Modifying Approved AORs
How to request a modification of approved AORs
Modifications are contingent upon approval by the SSC Director, or designee. (How to appeal a decision.)
- Ensure that you are the program Principal Investigator (PI) or Technical Contact (TC) -- only the PI or TC can submit a modification request.
- Write a justification for your change(s). Explain what you want to do, and why, including in particular any changes that break the Spitzer Observing Rules, such as adding constraints. (If you are permitted to add targets and are doing so, also search by position using the archive to see if someone else already has planned an observation of your new object.) Be sure to do this enough in advance of the visibility window opening for your object else your (old) AORs may be scheduled before you can modify them.
- Email a request to the Spitzer Helpdesk including :
- program id (or username) and AOR label for the program/AOR(s) in question
- the explanation and justification of the change(s) as described above
Upon receiving approval:
- Launch Spot and view your approved program (under the "File" menu, choose "View Program").
- Make the approved changes to your AOR(s) using Spot.
- Recalculate your time estimates (From the "tools" menu, choose "Recompute all estimates") and ensure that your total time is still under your time allocation.
- From the "File" menu, choose "Check-In Program" to resubmit your AORs. Note that this information goes to a DIFFERENT database than your previously-approved AORs. So, if you turn right around and "View Program" immediately, your old AORs will still be present. The changed information will propagate to the approved programs database as soon as your changes are verified by Science User Support.
- Send a follow-up email to the helpdesk explaining what you did and why. A copy of the original justification is fine if it all was approved as requested, but often portions of the request will be approved, so a separate mail is extremely useful for tracking changes.
For more information, see the Spitzer Observing Rules Section 4.
Answers to frequently asked questions about this process
Checking out a program and checking in a program are two completely separate tasks. ANYONE can check out a program, but only you (with your password) can check in a program.
Because they are completely separate tasks, you need not check out a program and check it in within a certain time limit. If you already have AORs that you are sure are the right ones you want to submit, you can check them in at any time, providing that your password is activated.
In general, you should check in the same number of AORs (totalling the same time) as you checked out, unless you are truly dropping targets/AORs altogether. However, note that you (obviously) can't modify AORs that are already observed or scheduled.
Note that when you check in a program, this information goes to a DIFFERENT database than your previously-approved AORs. So, if you turn right around and "View Program" immediately, your old AORs will still be present. The changed information will propagate to the approved programs database as soon as your changes are verified by Science User Support.
Spitzer Science operations are predicated on the requirement that all AORs which have been submitted and are available for scheduling (i.e., do not have a "hold" placed on them) are scientifically viable and can be scheduled at any time consistent with any constraints placed on the observation, without any form of modification. It is the responsibility of each Spitzer observer to ensure that this is always the case. If a flawed AOR "slips through" unnoticed, there is no further recourse. If such an AOR fails to produce good science data, the Spitzer Observing Rules direct that it WILL NOT be considered for re-observation.
We schedule approximately 5 weeks out -- see overview of how scheduling works. You can see there that by the time the email messages are sent out to the observers, it is too late in the process to pull an AOR (or insert an AOR) unless the health and safety of the observatory is at risk, or unless you have an already-approved ToO. If you know that you don't (or do) want an AOR scheduled at a particular time for a scientifically justified reason, request a modification WELL before the window opens and, if approved, put a timing constraint on it to avoid (or make) that time.
If you use timing constraints to place an effective hold on observations, you must be vigilant in insuring that the constraint does not expire before the observation is ready to execute, bearing in mind that scheduling begins 5-6 weeks prior to execution.