Using the Night Report Tool

By: Steve Allanson (LBTO)
Latest version: v7.10

Please send me your comments/suggestions for future versions.
  • Future plans:
    • Choosable date (to edit old reports if required)
    • Button to populate previous nightreports of a shift to help write up the handover
    • Additional plots to plot on demand: Seeing, Temps, Wind, etc.
      • Environmental plots would be attached to the night report emails.

How to Execute

  • in a terminal (on obs1, or ssh into obs1 as user telescope with X support), type:
    • ./night &
    • -OR- navigate to The Activities Panel > Office > Night Reports
  • the latest version should now be running

Notable Features

Here I will outline the important features of the tool so that the user can get the most out of it.


  • Night report tool v3.8 log tab:

    • Realtime clock/date
    • Realtime LST clock
    • Sunset/Sunrise updated daily
    • L|R Authorized Instruments ( I )
    • L|R Preset Types ( P )
    • This is meant to give a up-to-date status of the current telescope pointing (L|R|B), Parallactic angle, chosen position angles (where applicable), airmass, and Time To Limits (TTL).
      • The TTLs displayed are calculated independently from the TCS. These values can be anywhere from 00:01 to 23:59. They will turn orange with <4h remaining, and red with <1h remaining. Note that during a long slew these may not be accurate as they are based on CURRENT RA/DEC/ROT values.
      • I have used conservative limits of -89.9 and 449.9.
  • BUTTONS (all buttons append a line at the bottom of the text)
    • Undo/Redo/Save: self explanatory.
      • Timestamp self explanatory.
      • Target Pointing produces:
        • hh:mm UT TYPE preset RA hh:mm:ss.s DEC dd:mm:ss.s AZ dd.d EL dd.d
      • PT Model IE/CA produces a sided output (L, R, or Both depending on authorized instruments):
        • hh:mm UT Pointing model change - IE/CA: SX=> ss.s/ss.s; DX => ss.s/ss.s
      • Weather Report produces:
        • hh:mm UT Tam=d.d Tch=d.d Tgl(ref):SX=d.d(d.d),DX=d.d(d.d) Hum=pp.p% Wind=v.v@d.d
      • Seeing produces a sided output (DIMM + GCSL/R/Both values, unless LBCs are used):
        • DIMM Seeing:" @dd.d, GCSL FWHM:" @dd.d, GCSR FWHM:" @dd.d
      • Authorized Instruments produces:
        • Authorized: MODS/NONE
      • Open and Close produce a timestamp and corresponding message.
      • All buttons should be self explanatory. A timestamp and message are produced.
    • fully editable text box. Daily template has SUMMARY and LOG sections.


  • Night report tool v3.5 almanac tab:

  • I removed this from the night log template and placed it in it's own tab. We never edit it anyway so I now append it to the top portion of the night report.


From the same subroutine that calculates the Time-To-Limits, I have created the ability to plot the AZ/EL/AIR/ROT tracks for a specified amount of time into the future.
  • For now, you can't run plots while the sun is up (my handwaving way to bypass the inability of the plotting module to use time as an axis, and so this forces the UT time to not cross 24hrs)
    • Similarly, you can only plot tracks until sunrise.
  • Use the Autoscale? feature to scale the y-axis around the track. If unchecked, the y-axis reverts to the available range of motion.
  • For now, these make no attempt to stop-plotting, or indicate that a limit is reached (See TTL values on LOG tab).
    • As such, airmass blows up at horizon
  • The plotting module doesn't seem to have the ability to invert an axis, so I have made airmass negative. Assume it's positive.
  • The script knows when a rotator(s) is being used. When there are 2, the blue track is left and the red track is right.
  • You can zoom into an area of the plot by click-dragging around the region of interest.
    • hovering your mouse over a point will tell you give you an info bubble with the x/y values.
    • click the plot to zoom back out.

