Oral Abstract

Lightning talk (L13) Pablo Gutiérrez-Marqués (Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research)

Theme: Telescope operations and scheduling: from classical to autonomous

(P8.17) Operability vs optimization in automated telescopes. Lessons learnt from robotic space exploration.

It is a frequent temptation in the scientific world to plan for highly optimized observations that would provide the theoretical best possible data quality, potentially driving the instruments beyond their technical capabilities or overseeing unavoidable operational constraints. However, this carries the burden of having to carefully plan each observation individually, plus the need to re-plan the observation if the conditions change. This case, which also applies to ground-based telescopes, is particularly salient in space-borne instruments, where the available resources are particularly limited and observation conditions hard to predict.
A second problem of over-optimized observations is the assimilation of data acquired with wildly different settings, which strongly increases the dependency on the accuracy of the calibration, in particular on an accurate determination of the observation conditions.
Based on the lessons learnt during the operation of the Dawn Framing Cameras in the asteroid belt and the Rosetta Osiris Telescopes around comet 67/P Churyumov-Gerashimenko, we present a set of guidelines for finding a balance between operability and optimality of the observations, and a few scenarios where a seemingly suboptimal set of observations proved to be better as a set than the optimal ones.