NOIRLab Transition and SOAR Interfaces

Submitted by jelias on Mon, 2021-05-10 21:39

Updated May 14 for changed end-date for noao.edu
Updated June 3 with NOIRLab website schedule
Updated July 19 with NOIRlab science website information

As most SOAR users are aware, SOAR is now part of a new organization – the NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory (NOIRLab) – which integrates NOAO, Gemini, Rubin operations and other NSF-supported programs. As part of the transition, the noao.edu domain is disappearing, and being replaced by the noirlab.edu domainImportant - although this end-date was originally set for June 2, an extension until December 2 has been negotiated. There are several consequences to this domain name change that affect SOAR users.

  • E-mail addresses will change
  • The URLs of the SOAR web pages will change, as will all other NOAO web pages.
  • URLs for observing connections will change

Details are described below. This article will be updated as appropriate over the next few weeks. Additional information is or will become available on the NOIRLab website, which should be consulted for anything not related directly to SOAR.

E-mail. The new e-mail system has already been set up, and will function together with the old system until the beginning of December. The user names in the new system are generally of the form “firstname.lastname” whereas the old system mostly used “firstinitiallastname”. E-mail sent to either system will end up in the same place for each user, until the old system ceases to exist.

Hence if you are used to e-mailing your colleague Random Astronomer at "rastronomer@ctio.noao.edu", now they will be "random.astronomer@noirlab.edu". An online directory may become available at the noirlab.edu website to help you figure out whether someone's e-mail name is (for example) Ed, Ted, or Edward; you can also consult the contact page on the SOAR website. (The new contact information is listed already.)

Additionally, most aliases have migrated, but have been re-named; the transformation isn’t always obvious. A moderately complete list will also be provided on the SOAR contacts page in the next few weeks. Both the individual contacts and aliases work now, so feel free to modify address books.

New SOAR web pages. All useful information is being migrated to the noirlab.edu website, and the pages will retain their content, but are more integrated with other NOIRLab pages than previously. The initial stages of the migration are now complete, and the NOIRLab science website can be accessed using this link:

https://noirlab.edu/science/

Some useful starting points for SOAR:
Observing information (information for proposers, visiting observers, staff contacts, observer policy documents)
SOAR Telescope general information (includes links to instrument pages, or just go here)

The overlap period will be shorter than for e-mail, but any pages that fail to migrate can be recovered if their absence is discovered and reported in a timely fashion. As of this update (July 19) the SOAR news pages have not been migrated, but the migration will happen.

In principle, www.soartelescope.org will be redirected correctly prior to December 2.

Important! The SOAR website on the CTIO server should now be viewed as a legacy website; updates will be made only to the new website. Users are encouraged to make the transition now, before changes accumulate. If you are using the new website and cannot find something you were expecting, please advise the responsible instrument scientist, the telescope scientist, or the SOAR Director, as appropriate. If there are major content updates that would affect 2022A proposers, we will probably add a note to this article.

URLs for observing. Observers will find that, once they connect through the firewall by VPN, all the current computer URLs will continue to work, because the local DNS server will still remember them. Your initial connection to the VPN gateway should use its numerical IP address in any case (and that will not change). To make the transition as smooth as possible, try to use IP addresses (139.xxx.yy.zzz) for all your connections as these will not change.

At some time in the future the VPN gateway itself will likely be different, but that change is not in the immediate future.