Revised 10 August 2000.

The new schedule file format is used for specifying observing schedules for both the GBI and 85-3 telescopes.

Schedule files, or "obs" files, typically have names with a ".obs" extension, although this is not required.

A list of schedule files to be observed sequentially or at specified dates and times can be specified in a task file, which always must have a name with a ".tsk" extension.

General rules for schedule files.

Files consist of ordinary ASCII text. Data fields are delimited by one or more blanks. Lines may have up to 128 characters. There is no restriction on the number of lines in a file.

Comment lines have one the following characters at the beginning of the line: - * / # $

Keyword lines start with one of the keywords listed below. In most cases the keyword is followed by a value. The remainder of the line is ignored. Keyword values apply to the whole file, and they may appear anywhere in the file.

Source Data lines give coordinates and stop times for the sources to be observed. They are recognized by the first blank-delimited field NOT being any of the recognized KEYWORDS, and not starting with any of the characters: - * / # $

Source Data lines must have at least 5 blank delimited fields: source name, RA, DEC, Stop time, observing procedure; in that order. Additional fields are required by some observing procedures. The default coordinate epoch is J2000.

Simple example for GBI observing.

EPOCH 1950.0
-- source   RA            DEC           STOP   GAIN
2030+407   20:30:37.6    40:47:12.8     21:00  g1111
1909+048   19:09:21.286  04:53:54.1     21:15  g0000
1915+105   19:12:49.97   10:51:26.8     21:30  g0000
2030+407   20:30:37.6    40:47:12.8     21:45  g1111
1915+105   19:12:49.97   10:51:26.8     22:00  g0000
The comment line describing the columns is optional. If the "EPOCH" keyword line is omitted, J2000 is assumed.

Simple example for pulsar observing with telescope 85-3.

-- name       RA(2000)     DEC(2000)   STOP(LST) PROC   RCVR
0950+08      09:50:30.5    08:09:45.1  13:00:00  track
0950+08      09:50:30.5    08:09:45.1  13:30:00  track 327MHz
1937+21      19:37:28.7    21:28:01.4  15:40:00  track
1556-44      15:56:11.0   -44:30:16.9  16:00:00  track
1641-45      16:41:10.3   -45:53:38.7  16:30:00  track                                                                
1929+10      19:29:52.0    10:53:04.0  21:10:00  track
1937+21      19:37:28.7    21:28:01.4  23:10:00  track 327MHz
1937+21      19:37:28.7    21:28:01.4  00:05:00  track
Here, the "PULSAR" keyword is needed so the 610MHz receiver is the default.

Source Data Lines

Source data lines must have at least 5 blank delimited fields:
  1. Source name: up to 12 characters. If the name is a planet name (or Sun or Moon) spelled with initial capital letter, the named planet will be tracked. The RA and DEC fields will be ignored, but they must be present.
  2. Source right ascension (or HA if the hadec procedure is used): HH:MM:SS.SS
  3. Source declination: +/-DD:MM:SS.SS
  4. Stop time or duration: HH:MM:SS or HH:MM or HMMSS (duration). The stop time is assumed to be LST, unless the keyword "TIME UT" appears, in which case the stop time is taken to be UT.
  5. Observing procedure. The observing procedure names that may appear are listed below. The "receiver" or "gain" parameters may appear in this column, with the procedure name following or omitted. In this case, if the procedure name is omitted, the "track" procedure will be used. Some procedures (point, systempN, delaycal) require additional parameters that immediately follow the procedure name.

Observing Procedures These procedure keywords may appear as the 5th or later fields:

The following parameters may appear instead of, or in addition to, any of the procedures listed above:

Schedule file keywords

Lines starting with a keyword or keyword/value pair may appear anywhere in the file. The order does not matter. These keywords will apply to the whole file. Its probably best to put them all at the beginning of the file. If a keyword has a value, that value follows the keyword after one or more blanks, for example:

EPOCH 1950.0



-mode- The mode keyword just appears by itself, with no value. It is one of the following words:

TIME -- The TIME keyword is followed by one of the two values: UT or LST:

Note that the schedule file (at least so far) has no mention of the date. If a schedule file is to run on a particular date, it must be specified in a task file.

EPOCH -- The EPOCH keyword is followed by the catalog epoch, such as 2000.0 or 1950.0

A2D -- The A2D keyword is followed by 6 numbers which are used to set up the data acquisiton system for the GBI running in interferometric mode.

An example of the A2D keyword is:

A2D 100 20 1 2 1 2

Which means: sample rate is 100 Hz, integration period is 20 seconds, gain(SRR/SLL)=1, gain(SRL/SLR)=2, gain(XRR/XLL)=1, gain(XRL/XLR)=2.

Task Files

The task file is a list of schedule files, and optionally start and stop date/times. A task file must have a name ending in ".tsk"

Each line in a task file has three fields -- only the first is required. You can put in comment lines that are ignored. Comment lines start with one of the characters: - * # / $

The fields in a task file are:

If the time (HH:MM:SS) is omitted from the date/time parameter, it will be assumed to be 00:00:00 on the starting date, and 23:59:59 on the ending date.

If the ending date is omitted, it is assumed to be past any other ending dates.

The starting date/time will pre-empt whatever is running.

Any schedules that have no dates will just be run in the order they appear in the list, after the schedules with dates have been completed.

When a task file is completed, and if there are schedules without dates, the non-dated schedules will be repeated.

Example of a task file:

NASA.SKD.C  2000Jun23/18:00:00
NASA.SKD.D  2000Jun24/02:00:00  2000Jun24/20:05:00 
In this case, if the task file is started on June 22nd, it will start with schedule "NASA.SKD.A", then go on the NASA.SKD.B. When 18UT on June 23 comes around, NASA.SKD.C will start. If it is still running at 02UT on June 24, then NASA.SKD.D will interrupt and run until its stop time of 20:05 UT. Then the task file will be repeated starting at the first line, NASA.SKD.A, and going on to NASA.SKD.B. NASA.SKD.C and NASA.SKD.D will not be repeated. last changed this page 10 August 2000.