Costs and benefits of automation for astronomical facilities

A. Yanes-Díaz, S. Rueda-Teruel, R. Bello, D. Lozano-Pérez, M. Royo-Navarro, T. Civera, M. Domínguez-Martínez, N. Martínez-Olivar, S. Chueca, C. Iñiguez, A. Marin-Franch, F. Rueda-Teruel, G. López-Alegre, S. Bielsa, J. Muñoz-Maudos, H. Rueda-Asensio, A. Muñoz-Teruel, D. Garcés-Cubel, I. Soriano-Laguía, M. Almarcegui-Gracia, A. J. Cenarro, M. Moles, D. Cristobal-Hornillos, J. Varela, A. Ederoclite, H. Vázquez Ramió, M. C. Díaz-Martín, R. Iglesias-Marzoa, J. Castillo, A. López-Sainz, J. Hernández-Fuertes, D. Muniesa-Gallardo, A. Moreno-Signes, A. Hernán-Caballero, C. López-Sanjuan, A. del Pino, M. Akhlaghi, I. Pintos-Castro, J. Fernández-Ontiveros, F. Hernández-Pérez, S. Pyrzas, R. Infante-Sainz, T. Kuutma, D. Lumbreras-Calle, N. Maícas-Sacristán, J. Lamadrid-Gutierrez, F. López-Martínez, P. Galindo-Guil, E. Lacruz-Calderón, L. Valdivielso-Casas, M. Aguilar-Martín, S. Eskandarlou, A. Domínguez-Fernández, F. Arizo-Borillo, S. Vaquero-Valer, I. Muñoz-Igado, M. Alegre-Sánchez, G. Julián-CaballeroDeEspaña, A. Romero, D. Casinos-Cardo

Submitted on 23 November 2022


The Observatorio Astrof\'isico de Javalambre (OAJ{\dag}1) in Spain is a young astronomical facility, conceived and developed from the beginning as a fully automated observatory with the main goal of optimizing the processes in the scientific and general operation of the Observatory. The OAJ has been particularly conceived for carrying out large sky surveys with two unprecedented telescopes of unusually large fields of view (FoV): the JST/T250, a 2.55m telescope of 3deg field of view, and the JAST/T80, an 83cm telescope of 2deg field of view. The most immediate objective of the two telescopes for the next years is carrying out two unique photometric surveys of several thousands square degrees, J-PAS{\dag}2 and J-PLUS{\dag}3, each of them with a wide range of scientific applications, like e.g. large structure cosmology and Dark Energy, galaxy evolution, supernovae, Milky Way structure, exoplanets, among many others. To do that, JST and JAST are equipped with panoramic cameras under development within the J-PAS collaboration, JPCam and T80Cam respectively, which make use of large format (~ 10k x 10k) CCDs covering the entire focal plane. This paper describes in detail, from operations point of view, a comparison between the detailed cost of the global automation of the Observatory and the standard automation cost for astronomical facilities, in reference to the total investment and highlighting all benefits obtained from this approach and difficulties encountered. The paper also describes the engineering development of the overall facilities and infrastructures for the fully automated observatory and a global overview of current status, pinpointing lessons learned in order to boost observatory operations performance, achieving scientific targets, maintaining quality requirements, but also minimizing operation cost and human resources.


Comment: Global Observatory Control System GOCS

Subject: Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics