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FIES SEQUENCER observing guidelines

This page is aimed at making observations with FIES, the high-resolution FIbre-fed Echelle Spectrograph, using the sequencer mode.
General information about FIES can be found here.

Starting the FIES SEQUENCER and STANCAM software

  • On lisa login to verushka as user obs:
    to do this open a terminal window and type 'ssh -X obs@verushka'

  • Once logged into verushka open several terminal windows with the fies-xterms.old script.

  • FIES-BIAS CCD control, terminal window 1:
    type 'startbf'
    If you get the message "Another BIAS is running!" then most probably the stability monitoring job is running which runs every hour and lasts about 4 minutes. Please try to start BIAS again 4 minutes later. Alternatively, run the ~obs/fiesmonitoring/fiesmon.killmain script, and try to start BIAS again.
    Wait until the time is running in the top of the status window.

    This will start 3 windows: The BIAS status window, the DS9 window and the BIAS command window. The last is only used to write status messages. No BIAS commands can be typed in this window.

  • FIES Instrument software, terminal window 2 (FIES OBSSYS window):
        'startobssys fies'
    ...and type in the correct TCS accesscode.

    This will start 3 windows: The FIESTA (FIEs STAtus display), the Talker (a viewer used for viewing the log messages produced by the sequencer system) and the Sequencer Terminal Window. This terminal window is where all commands are given and scripts are executed from.

    In the sequencer window change the working directory to the one assigned to your program, for instance
        'cd ~obs/scripts/35-053'
    as in this directory your FIES observing scripts can be found, created, and executed.

  • FIES obslog, terminal window 3:
    For the observing log type
        'cd /data/fies'
        'obslog-fies FIph23\*.fits '
    with the proper date specification in the FITS file name

  • FIES postprocessing interface, terminal window 4:
    The postprocessing interface will automatically pop up.
    To start the postprocessing interface manually: open a terminal window and use

  • FIEStool data-reduction program, terminal window 5:
    This will automatically pop up. You can iconify the terminal window.
    To start FIEStool manually use the following on lisa or florence
        ssh -X fies-pipe@elena "cd datared; ./"

    Once FIEStool has started up:
    - choose a mode (normally quicklook or advanced)
    - switch on "Autocheck new files"
    - switch on "Autoplot reduced spectra" and define a wavelength region to plot
    - and click "START processing"

  • The remaining 2 terminal windows are to start up StanCam BIAS on the lisa display.
    obs@tessa StanCam BIAS, terminal window 6:
        type 'cd stancam' followed by 'startbs'.
        See also the standard StanCam instructions.

    obs@tessa, terminal window 7:
        type 'cd stancam' and 'ls' to see the StanCam scripts.

    Alternatively you can start the StanCam software on the florence display.

  • For a list of available sequencer commands type 'help' on the command terminal window or see this list.
    See also a list of handy sequencer scripts.

Choosing the science fiber(s)

For the current fiber bundle B the fibers are numbered as follows:
Fiber correspondence table
fiber 1     low-res, R=25000, 2.5 arcsec
fiber 2 empty
fiber 3 med-res, R=45000, 1.3 arcsec
fiber 4 high-res, R=65000, 1.3 arcsec
fiber 5 high-res, R=65000, calibration fiber
Fiber #5 does not run to the telescope but to a dedicated calibration unit. This fiber provides the ThAr light for the simultaneous ThAr mode.

There are 8 mask positions; type 'Cntr-I' in the FIESTA status display to see what position number corresponds to what fibers. Use the command 'mask 1-8' to position the mask. Moving the mask takes a while.

If you want to take calibration spectra, then you have to put the calibration arm in front of the science fiber.
If you want to take on-sky spectra, then you have to put the calibration arm away from the science fiber!! This means putting it in front of another fiber.

There are 8 arm positions; type 'Cntr-I' in the FIESTA status display to see what position number corresponds to what fiber/lamp. Use the command 'arm 1-8' to position the arm.

ARM correspondence table
arm 1fiber 1 , halogen
arm 2fiber 1 , ThAr
arm 3fiber 2 , halogen
arm 4fiber 2 , ThAr
arm 5fiber 3 , halogen
arm 6fiber 3 , ThAr
arm 7fiber 4 , halogen
arm 8fiber 4 , ThAr

MASK correspondence table
mask 1fiber 2
mask 2fiber 3
mask 3fiber 4
mask 4none (all closed)
mask 5fiber 1
mask 6fiber 1+2
mask 7fiber 2+3
mask 8fiber 3+4

Target acquisition

Target acquisition with StanCam (CAMprobeSPLIT).
Left: hole 1 (low-res, 200 micron) and hole 2 are open, the calibration arm is at hole 4 (high-res).
Right: hole 3 (med-res) and hole 4 are open, the arm is at hole 1.
The small dark holes are the apertures to the fibers, and are 1.3 arcsec and 2.5 arcsec diameter for the 100 and 200-micron fibers respectively. The goal of target acquisition is to get the star on one of the fiber apertures. The images above were taken with the dome lights on, such that it is possible to see the calibration arm.

