Rules for using the Observatories

version 1.0
14 October 2004

The Acre Road Observatory -- main building

During office hours, the Acre Road Observatory operates as an extension of the Kelvin Building and comes under its rules and regulations. Honours students may use the computer cluster and laboratories at any time, under the supervision of a staff member. First and second year students may only use the Observatory facilities on their designated laboratory afternoons.

University evening classes come under the normal rules and regulations of the University. In addition, the main building may be used for non-university evening events, such as Astronomical Society meetings, on prior arrangement with the Director. For all these events the Observatory Janitor, Technician or a Physics & Astronomy teaching staff member must be present at all times and take responsibility for security and safety. This includes ensuring that the fire exits are free during the building's occupation, that the blinds are closed on leaving the building and and that the alarm is set/reset correctly.

The Acre Road Observatory -- main dome

The main dome (and its contents) at Acre Road can be used by any staff member of the School of Physics and Astronomy who has undergone instruction and has shown their competence to the Director's satisfaction. A list of these people (the 'Staff Observers List') will be maintained by the Observatory Technician. During office hours, and with the main building occupied, these people may use the dome singly.

Physics and Astronomy students using the facility also need to undergo instruction and show themselves to be competent, but may not use the dome singly at any time. A separate list of students able to use the dome will be maintained by the Observatory Technician (the 'Student Observers List'). Undergraduates may only use the dome as part of their course work or as members of AstroSoc.

Trained members of external astronomical societies may use the dome on designated society evenings, with the same restrictions as apply to undergraduate students. The dome may only be used by these groups if the Observatory Janitor or a staff member of Physics and Astronomy are present.

Out of hours use of the dome

The main dome at Acre Road is designed to be accessible out of hours, without having to open the main Observatory building.

For safety, at least two adults (>=18 years) must be present at all times when the dome is used out of hours, one from the observing list, and no more than six people may be present on the top floor of the dome at any one time.

The following procedure must be followed:

  1. Anyone who has not been issued with an observing keyset must get the permission of the Director to use the dome at night and borrow a keyset from either the Astronomy Group Secretary or the Observatory Technician. The keyset must be returned on the following working day.

  2. Anyone who intends to use the dome at night must inform the Observatory Director and Technician in advance, personally or by email and gain consent from at least one of them. The Observatory Technician will switch off the heating in the dome for that night so that the equipment thermalises and check whether the dome is available.

  3. When approaching the Observatory, unlock the padlock on the gate of the security fence, enter the Observatory grounds and relock the gate.

  4. Walk to the dome, unlock the padlock on its external gate, unlock the inner door and enter the dome (this disables the alarm on the door). Pull the external gate shut, but do not padlock it. Bring the padlock inside, shut the internal door and bolt it from the inside. In the unlikely event of trouble, ring
    Garscube Security 5799
    Main Campus Security 4282
    Maryhill Police 0141 532 3700
      (9 532 3700 from an internal phone)
    as appropriate.

  5. Log the names of those present and the time in the Observers' Book and proceed to the top floor with the main lights on.

  6. Secure the top gate, or drop the floor panels, to prevent anyone falling down the stairwell in the dark.

  7. Carry out your observations in accordance with your training. In particular, do not drive the dome unless everyone is aware you are about to do so.

  8. At the end of the session, switch on the main light, park the telescope and re-stow all optics and equipment. Do not switch off the computers. Drive the dome so the slit is to the east before securing it with the bolt.

  9. Write your leaving time in the Observers' Book, together with a brief description of all equipment used and observations performed.

  10. Switch off the lights and leave the site, securing the two doors on the dome (so enabling the alarm) and the padlock on the security gate.

The Cochno Observatory

The Cochno Observatory telescope is presently to be accessed only for maintenance in the daytime.