IUE Remote Observing System

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Session 69 -- Remote Observing
Oral presentation, Tuesday, 10, 1995, 2:00pm - 3:30pm

[69.06] IUE Remote Observing System

A.G. Michalitsianos (NASA-GSFC Lab. for Astron.&Solar Phys.), R.E. Pitts, A. Groebner, R. Arquilla (Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) - IUE Observatory)

As early as 1982 the IUE Project pioneered the concept of remote science operations for Guest Observer (GO) programs. With the development of Internet and modern low-cost workstations, the project replaced the original custom IUE Remote Observing Station equipment with a new flexible, low-cost system suitable for a wide variety of remote sites. The IUE Project now supports 22 sites nationwide, including institutions in Hawaii and Canada. This observing mode allows astronomers to conduct their IUE science program from their home institution at minimal expense in time and travel, greatly reducing the need for the GO to travel to the GSFC Observatory. Together with the inherently high efficiency ($\sim$55\%) achieved in high earth orbit operations with IUE, remote observing provides maximum flexibility for rapidly modifying the science program, which is critical for inserting Targets-of-Opportunity into the science schedule. The system enables the investigator to verify target fields within minutes of receipt of Fine Error Sensor (FES) data on the ground, assess quick-look science images for quality and accuracy in near real time, and make necessary changes to the observing program during the course of the observing shift. The system also allows GOs to access offline support software remotely, which facilitates extensive preshift planning conveniently done at the GO's home institution. With the significant reduction in support for Mission Operations and Data Analysis, the remote observing enables IUE to continue supporting a large population of scientists and educators nationwide while significantly controlling cost for operations.

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