Responsibilities of Night Assistants and Observers

Rules and Responsibilities

Night Assistants

  • The night assistant is responsible for the safety of the telescope and people inside the building during night time operations
  • The night assistant operates the telescope
  • Night assistants will start at sunset and end at sunrise (or earlier as directed by weather and/or the needs of the astronomer)
  • Daytime observations are not permitted without prior permission from the SSO Director 
  • A decision to open or close the telescope can only be made by the night assistant
  • Night assistants are responsible for ensuring that all telescope and instrument faults are accurately recorded in the fault log
  • Night assistants maintain the observing diary and observing log


Observers: before the run

  • Remove observers must submit requests for remote access three weeks in advance of their run
  • Observers travelling to site must submit their travel and accommodation requests three weeks in advance of their run to guarantee accommodation on the mountain


Observers: during the run

  • Observers are responsible for operating the instrument. They can seek assistance from the night assistant
  • Observers must obey safety instructions from the night assistant
  • Entering the dome during the night requires approval of the night assistant
  • Observers should report to the night assistant when they return from the dome
  • Observers at site must always carry a torch
  • Observers, including remote observers, must inform the night assistant if they plan to leave the AAT control room or the observing consoles in remote control rooms 
  • Observers must check with the night assistant before slewing the telescope
  • Observers that require twilight flats should inform the night assistant beforehand (at least one day’s notice is required)
  • Remote observers must make contact with the afternoon technician at 3pm in winter (4pm in summer time) to organise contact details and to plan work required to take place before observing starts after sunset.


Observers: after the run

  • Observers should submit an observing report at the end of their run