A 100x100 pixel StanCam (CAMprobeSPLIT) window around hole 1 (low-res fiber, 2.5 arcsec aperture diameter), with the star 5 arcsec away from the aperture (left) and almost centered on the fiber (right).

Essential info for target acquisition:

Fiber positions for CAMprobeSPLIT
fiberCCD X-posCCD Y-pos
1 low-res 496147
2 empty 479318
3 med-res491489
4 high-res524656
Fiber positions for CAMprobeCCD
fiberCCD X-posCCD Y-pos
1 low-res 4401020
2 empty 410790
3 med-res430580
4 high-res470330

  • Image scale on Stancam with CAMprobeCCD: ~0.18 arcsec/pixel
  • Image scale on Stancam with CAMprobeSPLIT: ~0.24 arcsec/pixel
  • Approximate telescope focus with CAMprobeSPLIT : 23550
  • Approximate guide-tv focus with CAMprobeSPLIT: 550
  • Approximate FOV diameter of holes in fiber mask: 20 arcsec
  • Approximate diameter of hole in mirror of the low-res fiber: 2.5 arcsec
  • Approximate diameter of holes in mirrors of the med- and high-res fibers: 1.3 arcsec

  • Field orientation for 'field-rot = 0' on Stancam with CAMprobeSPLIT:
    Field orientation




  • Directions of star motion when pressing TCS controls for 'field-rot = 0' on Stancam with CAMprobeSPLIT:
    Telescope-offset keys



    < E
    W >



    Guide-probe-offset keys



    < LeftArrow
    RightArrow >



    Acquisition hints:

    1. TCS terminal: foc-pos 23550 (the default focus for FIES)
    2. TCS terminal: ccd-filter 2 (put in blue STANCAM filter or else 3, 4, or 8)
      Note that you have to use a clear or BVR filter, or else the fiber entrance will not be in focus on StanCam.
    3. TCS terminal: field-rot 0
    4. slew the telescope to target, and start guiding
    5. set the TCS cursor key-mode to guide-probe using the 'KeyPad 5' key

    6. setup the mask and arm for fiber number N.
      FIES sequencer window: setup-fibN-star where N is 1-4

    7. TCS terminal: cam-probe-ccd (to go to STANCAM imaging mode)
    8. take a full frame image with Stancam with CAMprobeCCD (e.g. binned by 2). The image will be a bit out of focus, but that does not matter.
      STANCAM BIAS: resetxy
      STANCAM BIAS: bin 2
      STANCAM BIAS: exp 0.1 (or longer for faint stars)
    9. move the star close to the projected X,Y coords of the fiber of choice (see top of this page), using the fiboffset routine in imexam:
      STANCAM BIAS: imexam
      click on the star and type 'y' in the DS9 window, and follow the instructions. After the telescope moved, press 'q' in the DS9 window to stop imexam.

    10. TCS terminal: cam-probe-split (to go to fiber viewing mode)
    11. take a (windowed) image with Stancam with CAMprobeSPLIT.
      STANCAM BIAS: run where N is 1-4
      STANCAM BIAS: exp 0.1 (or longer for faint stars)
    12. mark the fibers
      STANCAM BIAS: !./markfibs
    13. move the star closer to the fiber
      STANCAM BIAS: imexam
      click on the star and type 'y' in the DS9 window, and follow the instructions. After the telescope moved, press 'q' in the DS9 window to stop imexam.

    14. If required, check the telescope focus by offsetting in steps of 50 tel-focus units. This needs to be done only a couple of times during the night. (See detailed instructions further down this page.)

    15. TCS terminal: p-s-s 0.5 0.5 to make the guide-probe keys step 0.5 arcsec
    16. switch on STANCAM 'movie mode'
      STANCAM BIAS: run where N is 1-4
    17. and use the guide-probe offset keys to move the star onto the dark spot (= fiber)

    Note that once the telescope-pointing offset is known, it is easy to bring the target star close to the fiber head by moving the guide star to the guide box with the TCS offset keys in telescope mode. The guide box should be positioned in the center of the field.
    Then one can continue starting at step 10, or possibly even at step 15. Steps 10-17 take only a couple of minutes or so. If you have to start at step 1 then the whole process can take about 10 minutes (excluding the focussing of the telescope!).


