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SIENews

The newsletter of the SIE de Investigación y Enseñanza N. 46 - May/June 2013

New SIE Twitter account: follow us!

Being unable to resist the temptation to have a presence in the "social networks", we have created a Twitter account, which we shall use primarily to publish quick, short news on a variety of topics such as software installations and updates, Web development, talk announcements, supercomputing, etc. Using Twitter is a much faster and efficient way to spread this kind of information, which reaches immediately all our "followers". An added benefit is the Twitter widget which can be easily embedded in an existing website, as you can see in our SIE website. Twitter will thus complement our bimonthly newsletter. Either if you are a fan of the SIE, or despise us but still want to keep updated on what we do, follow us at https://twitter.com/SIEie_IAC!

News IACVO: IAC80 archive now available on the VO

The Virtual Observatory (VO) is an initiative of the astronomical community aimed at making astronomical archives from different sources accessible to anyone using common protocols and formats. An astronomer may use the VO to work with data distributed in different servers on the Internet, using VO-aware or specific tools. Very recently, together with the Support Astronomers Group (GAS), we made part of the heritage data of the IAC80 Telescope available in the VO. This dataset includes more than 38000 reduced images from the years 2009 and 2010, which you can see using any VO data discovery tool, for instance Aladin. This is just the first release, and the GAS aims to add further data very soon. Do you have some good quality reduced images, spectra or catalog and want to publish them on the VO? If so, please get in touch with us to work on it together.

"Orden de desplazamiento" now editable in Linux

The "Orden de desplazamiento" PDF form has been recently revised (many thanks Federico!) and has two main advantages over the previous version: 1) It can be edited in Linux and Mac using Acrobat Reader; 2) a partially completed form can be saved, and than edited again to fill in the missing field. Please note that you need to download on a local disk the PDF file first (editing from the browser won't work), and then open it with Acrobat Reader. For instance:
curl http://goya/PAGINA-INTERNA/Viajes/Modelos/SOLICITUD%20ORDEN_DE_DESPLAZAMIENTO_MAR2013.pdf -o Viaje_Paris_Sep2013.pdf
acroread Viaje_Paris_Sep2013.pdf # fill it in with the information you have available, then Save from the Acrobat Reader menu, and Exit.
Some days later: acroread Viaje_Paris_Sep2013.pdf # and complete the form.
Save the modified file, print it, get the required signatures and ... have a nice trip!
P.S. There is no need to print the "Orden de desplazamiento" in color (more expensive), black and white will be just fine!

Online statistics for astronomical observations and diurnal extinction at OT

In collaboration with the Support Astronomers Group, we have updated and improved the presentation of the distribution of nighttime used for astronomical observations, and on the values of diurnal extinction. The OT time distribution page shows how much time has been successfully used for astronomical observations (split between photometric and non-photometric), or lost to bad weather or instrumental problems, for the IAC80 and for the TCS. The graphics tool allows zooming on a specific time interval; a pie-chart summarizing the statistics results is also provided. The collected data start from January 2010. The diurnal extinction page shows the diurnal extinction values measured with the instrument MARK-I. This database is being populated backwards trying to cover the last 2 decades of operation of MARK-I.

How much energy do our computers use?

Reducing electric energy consumption saves money and reduces pollution, and we are looking at ways to achieve that by automatically suspending or hibernating computers when not in use. Unfortunately, issues with the Linux kernel still prevent us from implementing it IAC-wide. In the meantime, we have set out to measure exactly how much energy a desktop PC (and some peripherals as well) use in the various states, from off to full CPU load. It has been more burdensome than expected. First we tried with a simple electric meter (many thanks Ubay), then we used a powerful and expensive device loaned us by the ULL, which, while allowing the measurement of up to 9 devices at the same time and recording the data, was quite complicated to set up, had an especially unfriendly (almost SAP-like) GUI, and had a threshold of about 50 Watts. Finally, we used another device (many thanks Luis Fernando) whose main advantage was its ability to measure down to fractions of a Watt, and whose main disadvantage was the continuous, apparently impossible to disable, ear-piercing beeping while in use. A table summarizing the results of this endeavor (all measurements are Watts) is included below.
System/Status Off Hybernate Suspended Idle Work Peak@boot
Optiplex 7010 / Fedora 17 0.8 0.6 0.1 68 100 103
Optiplex 780 / Fedora 17 0.1     90 145 139
Optiplex 740 / Fedora 18 0.6     67 142 123
Optiplex 740 / Windows XP   1.0 2.2 84 127 118
iMac 21.5'' (Mountain Lion) 0   1.3 98 134 124
Monitor Dell 17''     1.6   26  
Laptop Dell E4200 / Fedora 18 0.6 0.5 0.6 14 20  
Mac Air 13" 0.5     32 38  
External HD 1TB 0.1     1.0 4.7  
Switch DLink 5 ports         2.5  
SIE de Investigación y Enseñanza :: N. 46 - May/June 2013 - Contact: