Useful information for observations

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List of Astronomical Targets for NIKA2 (from NIKA2R1.sou)

last edited by PG 21-MAR-2017 (Previous editing by XD, LP, CK)

Here is the full detailed formatted list Full list with some fluxes. Rename it to NIKA2R5.sou to use it in Pako.

For Run6 onward, there is the detailed list file which is converted to a source file in the pako directory as NIKA2R6.sou .

LST coverage created for 22-APR-2017 (for zone 2 = summer)

  1. Planets planets

  2. Strong Galactic sources Strong Gal. Sources

  3. Strong pointing sources Strong Pointing Sources

  4. Secondary Calibrators (from Lisenfeld+2000) Secondary Calibrators

  5. Radio sources from IRAM catalog nika2-radio

  6. Planets, Asteroids, and Secondary Calibrators (from Lisenfeld+2000) nika2-secondaries

  7. Strong Galactic sources nika2-galactic

  8. Weak Galactic sources nika2-weak-galactic

  9. Nearby galaxies nika2-nearby-galaxies

  10. Distant galaxies or faint quasars nika2-distant

  11. NIKA list of faint sources nika-faint-sources

  12. NIKA2 scientific verification projects nika2_sdp1

Details on planets and asteroids

Uranus and Neptune are well known primary calibrators for photometric calibration and for beam maps. Mars, Jupiter, Saturn can be used for the errorbeams or to map the satellites.

Rough fluxes from Gildas (as for the 24th of February 2017), FXD 21/02/2017

The following table gives only rough numbers for the fluxes. Note that some are varying in R.A./Dec, distance, flux and brightness temperature.


Right Ascension


Diam (arcsec)

Flux @ 1.15 mm Jy

Flux @ 2.00 mm





4.88 x 4.88







43.69 x 43.69







4.67 x 4.64







41.63 x 38.93







15.98 x 14.26







3.40 x 3.30



93 @1mm, 113 @2mm




2.17 x 2.11



93 @1mm, 113 @2mm (yes, same as Uranus)

Accurate fluxes

For accurate fluxes, use the following predictions from recent planetary models:


Some asteroids have quite excentric orbits, and their temperatures thus vary quite a bit. In addition, the smaller ones have non-circular shapes and thus also rotational variability on scales of few hours. However, the four largest asteroids (Ceres, Pallas, Vesta, and Lutetia) present a flux accuracy better than 5% and therefore, they can be used as reliable calibrators for the IRAM 30m continuum cameras (see the poster of Thomas Mueller). See also Muller et al. 2014.

Thomas Mueller provided flux predictions at different wavelengths for these four asteroids until 2020:





Flux predictions at 1.3 mm and 3.0 mm (and extrapolated fluxes at 1.2 mm and 2.0 mm) for the period 2017-2018 can be found here. In the plot, solid lines represent the predictions of T. Mueller, while dotted lines are an extrapolation to the exact NIKA2 wavelengths assuming BB radiation. The term <ΔT_RJ> represents the average of the percentage difference between the BB temperatures under Rayleigh-Jeans (RJ) approximation (with the corresponding standard deviation) obtained from the 1.3 mm and 3.0 mm specific intensity predictions. The smaller the <ΔT_RJ> term is, the closer are the flux values to be described by a BB (within the 3.0 mm - 1.2 mm wavelength domain), and hence, the more accurate is the extrapolation to the NIKA2 wavelengths.

Observers have to give the oribital elements of the asteroids to pako: perihelionEpoch, ascendingNode, argumentOfPerihelion, inclination, perihelionDistance, eccentricity. Asteroids are on stable orbits. Their orbital elements are not expected to change. Orbital parameters can be obtained from the following link: with SOURCE Body Name tp node peri i q e

   *** Values for Ceres, Vesta, Lutetia, & Pallas (from jpl web site 03/02/17; orbital elements for 16-Feb-2017):
   PAKO> SOURCE Body Ceres 2458235.937196441384 80.30985818155804  72.90778936046735 10.59240162556512 2.558399943883621 .07568276766977486 
   PAKO> SOURCE Body Vesta 2458248.730549527339 103.8420858415193 151.0763599422539 7.140515813592748 2.150823811211408 .08913605302833576
   PAKO> SOURCE Body Lutetia 2457273.638883933000 80.88034501826424 250.0144262431933 3.063765292337028 2.033639660103867 .164587024192538      
   PAKO> SOURCE Body Pallas 2458320.692222709571 173.0884258274411 309.9972297543002 34.84038753772609 2.133254080983892 .2307043154546663 

Fluxes of quasars used as pointing source

IRAM conducts several observatory programs at the 30-m Pico Veleta telescope to monitor the time variability of extragalactic continuum sources. A webpage dedicated to these flux monitoring programs has been created. The fluxes are mainly monitored at 3 and 2 mm, but there's also several 1 mm measurements.

Interface with the telescope: Pako

Short manual on useful "Pako for Nika" see on Granada computers on the NIKA directory Pako_helpv??.txt ==> Obsolete. Has been replaced by much simpler procedures listed on the control computers screen wallpaper:


- Pako scripts are in the Pako subdirectory

- Before starting the pointing session, we may be requested to move the azimuth by 60deg to reset the inclinometer of the az axis.

- The sun avoidance radius is 1deg and there are internal safeties that prevent the antenna to point to the Sun, but we may not get error messages.

- The antenna can point between 60 and 460 degrees in azimuth, between less than 15 and 83 degrees in elevation.

- If a source is available both at low and high azimuth, use command SET TOPO LOW (or SET TOPO HIGH) to stay on the source without moving.

- The minimum number of sources to observe for the pointing model is 15. 30 is good enough.

- the pointing sources should be observed on 'short' period, e.g. 3-4 hours to avoid daily pointing variations.

Commissioning requirements and observation plan:

Below is a summary of the observation plan as discussed at the NIKA2 meeting on April 6 (see the minutes)

  1. Beammap at optimal axial and lateral focus,
    • perform beammap sequence: pointing+focus+pointing+ beammap
    • span various elevation
    • use lateral focus corrections from the maps of the residual after subtraction of a Gaussian beam
  2. Beammap defocused on purpose by z=[-1.2, -0.3, 0.3, 1.2]mm.
    • Center the focus on the best "average" focus, not the best focus computed with central kids only;
    • This z focus sequence is needed at least at low and high elevations (extreme values).
    • Need at least 4 maps, in the sequence, 3 is not enough.
  3. Opacity
    • several skydips a day in all possible weather conditions
    • checks on f_tone values
  4. Calibrator session with 3 goals:
    1. test the gain linearity w.r.t. the sky load
      • Monitor e.g. bright quasars at various elevations and opacities
    2. check the stability of the absolute calibration w.r.t. last run
      • Monitor primary and secondary calibrators, namely Uranus, Neptune, MWC349, NGC7027, CRL2688 (+ CRL618)
    3. cross-check the gain-elevation effect
      • Monitor secondary calibrators in spanning elevations from 20 to 70degrees using the same focus settings.
  5. Dark tests: a few of them during the runs is sufficient
  6. If we have time, it would be good to have a few polarization observations, even only maps on Uranus to recheck the entire system. Note that this has to be planned in advance with polarization experts to prepare the set up.
  7. If we have time, it would be good to have a few observations using the external calibrator

see also the private wiki

Science verification phase

Observing time roughtly from 4 p.m. to 6 a.m. will be devoted to science demonstration as discussed at the April 6 NIKA2 meeting (see the minutes)

The ephemerides for SV sources are shown in SV

ListOfAstroTargetNika2Run10 (last edited 2017-04-18 14:36:46 by NikaBolometer)