Spitzer Documentation & Tools



A perl script that analyzes IRAC staring mode AORs with PCRS peakup and produces a summary table that may be helpful in following best practices for precision photometry.

Download and Installation

  1. Download check_peakup_aors.pl.
  2. Put it somewhere in your path.
  3. Change the first line of the code so it points to the location of perl in your filesystem (type "which perl" at the command line -- this is currently set at /usr/bin/perl)
  4. Make the code executable "chmod a+x check_peakup_aors.pl"

Program Syntax

prompt> check_peakup_aors.pl [aor file(s)]

If no argument is given, the script will read all AOR files in the current directory.Please make sure that you have updated all the time estimates for all the AORs that you are checking with "Tools->Recompute All Estimates..." in Spot (and then saved the resulting AOR file) before running this script.

Type "check_peakup_aors.pl [aor file(s)]" for screen output

Type "check_peakup_aors.pl [aor file(s)] > [output file]" for file output


The output is best viewed with a wide screen. It is a table of most of the salient info for each of the AORs, organized per chain constraint. It also lists the following extra facts in the "Notes" section:

  • Whether or not the cluster offsets are correct for the given channel and readout mode.
  • When the first timing window opens (if any).
  • It raises a flag if any of the of the following is true:
    • PCRS peakup is not used.
    • Target is not specified as a cluster.
    • Cluster offsets are not in array coords.
    • Cluster mode is not set to observe offsets only ("OO" in output table).
    • More than one array or data collection channel is specified.
    • The main or PU target coordinates are given with a proper motion and the Epoch is the default (2000.0).
    • (this may be correct, but you are informed just in case)
    • The Peakup V magnitude is outside the acceptable range (7 to 12.1).
    • The 1st timing window is less than 5 weeks away (i.e., it is unschedulable under normal circumstances).

In addition to the items listed above, you should examine the output to ensure the following:

  • The first AOR in a chain is 1/2 hr long, at the same target and channel as the subsequent AOR in the chain.
  • All AORs in a chain have the same target position and proper motion, and their peakup target coordinates are the same.
  • All AORs with the same Peak-Up target have the same Peak-Up V Magnitude.
  • All AORs in a chain have the same readout modes and frametimes, per channel.
  • If you have specified a proper motion for your main or Peak-Up target, the given position should be consistent with the given Epoch (i.e., the current equinox J2000 position of the target may be derived from the given position by multiplying the proper motion by the time between the given Epoch and the current epoch).

Last modified: 2015 Feb 19