    The above list of acquisition hints mentions to focus the telescope. For FIES the telescope should be focussed while in fiber-viewing mode (cam-probe-split). The default telescope focus for FIES is 23550.

    Focusing instructions:

      First move a star of V~13 mag close to the fiber dark spot.
      One can use a standard focus star from the blankstmp TCS catalogue.

    • Preset to the focus star and start guiding
    • Go through steps 1 - 12 of the above acquisition hints, to bring the star close to the fiber, but not on the fiber.
      Use teloffset x y to re-position the star if required.

      Then do a focus sequence:

    • STANCAM BIAS: run   (where N stands for 1, 2, 3, or 4)

    1. TCS terminal: foc-pos 23400
    2. STANCAM BIAS: exp 10
    3. STANCAM BIAS: imexam
      click on the star and type 'a' in the DS9 window, note down the FWHM (= seeing), and press 'q' in the DS9 window to quit imexam.
    • Make a sequence of 5 such FWHM determinations, by repeating the above steps 1-3 while increasing the telescope focus in step 1 by 50 units every time.
    • set the final focus based on the best FWHM result obtained from the above sequence, for example
      TCS terminal: foc-pos 23550

    Making target and calibration exposures: short guidelines

    When you have the target on the fiber, and have autoguiding switched on, you can either expose on the target or take calibration frames. All this is done on the lisa screens, where you are logged in to verushka (see top of this page).

    How to make exposures on-target (in FIES Sequencer window):

    This is an example of a frame (only the central part is shown) obtained in simultaneous ThAr mode.

    Calibrating the science fibers:

    • Move the calibration arm infront of the fiber, using the 'arm' command. There are 8 arm positions; press 'Ctrl-P' in the FIES Status Display to see what position number corresponds to what fiber/lamp. Use the command 'arm 1-8' to position the arm.

    • Use the 'lamp' command to switch on a lamp: 'lamp 6 on' for the halogen flatfield lamp, 'lamp 7 on' for the ThAr wavelength calibration lamp.

    • In FIES BIAS set the object name (and maybe the image type with the 'imtype' command) and take an exposure. Check for overexposure (for example by using 'quickexam' in FIES postprocessing).

    • Change back to on-sky observing: Switch off all lamps with the command 'lamp 6 off', 'lamp 7 off', and to move the calibation arm away from the science fiber with 'arm 1-8'.

    • A table of typical exposure times for the calibration frames can be found here.
    Simultaneous ThAr mode:
    • Select the ThAr lamp: 'calmove 4', 'lamp 4 on'
    • To allow light into fiber #5 type 'calshutter 5', for 5 deciseconds of ThAr light. This needs to be done repeatedly at fixed intervals during the science exposure.
    • Switch the lamp off when it is not needed: 'lamp 4 off'

    • For this mode there is a special sequencer script to automatically allow some ThAr light into fiber #5 during an exposure, at fixed intervals.

    • Required calibrations: to trace the ThAr spectrum you need a separate flatfield exposure with fiber #5. Select the halogen lamp: 'calmove 1', 'lamp 1 on'. Switch the lamp off after use with 'lamp 1 off'.
    • Required calibrations: to calibrate the wavelength offset between the science fiber #3 and the calibration fiber #5 you need an exposure with both ThAr lamps switched on. This will give a 'double' ThAr spectrum. Select the lamps: 'calmove 4', 'lamp 4 on', 'lamp 7 on'. Switch the lamps off after use.
    • A table of typical exposure times for the calibration frames can be found here.

    Shutting down

    • Turn off all the lamps, e.g. 'lamp 1 off', etc.

    • Exit the FIES BIAS program with the command 'fies.exit' given in the Sequencer Terminal window.

    • Shut down all the other programs with the command 'shutdownobssys fies' given in the Sequencer Terminal window.

    Problem: If commands to BIAS hangs

    If the sequencer commands to the BIAS program does not respond and shutting down and starting up as described above does not cure the problem, look for this process (using 'ps aux')

    obs 21121 0.0 0.1 1604 840 pts/2 S Aug22 0:05 /home/software/fies/src.v1/bias_ds9/SOAP-serv/biasservserver

    and kill it (in this example 'kill -9 21121'). Then the BIAS program can be started as described above.

  • Back to top Last modified: 28-Mar-2011