  • See below for example plots:

  • Night report tool v4.1 plots tab, azimuth:

  • Night report tool v4.1 plots tab, elevation:

  • Night report tool v4.1 plots tab, airmass:

  • Night report tool v4.0 plots tab, rotator:


  • Night report tool v6.8 downtime tab:

    • These 4 levels replicate Issuetrak types and subtypes. Choose the appropriate description of the downtime.
      • NOTE that I have added the follow LV-1 types:
        • Weather, Commissioning, Human Cause, Reconfiguration
    • Start and End times are required for the given problem. Note the format: hh:mm
    • Night? checkboxes allow you to indicate the problem began from the start or to the end of the night. These values correspond to 12degree twilight. (See below for how downtime is handled/calculated). This would be useful for a weathered-out night, for example.
    • include a comment to go along with the reported downtime
    • Clear Params clears all the issue types, and times.
    • Clear Log will clear the downtime log. NOTE that an ARE YOU SURE? popup screen results, to verify that all recorded entries will be lost.
      • Night report tool v2.8 clear downtime-log pop-up:
    • Undo / Redo are self-explanatory (required to make changes, because the log is read-only)
      • NOTE that I've been able to 'break' this somewhat with fast repeated undos or redos... so, don't do that. 'Break' means odd spaces which screw up the downtime calculations, and loss of undo history. If this happens, clear the log and start cleanly
    • Record records the set of parameters into a formatted string and saves in the downtime log.
      • NOTE that the following is required to successfully record an entry:
        • Start/End times, Start > End.
        • At least lv-1 of issue type chosen.
    • This is a real-time calculation of total series/parallel downtime, and our on-sky efficiency. See below for how downtime is handled/calculated.
    • Refresh is unlikely to be used ever. The only time you may want to use it is when an open/close time is reported and you want to see how it affected the calc.


    • Each instance of an issue must be recorded, even if they overlap, and even if they happened before/after sunset.
      • Downtime prior to sunset may delay our opening and thus should be included (see below).
        • Outside of 12deg, only record events that directly affect your normal setup. Minor issues in handover can be included in the report summary instead.
    • Choose a level (LV-1) and optional sublevels (LV2-4) corresponding to the downtime type.
    • insert a start and end time for the downtime.
      • If the problem starts at the start and/or end of the night (for instance, weather) then click the appropriate Night? checkbox which populates the 12degree twilight time into the box.
    • add a comment about the downtime in the comments box.
    • click Record to save the entry into the downtime log.

    • Total downtime is calculated in series and in parallel.
      • Parallel does not double-count overlapping entries, and simply represents the amount of time not available to observing.
      • Parallel is what we wish to count against total available time during the night, but series is important because it outlines the total amount of problems during the night.
    • The most important thing to note is that the night is considered to start and end at 12degree twilights. This is how Marco Pedani calculated it, and I believe it is pretty close to the truth of when we'd be on sky collecting data.
    • Any downtime (or component of a recorded downtime) that exists before or after the definition of night is not calculated towards total downtime.
      • So I consider any time here to be free time, the clock starts at 12 degree. We cannot have greater than 100% efficiency.
    • If we open/close after/before 12 degree twilight, This is also counted towards total downtime, but in a slightly different way.
      • If we open sometime after 12 degree, but also have an entry of downtime during the same time (presumably a reason for opening late) then this type of downtime is not included in the series total downtime (no reason to double-count a problem here).
      • This is important because if for example we have a 1 hour problem prior to sunset, this may delay our opening past 12deg. The cause may not occur during the night, but the effect is recorded.
    • On-Sky Efficiency = (100 - Total_Parallel / Length of night) x 100%.

    • Here is a sample list of times, and an explanation of how things are calculated:
      • 12deg evening: 02:00
      • open time: 03:00
      • problem 1: 01:30 to 02:30
      • problem 2: 02:15 to 02:45

        • problem 1 has 30 minutes past 12deg -> Tser = 30, Tpar = 30
        • problem 2 starts after 12deg, starts within problem 1, overlaps 15mins with problem 1, and has a further 15 minutes after. -> Tser = 60, Tpar = 45
        • open time is 15minutes after the end of the last problem (we account for only this 15 and not the full 60 in the series calculation, as we'd be double counting the effect of a problem). -> Tser = 75, Tpar=60.


