LGS Target Lists

Preparing LGS target lists for US Space Command and processing the results involves many steps.
  1. A few weeks before an LLAMAS run, email the observer a notice about the LGS target list. Sample email is below:
    Dear Mark Ammons,
    You are scheduled for LLAMAS nights on Aug 19-23.  Please submit your LGS 
    target list to by August 14th so we can process it 
    and send it to US Space Command for clearance.
    Contact me if you have any questions about what should be included
    in the target list or other LLAMAS target list clearance issues.
  2. The observer should email a target list in the following format. (Note: Keck format target lists are also accepted, but that format is not discussed here). The TargetName should have no spaces and the RA and Dec may be space or colon separated. Any target that does not include the lgs=1 key will not be cleared. Note that only one of the guide star-science target pair needs to be cleared (typically in Keck style lists only the science target is cleared and the TT star(s) are not, Lick lists will often have everything cleared).
    TargetName  RA  Dec  Epoch lgs=1
    for example:
    PKS0736+01 07:36:42.51 01:44:00.24 1950 lgs=1
    M10 16 57 06.0 -04 06 00 2000 lgs=1
  3. We take the observer provided target list and add the following header info. It is ok for most fields to be bogus, e.g. ?? for an unknown phone number or program, but the Date must be the PST date that the lasing will occur. The file can be named anything, but I use the following convention - LGStargetlist_YYYYMonDD.txt, e.g. LGStargetlist_2008Jan19.txt, where YYYYMonDD is the PST date of lasing. You should put the file on shanevnc in /u/user/observers/lgs/targetLists/ (you don't have to do this, but it keeps everything organized for everyone if you do).
    Observer's name:        Gates
    Observer's email:
    Observer's phone:       8-9610
    Program name:   Active Galaxies
    Date for which list applies:  19 August 2023
    Target list:
    There is now a program to help parse target lists and process them on nickelvnc: /usr/local/lick/bin/targetListParse.tcl. This will prompt for the necessary information and allow you to Browse... for the file. You must also specify whether it is a Keck or Lick formatted list.

  4. Space command requires files to be in PRM format. The PRM program is currently on nickelvnc in /usr/local/lick/bin/.
    Syntax: PRM-LLAMAS targetlist

    For example:
    PRM-LLAMAS LGStargetlist_2023Aug19.txt

    PRM-LLAMAS creates three (or more, if more than 400 targets) output files, that will be on nickelvnc in /u/user/observers/lgs/PRM/. These files are

    1. PRM_Lick_LLAMAS_355nm_DDMmmYYYY_For_JDAYddd_AZEL.txt
      where DDMmmYYYY is the UT lasing date, e.g. 20Aug2023, and
      ddd is the julian date of lasing.
    2. PRM_Lick_LLAMAS_355nm_DDMmmYYYY_For_JDAYddd_RADEC.txt
      where DDMmmYYYY is the UT lasing date, e.g. 20Aug2023, and
      ddd is the julian date of lasing.
    3. YYYYmmmDDUT.txt where YYYYmmmDD is the UT date of lasing, e.g. 2023Aug20UT.txt.

    Note, if the targets are Fixed Field of View (FFOV) positions, there is a different PRM program: PRM_FFOV-LLAMAS. FFOV targetlists need to be manually created and you should refer to an example file in /u/user/observers/lgs/targetLists/FFOV_example_target_list.txt
    Syntax: PRM_FFOV-LLAMAS targetlist

    For example:
    PRM_FFOV-LLAMAS FFOV_targetlist_2023Aug19.txt

  5. Upload the PRM files to
    1. Log in as
    2. Click on Files - Upload
    3. Choose the Lick/PRM/ directory
    4. Select PRM files to upload.
    If necessary due to problems, email the PRM files to space command at and Copy as well on the emails. The target list should be emailed to space command at least four days in advance of the lasing date. (FYI, if you need to phone space command, the number is 805-605-6546)

    Sample Email message:

    Dear LCH,
    Attached are PRM files for Lick Observatory Laser activities for UT
    2023 Aug 20-23 (JDays 232-235).
    Please email clearances to
    If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me.
    Thank you,
    Elinor Gates
  6. On the day of lasing, space command will upload the PAM files to the account on Please download and save these files to nickelvnc in /u/user/observers/lgs/PAM/.

    If you get back more than one PAM RADEC file, you will want to concatenate them into a single file using a command like the following:
    cat PAM-RADEC.txt PAM-RADEC2.txt > PAM2023JDay232.txt
    This creates a single file for the lsmParse program (see below) to process.

  7. There are three processing programs to deal with the laser clearances and create the files for the Laser Shutdown Monitor (lsm). These programs are on nickelvnc in /usr/local/lick/bin/.
    1. lsmParse takes each PAM file and creates the lsm files.
      Syntax: lsmParse PAMfile
      Example: lsmParse PRM_Lick_LLAMAS_355nm_12Jul2023_For_JDAY195_AZEL.txt
      Example: lsmParse PRM_Lick_LLAMAS_355nm_12Jul2023_For_JDAY195_RADEC.txt
      Example: lsmParse PRM_Lick_LLAMAS_355nm_12Jul2023_For_JDAY195_FFOV.txt
    2. lsmCheck.tcl checks to make sure that every requested target was cleared (and lists targets cleared, but not requested).
      Syntax: lsmCheck lsmUTDate
      Example: lsmCheck 2023Jul13UT
    3. lsmNames.tcl takes the lsm files and renames them according to the target names provided by the observer in the LGStargetlist file.
      Syntax: lsmNames lsmUTDate
      Example: lsmNames 2023Jul13UT
    Note: lsm files are on nickelvnc in /u/user/observers/lgs/lsm/ in a date named subdirectory.

  8. At the time of lasing, start the Laser Shutdown Monitor (on nickelvnc, /usr/local/lick/lgs/bin/LSM-LLAMAS.tcl) and make sure the lsm file for the proper target is loaded. LSM.tcl looks at the type of target (AzEl, RADec, or FFOV) and its coordinates, and makes sure the telescope is pointed at the right spot and the tracking state is correct for the mode. If not, lasing will be disabled (via the POCLASER keyword).

  9. If new PAM files are sent after you have processed the previous ones, you must go to /u/user/observers/lgs/lsm/ and into the appropriate date subdirectory and remove all the .lsm files before processing the new PAM laser shutdowns as above.

Last modified: Mon Oct 30 13:51:40 PDT 2023