2200 or if there is an emergency. Please note that the staff are usually willing to assist you but they are not on call or standby and they are not obliged to travel to the mountain to make repairs after hours or during weekends. Experience has shown that most problems can be solved over the telephone. Follow the instructions given on the bulletin board in the control room to call for technical assistance.

A Trouble Report Form is available on the MDM home page on all of the MDM computers. It forwards your message both to the mountain staff and to key individuals at the consortium institutions. We request that you report all technical problems promptly using this form, even if you have already reported them orally to the mountain staff. This helps keep the staff members and director abreast of newly arising and continuing problems.

In the event of a computer problem, or for additional visibility, please leave a message about problems on the white marker board in the control room.

Observers are NOT allowed to attempt repairs, swap computers or electronic boards, or make modifications to equipment.

1.4  Transportation and Area Maps

Figure 1-1: Map Of Tucson Area, Including Kitt Peak

Figure 1-2: Street Map of NOAO HQ

MDM Observatory is located on the southwest ridge of Kitt Peak, some 50 miles from Tucson (Figure 1.1) Most observers arrive in Tucson the day before observing starts. However, you should arrange to arrive and depart from the observatory no more than 12 hours before or after your scheduled observing time. If you must use an MDM dorm room on the night before your run, you should clear this with the previous observer. If you are not hiring a car, shared van transportation from the airport to the hotels and NOAO is available from Stagecoach Express [(520) 889-1000] which currently (August 2018) costs approximately $24.00 each way. There are also the standard options in Lyft, Uber or taxi service at comparable cost.  The nearest hotel to NOAO is the Aloft, Tucson University [1900 E. Speedway Blvd. (520) 908-6800] on the SE corner of Speedway Blvd. and Campbell Ave.  There are also hotels located quite close to Tucson International Airport.

Guaranteed NOAO transportation: Monday-Friday Only: 0640 up, 1600 down, only when NOAO works - not provided on NOAO holidays or weekends.  If an observer has signed up for a shuttle in advance (see times below), and no driver is available, then the MDM observer can use an NOAO vehicle for transport, provided they have a valid driver's license and that they fill out, in advance, the "Application for a Motor Vehicle Operator's Identification Card".  If you have any plan of using the NOAO shuttle service, it is a good idea to file this form well in advance as it cannot be filed at the last minute.  It is also worth mentioning that NOAO vehicles cannot be left parked at MDM facilities.  If an MDM observer uses an NOAO shuttle, it must be driven to the summit and the observer must then find transport down the roughly 2.5 miles to MDM.

The transportation only runs at the following times:

Up: 6:40, 8:30, 11:00, 14:00, 16:00, 18:00

Down: 8:30, 11:00, 14:00, 16:00, 18:00, 20:00, late service somewhere between 22:00-23:00

If your observing run starts on a weekend or if you are forced to arrive late at night, it is usually possible to arrange for an observatory vehicle to be left in the NOAO/AURA employees parking lot (Figure 1-2) located at First Street between Martin and Warren (just west of Campbell). Don't forget to bring the lockbox key that you can obtain from your institutional representative. The vehicle will normally be left with gas in the tank. 

If you are renting a car at the airport turn left at the first set of lights on to Valencia and follow this road until it ends at Ajo Way. There are large supermarkets on Valencia. The most convenient gas station to fill up on return is at Valencia and Tucson Blvd., 2 miles from the airport.

1.5  Accommodation and Meals

Accommodation consists of rooms with two or more single beds and a private bathroom. To keep operating costs down we have only infrequent janitorial service. You will be required to make your own bed and, at the end of your stay, to strip the bed and place dirty sheets and towels in one of the pillow cases, and place them in front of  the linen closet. We also request that you clean your room if time permits (good to do on cloudy nights!).

If you have meals at the summit of Kitt Peak please follow the instructions by the touch-screen meal computer at the dining hall. In addition to soups, salad and sandwiches for lunch and a full service dinner, there is a take out night lunch and breakfast cereals. Current charges (starting September 1 2005) are:

Breakfast (Breckfast is a cooked meal ordered on the Night Lunch web form) 
Lunch (11:30 - 13:00) 
Dinner (16:30 - 17:45) 
Night Lunch 

Please pay for your meals before leaving the mountain by settling your account at the KPNO admin desk with Bellina Lopez between the hours of 0815 and 1515. You may use cash, check, MasterCard, or Visa. There is also a form that you can deposit to leave your credit card authorization after hours.

Some observers with transportation prefer to bring provisions to MDM which has a simple kitchen (microwave, fridge/freezer, toaster, range-top, utensils). MDM Observatory is located on the Tohono O'Odham Indian Reservation; alcohol is not permitted. Each observing control room has a stereo tuner and CD player. We have a small CD collection donated by observers.  If you bring an appropriate cord, a phone or portasble music device could also be plugged in.

MDM Observatory has a fleet of three vehicles. These are used for transport to and from the Kitt Peak summit, some 2.5 miles away. Please arrange to share a vehicle with the 1.3m observer whenever possible to minimize costs. These vehicles are not available for general personal travel but can be used for weekend or early/late arrivals and departures if permission is granted from the staff. Requests can be made on the Observing Preparation Form (see below).  It is vital that permission for off-site vehicle use is sought prior to using a vehicle!

1.6  Observing Preparation Form

All principal observers are required to submit an Observing Preparation Form via the web AT LEAST 2 WEEKS BEFORE THE START OF YOUR RUN. (Tip: do this after you book your flight, when all details of your transportation needs and schedule become known.)  If you are requesting use of an MDM vehicle, please give a reasonable estimate of when you will be picking up and dropping off the vehicle on campus (date/time).

1.7  Telephones & FAX

The observatory telephone number is (520) 318-8660 or 8661. Our FAX number is (520) 318-8664. Please use your phone calling card for outgoing calls and FAXes.

To get an outside line press 9. Calls to Tucson are local. You are responsible for payment of all long-distance calls. Please use a credit card or calling card wherever possible.

To dial the Kitt Peak operator press 0. To dial a downtown NOAO number press 8 then the extension or 8 and 0 for operator assistance.

1.8  Publications Resulting from Observations Made at MDM

We hope you have a pleasant and productive stay at the MDM Observatory. We request that any paper you publish as a result of your stay bears the credit "Data were obtained (in part) using the 2.4 m Hiltner Telescope of the MDM Observatory". Please send us a copy of your preprint/reprint so we can display it on our publications board.

1.9  Sending Documents and Parcels to MDM

Packages should be sent to the Shipping Address; this includes letters also. 

Postal Address    and Shipping Address: (UPS, FedEx, etc.) 

       MDM Observatory 

       c/o NOAO (Mailstop MDM)

       950 N. Cherry Avenue 
Telephone: (520) 318-8660         Tucson, AZ 85719 
FAX: (520) 318-8664  

AURA lot location:  Across the street from Alpha Chi Omega at 1775 1st. St.,  Tucson AZ 85719 .

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Updated: 2018Aug30 (Galayda/MDM)