[ASA] Suspension of access to Siding Spring Observatory until 18 February
director at aao.gov.au
Wed Jan 23 15:01:29 AEDT 2013
SUSPENSION OF ACCESS TO SIDING SPRING OBSERVATORY UNTIL 18 FEBRUARY
ANU and AAO announce that the suspension of access to the Siding Spring
Observatory, and all associated observing activities, will be extended
until 18 February 2013.
Now that the danger from fire has passed, an environmental assessment of
the Siding Spring Observatory site is being carried out. There are still
residual hazards that affect the safety of the site, including the
danger of falling trees, land-slips and potentially hazardous materials.
Specialist contractors are working this week and into next week to
ensure the safety of the site before staff return to the telescopes.
Once the site has been made safe for staff, we anticipate a two to three
week period during which insurance loss assessors will inspect the site
and facilities, and staff will complete essential cleaning and repairs,
assessing the telescopes, instruments and systems and working to return
the observatory to full operation. Observing will begin again once all
systems are ready and available, and staff are in a position to provide
the necessary support. We currently forecast that this will be on or
around 18 February, but at present this date is provisional - we will be
continuing to advise all involved as the situation evolves.
NOTE THAT UNTIL THE SITE IS FORMALLY DECLARED OPEN AGAIN FOR OBSERVING,
ONLY SPECIFICALLY AUTHORISED ACCESS TO THE SITE WILL BE PERMITTED. This
applies to all ANU, AAO and other observatory staff as well as all
Because of the destruction of the Lodge there will need to be interim
arrangements for accommodating observers and technical staff visiting
the site; these will also be advised in due course.
Matthew Colless, RSAA Director
Andrew Hopkins, Acting AAO Director
A.Prof. Andrew Hopkins, Acting Director
Australian Astronomical Observatory
P.O. Box 915, North Ryde, NSW 1670, Australia
ph: +61 2 9372 4849 fax: +61 2 9372 4880
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