5.2 The check_expconf command
In order to verify the compatibility of each observation with the previous and the next one
you shall inspect the Experiment Configuration Files. These are ASCII FOT files (of type
eeexconf for instrument ee) which can be printed or viewed easily.
You can get an impression of the changes between one observation
and the next also using a visual difference tool like DEC's dxdiff
However, since the Experiment Configuration Files may contain a plethoric list of commandable
items, which are normally kept at their nominal value, a command is provided which produces a
summary of the relevant parameters, together with a coding of helpful hints.
Relevant parameters are defined by hardware teams, according to these
The summary can be in an ASCII file or in a black&white or colour Postscript file (in current
printdir) or be "plotted" in colour on a
graphics window mantained by an X-window
Provided you have set the appropriate
you can invoke this command as
check_expconf [ outtype filename
Note that if outtype is Graph then filename is not
an output file name but a graphic X-window server instance
of the form xw1, xw2, etc.
All output files are arranged similarly as follows :
- there is a FOT identification heading with e.g. the source and observer's name.
- there are as many columns as overall
observations in the
(this means also slewsare always included).
The observation number is identified in the first row.
- the second row indicates whether the observation is a slew (in or out)
or no. Normally one uses only non-slew observations.
- Two more rows indicate the start and end time of the observation (the day is found in
the FOT heading line)
- A number of rows follow, corresponding to those parameters in the Experiment Configuration
Files (named in the first column) which are deemed relevant. Even if a subset is present,
they occur in the same order as in the file, therefore the typical values to look at are :
- instrument (subunit) HV status (ON|OFF)
- instrument HV value (if relevant)
- other thresholds etc. (if relevant)
- the mode and POP status (typically use only POPSTAT=ENABLE observations)
- Three lines at the bottom indicate the presence of "spacecraft-provided" instrument HK, of
ratemeter HK, and of scientific data (ev. divided by subunit).
A particular coding hilights cases of interest for the observer
- "good" values, i.e. in nominal state
- "bad" values, i.e. slew status, HV off, POP not enabled, data not present.
Usually these observations will not be used for scientific analysis.
- "suspicious" values, e.g. data not present for all subunits.
Usually these observations can be used with some caution.
- "invalid" (i.e. meaningless) values (e.g. HV settings are meaningless if HV is off)
The actual value shall be in the Experiment Configuration File, but is not reported
here as it might be confusing for the observer. The word invalid is reported instead
- "missing" values (the Experiment Configuration File could be missing for so-called
- values which have changed since previous observations. If both observations are good,
some cautionary check must be applied before concatenating.
We provide below example files as HTML hyperlinks
(or also in printed form)
, together with some useful hints on their interpretation
- ASCII files may awkward to print or view if there are many observations, since they are
not paginated, and all observation occur on a single very long row. A single flag character
hilights the following cases:
- none or blank for nominal values
- minus (-) for values changed since previous observation
- asterisk (*) for non-nominal values
- hash (#) for non-nominal AND changed values
- These are in landscape orientation, and are paginated to have 15 or less observations
per page. Hilight on grayscale files is indicated as follows
- black normal font on white background for nominal values
- bold font in reverse on black background for non-nominal values
- white is reversed to gray for values changed since previous observation
- invalid values are dimmed (in gray over white)
- missing values are in bold, italic, white over gray
- suspicious values are in bold, italic, black over gray
- For colour Postscript hilighting occurs as follows
- nominal values are green
- non-nominal values are red and in a bold font
- a yellow background indicates change since previous observation
- invalid values are dimmed (in gray over white)
- missing values are in bold, italic, magenta
- suspicious values are in bold, italic, yellow over gray
- This is useful for quick look (e.g. if no printers available).
As many rows and columns as required are always squeezed in the existing window, therefore
they may appear quite crowded if there are many observations (use a larger window if possible).
Hilighting uses a colour coding.
- green for nominal values
- red for non-nominal values
- changes since previous observation currently not indicated
- blue for invalid values
- magenta for missing values
- yellow for suspicious values