Overview & Status
In the interest of accelerating the commissioning of LBT itself and of facilitating a prompt start to its scientific investigations, LBTO has prevailed upon the LBC instrument team to adopt an approach to commissioning at variance with the terms and intent of the original contract. The framework of LBT instrument contracts is that LBTO provides a working telescope system and interfaces; the instrument team verifies and characterizes performance during a fixed period of observing runs; they analyze the data and produce their deliverables, at which point the instrument is accepted and is made available to consortium astronomers. The LBC contract was formulated in this fashion.
The actual commissioning has gone differently. The LBC team agreed to make LBC Blue available for commissioning the telescope at the same time as they were integrating and initially commissioning their instrument. In September 2006, LBTO and the LBC team agreed that the telescope was operating sufficiently well that we could start the clock on the contractual allocation of commissioning observing time. A major telescope failure could stop the clock temporarily, but that did not occur. At the same time, to satisfy the intense need of the partner institutions to begin scientific operations, LBTO and the LBC team also agreed to a period of shared-risk Science Demonstration Time (SDT) to begin in January 2007, barring technical difficulties.
This cooperative approach by the LBC team greatly facilitates the prompt start of scientific observing. At the same time, it is directly at variance with the original intent of having the team deliver a fully calibrated and characterized instrument to the partner observers. The team has a large volume of commissioning data that could not be reduced, processed, analyzed and reported on prior to the start of SDT. The resolution of small residual technical issues continued through and beyond the period of commissioning observing. The final, highest quality data for system characterization of limiting performance is likely to be that obtained for calibration, monitoring, and science during SDT itself.
The multi-institutional SDT observing team, as well as the teams with successful proposals for SD time, share the LBC teamÕs interest in seeing the prompt production of a robust and reliable characterization and calibration of LBC. LBTO favors harnessing the talents across the partnership to collaborate with the LBC team in achieving that goal. That wider collaborative approach requires continuing the de facto modification of the literal terms of the instrument contract. LBTO therefore approves, subject to Board consent, the following policy:
The LBC team, through its lead Emanuele Giallongo, retains its responsibility for the deliverables of the LBC contract. With respect to commissioning, the LBTC recognizes that further data are required for final characterization and that they will be obtained during the course of SDT observations. The LBC team will coordinate the reduction and analysis of existing and future LBC commissioning data, but they are encouraged to engage the efforts of interested observers experienced with imaging data reduction from other partner institutions. The expanded "commissioning team" is charged with producing the information necessary for reliable reduction of LBC data, in a truly international partnership. The goal is to complete the task on a rapid (few month) timescale to facilitate early analysis and publication of scientific data from LBT/LBC. The volunteer members of the expanded team will agree to a schedule. They will perform tasks for the commissioning effort that are agreed to by the LBC team, based on their interests and abilities. The benefit of application of a wider talent pool is considered to outweigh the cost of the extra effort of coordination.
LBTC expects that the LBC team will release selected commissioning data and summary of analysis results immediately for the benefit of SDT observing, noting that preliminary results may be updated in subsequent analysis. SDT data and additional commissioning data for LBC Blue obtained in 2007 will be released to the entire consortium on a rapid cadence agreed to by the LBC team, SDT team, and LBTO.