  • Night report tool v6.8 submit tab:

    • OSA, ISA, ISp, Telescope, Software, and AO fields are available with predefined lists.
      • NOTE that the OSA and Instruments fields are readonly. all other fields can be edited.
    • check boxes for partner names, choose all that apply.
    • a text box is available to add names of the observers.
    • Handover, Open, and Closed fields.
      • Open/Close times must be in the format hh:mm upon submit (for statistics).
      • NOTE if you don't open at all, leave the open/close fields blank, the script will understand.
    • Choose the instruments used at the start and end of the night on either side.
    • Choose the open/close condition for each part of the night, and indicate the seeing.
    • These dropdown entries record the availability of the AdSecs, LUCIs, MODSs, LBCs, PEPSIs, and LBTI cameras (LMIRCam & NOMIC)
      • NOTE: AdSec availability trickles down as follows: If the adsec is down, then it is labelled unavailable and the downstream instruments are labelled idle (see below).
    • There are 8 possible states to choose from. The intent is to define if the instruments were available 'as advertised' during the night
      • available = status matching what is advertised here: (or whichever semester we're in when you're reading this in the future)
      • unavailable = unable to be used at all due to a problem with the instrument
      • idle = unable to be used due to an external problem. The instrument itself is otherwise in a usable state.
      • partial = available for part of the night (in any capacity), but was taken out of service at some point during the night (reason described in report)
      • limited-use = available for use, but at a lesser capacity than advertised in the link above (for example: LUCI MOS problem, now only available for imaging)
      • shared-risk = Available as advertised, but has recently been repaired, or experienced problems (etc) and there is higher risk for downtime (in addition to what has been advertised)
      • N/A = Not-applicable
        • This should be used when the night is dedicated to a PI instrument or vice versa. If for example it's an LBTI night, LUCI, MODS, LBCs and PEPSIs are not-applicable and should be reported as such. Conversely, on a classical partner science night, PEPSI & LBTI would be not-applicable (Same with an ARGOS night). Of course, special cases may arise (split night?) and you should use your best judgement.
      • blank = availability is unknown (avoid this if you can)
    • Clear will clear all fields in the submit tab
    • Submit will pop up a verification window, described below:
      • Night report tool v3.5 verify screen:
      • This is a readonly textbox which displays the final report.
      • Read it over and make sure you are satisfied.
      • Click Submit to email the report to nightreports at lbto dot org.
      • Click Cancel to go back and make changes.


This is used to report the telescope status to telescopework. This should be done when opening, or closing for a reason other than sunrise.

  • Choose a status type: OPEN, CLOSED, IDLE, CALIBRATIONS
  • Select your name from the drop down menu (a reply-to in the email)
  • Enter a description of the current status in the text botx
  • Clear button will clear all entries on this tab
  • Submit button will prompt you to verify
    • Clicking Submit again will send a standardized email to telescopework


  • This handover tab is a simple way to keep track of notable events during the week. The log is saved until cleared by the next OSA.
    • A hardcoded list of recipients is included in the CC: field. If we need to add someone, let me know.
  • You are not required to use this form to submit your handover report, but if you choose not to, please let me know why so I can make improvements.

  • Night report tool v3.6 handover tab:

      • Use calendar drop down menus to denote shift start and end times
    • FROM/TO
      • Use drop-down menu to identify who you are and who you're sending the report to.
    • NOTE that these 4 fields must be filled in order to submit a report
    • LOG
      • This is a fully editably text box. Write what you want, as if it were the body of an email.
    • Clear clears the handover log and fields. A verification pop-up is displayed:
      • Night report tool v3.6 clear handover pop-up:
    • Save saves the handover log. Note that this log will be perpetually displayed until cleared.
    • Submit verifies the 4 fields are filled, then populates a verification screen before submitting the handover:
      • Night report tool v3.6 verify handover screen:
      • Verify the handover is to your satisfaction, then click submit. Otherwise, Cancel.


    • CTRL+S - Save (night report log)
    • CTRL+Z - Undo (night report log)
    • CTRL+T - append timestamp (night report log)
    • CTRL+C - Copy, as usual
    • CTRL+X - Cut, as usual
    • CTRL+V - Paste, as usual

    • The night log textbox is FULLY editable.
      • All buttons follow a sequence of: save, append a line to the end of the textbox, save. Thus, your intermediate notes will never be lost.
    • The undo/redo history should be unlimited while the program is running.
    • The logs are saved in obs1:/home/telescope/sallanson/nightreport/OSArecords/Logs/ in the event you need to access them.
    • The downtime logs are saved in obs1:/home/telescope/sallanson/nightreport/OSArecords/Downtime/ in the event you need to access them.
    • The final reports (once submitted) are saved in obs1:/home/telescope/sallanson/nightreport/OSArecords/Reports/
      • The files are saved by date.
      • After noon MST (upon the next Save), the script will populate a new template log in the textbox. Hit Save when you get to the TO station the following day, or simply restart the program.
    • The final handover reports (once submitted) are saved in obs1:/home/telescope/sallanson/nightreport/OSArecords/Handover/

    • ?


  • I've seen the sendmail get hungup on obs1 sending to nightreports. While I consider this an isolated incident, The report is not lost.
    • once you click Submit, the report is saved verbatim to file. Open it up in your favorite text editor and copy/paste it into gmail:
      • cd /home/telescope/sallanson/nightreport/OSArecords/Reports/
      • gedit 20111010.txt & (choose your dated file)
  • Note that I have left v2.14 and v2.10 in place in the event that problems occur.

-- SteveAllanson - 03 Mar 2012
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
nightv2.8verify.pngpng nightv2.8verify.png manage 15 K 11 Oct 2011 - 07:21 SteveAllanson Night report tool v2.8 verify screen
nightv3.4log.pngpng nightv3.4log.png manage 33 K 09 Dec 2011 - 07:29 SteveAllanson Night report tool v3.4 log tab
nightv3.5alm.pngpng nightv3.5alm.png manage 32 K 11 Dec 2011 - 09:49 SteveAllanson Night report tool v3.5 almanac tab
nightv3.5clear.pngpng nightv3.5clear.png manage 2 K 11 Dec 2011 - 09:48 SteveAllanson Night report tool v3.5 clear downtime-log pop-up
nightv3.5down.pngpng nightv3.5down.png manage 35 K 11 Dec 2011 - 09:49 SteveAllanson Night report tool v3.5 downtime tab
nightv3.5hand.pngpng nightv3.5hand.png manage 25 K 11 Dec 2011 - 09:46 SteveAllanson Night report tool v3.5 handover tab
nightv3.5submit.pngpng nightv3.5submit.png manage 34 K 11 Dec 2011 - 09:47 SteveAllanson Night report tool v3.5 submit tab
nightv3.5verify.pngpng nightv3.5verify.png manage 15 K 11 Dec 2011 - 09:46 SteveAllanson Night report tool v3.5 verify screen
nightv3.6hand.pngpng nightv3.6hand.png manage 23 K 12 Dec 2011 - 10:48 SteveAllanson Night report tool v3.6 handover tab
nightv3.6handclear.pngpng nightv3.6handclear.png manage 2 K 12 Dec 2011 - 10:49 SteveAllanson Night report tool v3.6 clear handover pop-up
nightv3.6handverify.pngpng nightv3.6handverify.png manage 18 K 12 Dec 2011 - 10:49 SteveAllanson Night report tool v3.6 verify handover screen
nightv3.8log.pngpng nightv3.8log.png manage 33 K 28 Dec 2011 - 04:38 SteveAllanson Night report tool v3.8 log tab
nightv4.0plotROT.pngpng nightv4.0plotROT.png manage 25 K 03 Mar 2012 - 04:50 SteveAllanson Night report tool v4.0 plots tab, rotator
nightv4.1plotAIR.pngpng nightv4.1plotAIR.png manage 33 K 05 Mar 2012 - 07:54 SteveAllanson Night report tool v4.1 plots tab, airmass
nightv4.1plotAZ.pngpng nightv4.1plotAZ.png manage 33 K 05 Mar 2012 - 07:54 SteveAllanson Night report tool v4.1 plots tab, azimuth
nightv4.1plotEL.pngpng nightv4.1plotEL.png manage 33 K 05 Mar 2012 - 07:54 SteveAllanson Night report tool v4.1 plots tab, elevation
nightv4.1plotROT.pngpng nightv4.1plotROT.png manage 33 K 05 Mar 2012 - 07:53 SteveAllanson Night report tool v4.1 plots tab, rotator
Topic revision: r42 - 24 May 2022, SteveAllanson
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