Preface: The Herschel Observation Planning Software (HSpot)

Table of Contents

1. Notes about the changes between Versions 4 and 5 of the HSpot Manual
1.1. Changes to previous operations versions of the HSpot Manual
1.2. Changes in this final version 5.2 of the HSpot Manual
2. Purpose of this Document
3. What this Document Does Not Provide
4. How to use this manual
5. Differences between HSpot versions on different platforms
6. A disclaimer
7. Acknowledgements

1. Notes about the changes between Versions 4 and 5 of the HSpot Manual

1.1. Changes to previous operations versions of the HSpot Manual

This version of the HSpot manual and on-line Help has gone through further revisions since the OT1 Call versions. When HSpot reached the Open Time (OT1) Call version (5.0), the extensive updates included detailed post-launch knowledge and updates, particularly in the instrument chapters. Further modifications to observing modes have occurred in the intermediate versions of the 5.* series, some of them extensive and in HSpot 6.0 for the OT2 Call which featured further new, flight-tested, second generation observing modes and extensively updated calibration information, plus a series of fixes, some major, some minor that resolve issues in previous versions of HSpot, particularly related to HIFI, which has had many important and complex changes over the last year.

In the 3.x version of this manual, the information about installation, requirements and supported platforms was completely revised. In the Version 4 there were many changes in the instrument-specific functionality, so the instrument-specific chapters (9-12) were extensively revised by Tony Marston and the Instrument and Calibration Scientist Team to take into account the many new features that were included and the features that have been supressed since the initial Guaranteed Time user release of HSpot. The rest of the manual was revised line-by-line and both the text and the screenshots updated. This reflects both the many tweaks and improvements made at the HSC to fix bugs and increase functionality and the constant updates in the Spot Core made at IPAC. Although HSpot 6.0 was not a major evolution of HSpot with respect to the final GT2 Call version, it included no less than 13 significant and major upgrades with respect to HSpot 5.3.2. Most of these will not be obvious to the majority of users, but several fix important bugs that have been reported, mainly in specialist use of HSpot. Overall, 31 changes have been made to HSpot and Proposal Handling with respect to the final OT1 Phase 2 version (5.2.4).

Most of the changes between HSpot 6.0.1 and the more recent HSpot 6.1.0 release were "behind the scenes" and have had no direct impact on users. However, there were some important changes that affected certain types of observation, in particular HIFI observations in Bands 5b and 6a and PACS observations below 55 microns. In some cases the time estimator now gives significantly different results from the initial OT2 version and many time estimates have changed considerably since the HSpot release version for OT1, or will change significantly if the same sensitivity is required as was obtained with HSpot 6.0.1. As usual, the 6.1.1 version also contained a series of fixes to small bugs that have been identified in HSpot, including some necessary updates to the Spot Core.

The 6.2 version of HSpot was an increment rather than a major new release Apart from a major document update it includes a series of underlying changes related to proposal handling at HSC that the user will not see and is built over the latest version of HCSS (9.0). A side-effect of one of the changes in HCSS 9 was a change in time estimation for some HIFI AORs; this affected a small number of users who were all contacted individually

The 6.3 version of HSpot is, again, an increment rather than a major new release. It includes a further series of important underlying changes related to proposal handling at HSC that the user will not see, but that are vital for efficient use of helium in the final months of the mission. HSpot 6.3 was built over the latest version of HCSS (10.0) available then.

Since the initial v5.0 release of this manual continuous updates have been made, as necessary. Most of these are very small. As we are now in post-Operations HSpot will remain stable and only urgent fixes to maintain functionality will be made, should these be required. The 5.2 version of this manual should be considered now virtually definitive as the End of Operations version. In this latest version for the HSpot 7.0 release one major underlying change has been made with HSpot being built over the HCSS 11 software; this uses Java 1.6, but is designed to be compatible with Java 1.7 - the change should have no impact on users. No other changes have been made apart from the necessary updates in On-line Help and in the labels that appear on pop-ups which indicate this latest version.

1.2. Changes in this final version 5.2 of the HSpot Manual

At the time that the 5.1.4 release of this manual was made, Herschel was still in Operations, small time estimator changes were still being made for a few sub-modes (these were still being made until shortly before End of Helium in an effort to optimise where possible remaining observations to be executed) and some major landmarks were still in the future. While no attempt has been made to purge the text of all references to things that could or will happen in the future (for example, the information on how to submit a proposal ignores the fact that this is, obviously, no longer possible), an attempt has been made to freeze information in time at End of Helium. This is thus our legacy version of the HSpot Manual for our legacy version of HSpot.

A further, very important improvement, is the fixing of a small bug that inhibited the correct functioning of the search facility in the HSpot manual. This was traced to the presence of two additional spaces in two places in the source files.

This search facility can be accessed by going to the Help Overview and clicking on the magnifying glass icon in the top lefthand corner of the screen.