DIRECT submissions

These special requests can be submitted into the Observation Portal to represent an observation that must take place at a fixed time and location, separate from the scheduler’s scheduled observations. For these requests, the observation_type is DIRECT, denoting that they are a direct submission and excluding them from scheduling runs.

When to use

Direct submissions can be used to schedule calibration frames that happen before or after the schedulable night bounds (daytime calibrations), or to schedule during a night during a period of downtime when the scheduler is not scheduling. It is possible, but not recommended to mix DIRECT submissions during a night with scheduled observations (those submitted by an automated scheduler). For night-time calibrations such as auto-focus runs or standards, it will work best to utilize the automated scheduler in order to schedule them alongside the science requests, rather then submitting them directly.

Note that Direct submission observations circumvent much of the normal validation of the request, so it is possible to submit observations which will be impossible to complete. Make sure the values you are submitting can be interpreted by your Telescope Control System (TCS).

How to submit

Direct submissions are essentially requests with added location, instrument, and date/time information specified - they will look exactly the same as scheduler scheduled observations, except the request’s observation_type field will be DIRECT. The configurations must also have the specific instrument_name and guide_camera_name fields set, which are the instrument codes in ConfigDB from the instrument you are targeting. A direct submitted observation’s request does not need the window or location blocks set, since this information is already present at the top level. There is no way in the supplied UI to submit direct observations, so it must be done via the API from your calibration scripts. Directly submitted observations can be created by sending a HTTP POST request to the /api/schedule/ endpoint of the Observation Portal, with a payload of the form:

    "site": "tst",
    "enclosure": "domc",
    "telescope": "2m0a",
    "start": "2019-08-24T14:15:22Z",
    "end": "2019-08-24T14:15:22Z",
        "configurations": [{
            "constraints": {
                "max_airmass": 1.6,
                "min_lunar_distance": 0
            "instrument_configs": [{
                "mode": "default",
                "exposure_time": 10,
                "exposure_count": 1,
                "optical_elements": {
                    "filter": "g"
            "guiding_config": {
                "optional": true,
                "mode": "ON"
            "instrument_type": "MyInstrumentType",
            "instrument_name": "fa01",
            "guide_camera_name": "es02",
            "type": "EXPOSE",
            "target": {
                "name": "MyFavoriteTarget",
                "type": "ICRS",
                "ra": 22.2,
                "dec": 33.3
        "observation_note": "This is my favorite observation",
        "optimization_type": "TIME",
        "acceptability_threshold": 100,
        "configuration_repeats": 1,

    "proposal": "MyProposal",
    "priority": 10,
    "name": "My requestgroup name"