NASA Keck Remote Observing

Special Note for COVID on at-Home ("pajama mode") Observing: Started during the pandemic, for the foreseeable future, Keck will continue support up to two observers for at-home observing: one primary and one secondary observer. Additional observers can join but cannot launch the VNC control system for the instruments. At-home observing requires the installation of software which only runs on linux and macOS operating systems. At-home observers will be contacted by Keck staff and should work with this staff to install and test the software several days ahead of their run to allow time for troubleshooting. More information on observing from home during the pandemic can be found here.

Although first time Keck observers are strongly encouraged to travel to WMKO, due to the pandemic this is not an absolute requirement and first time users may observe remotely via pajama mode.

If a NASA Keck observer does not wish to observe from WMKO Headquarters in Waimea, they have access to three remote observing facilities (ROFs) at Caltech (Pasadena, CA), Yale (New Haven, CT) , and at USRA (Columbia, MD).

NASA Keck observers who wish to use one of these facilities must follow the WMKO Policy on Mainland Observing which is summarized below.

This process to obtains approval for remote observing should be started at least 5 weeks prior to the scheduled observing run. For the Yale ROF, a penalty of $100 may be charged if their timeline is not followed.

    1. Log into the WMKO observer web portal

    2. From your observer login page, you can request mainland observing on the access form in one of two ways:

    • For programs on which you are the PI, your observer home page displays upcoming observing runs. Click the appropriate link to submit a mainland observing request page for that particular run.
    • If you are not the PI, or the run is not listed, use the link "Click here to submit a mainland observing request"

    Complete the form with the requested information and submit. You will receive an email confirmation following submission.

    3. What happens next?

    Your request is reviewed by the WMKO remote observing coordinator. If approved, it is then sent to (1) the support astronomer assigned to the run; (2) the mainland site manager at the observer's requested ROF; and (3) the NASA representative for approval (or denial) by each.

    Once all approvals have been granted, email is sent to the (1) requestor, (2) program PI, (3) support astronomer, (4) mainland site manager, (5) and the NASA representative. Further instructions for each ROF are shown below.

    Please note that other ROFs are also available and NASA users with access to these may use them, however arrangements must be made with those ROFs directly.

    Caltech ROF Logistical Information

    The ROF at Caltech is located in the Cahill building (1216 East California Blvd.) shown on this campus map.

    Caltech parking regulations may be found here. Between the hours of 7 am and 5 pm on weekdays, you must have a Caltech parking permit in order to park in one of the Caltech parking areas or parking structures. Street parking is regulated by the city of Pasadena and overnight parking on the street is not allowed without a permit. Overnight parking is allowed in Parking Structure 3 along California Blvd., just south of the Cahill building and we suggest you park here, using the commuter stalls only. Visitor parkinng permits can be purchased inside the parking structures.

    (last updated May 23rd, 2022 18:58:48)