Support Astronomer (SA) On-Call Schedule

  • For urgent assistance(a) (e.g. intervention required, technical failure, permission to open enclosure, etc.) observers should contact the Telescope Technician (TT) via landline(s):

    • (408) 238-0652 (120-inch Readout Room)
    • (408) 238-4267 (Electronics Laboratory)

    Non-urgent matters for the attention of technical staff (including TTs and SAs), should be addressed to:

  • If TT is unresponsive, then telephone the Support Astronomer (SA) on-call corresponding to the initial (E/J/P) in the accompanying calendar(b).
    Note: After midnight (Pacific Time), the SA on-call is associated with the preceding date (on which the night began). Exceptions are winter nights requiring Adaptive Optics support(c).

    • E = Elinor Gates (
      (408) 238-9610 (Office);
      (408) 202-1691 (Work Cell).
    • J = Jon Rees (
      (408) 238-0759 (Office);
      (408) 438-5190 (Work Cell).
    • P = Paul Lynam (
      (408) 238-0647 (Office)(j);
      Off-mountain/Cell: Disabled 2023-10-31.

    Non-urgent matters for the attention of SAs should be addressed to:

  • If prompted, always leave a voice message, specifying:

    1. Telescope (e.g. Shane/Nickel).
    2. Brief description of issue/support required.
    3. Name (e.g. of lead observer).
    4. Contact information (e.g. telephone number of lead observer).

    Commonly, staff are alerted by incoming telephone calls, but indisposed(d), (e), (f), before automatic re-direction to voice messaging(g).

  • A response should be forthcoming within a few minutes. The response may take the form of:

    • A staff member joining the Zoom video-conferencing session(h).
    • An intervention within the (VNC) observing environment.
    • A telephone call.
    • An e-mail.
  • Persist: If no response is received within a few minutes, then:

  • Other contacts to try, in extremis:

    1-meter Nickel Telescope (408) 238-4274
    3-meter Shane Telescope (Operator) (408) 238-0652
    3-meter Shane Telescope (Observer) (408) 238-0651
    CAT (408) 238-0653
    36 inch Refractor (408) 238-0656
    APF/Astrograph (408) 238-4270
    Crossley Telescope (408) 238-4269
    Dome Mechanic (Dan Espinosa) (408) 238-9613
    Superint./Head Telescope Ops (Kostas Chloros)     (408) 238-9613


(a) Targets of Opportunity (ToO) are subject to a dedicated procedure.
(b) Occasionally, more-than-one SA is on-call on a given date, to accommodate multiple support requests, public events, etc.
(c) Adaptive Optics commitments (at Shane Telescope) are denoted by LGS (Laser Guide Star) and NGS (Natural Guide Star). If a time interval is specified, it indicates the SA is on-call only for that interval (typically split at, or around, midnight). Commitments to public events are denoted by MOS (Music of the Spheres), EWS (Evening with the Stars) & Tour.
(d) Due to the distributed nature of the Mount Hamilton facilities, staff may not always be immediately available.
(e) Staff may be sleeping.
(f) Mobile/wireless coverage around the summit of Mount Hamilton and on Mount Hamilton Road is limited, which may compromise or disable communications.
(g) The standard for University landlines is to re-direct to voice messaging after ∼3 rings.
(h) Observers are assumed to have knowledge of the relevant Zoom video-conferencing sessions and passcodes in advance.
(i) Frequently, SAs may be physically present at the summit, even if not on-call.
(j) Due to high volumes of unsolicited calls disturbing the sleep of night shift workers, this landline is automatically disabled at sunrise and re-enabled several hours later.
If calendar is not embedded, try the following direct URL: SA On-Call Calendar