[ASA] Operations at Siding Spring Observatory
Christopher.Lidman at anu.edu.au
Mon Mar 16 16:54:00 AEDT 2020
As you are no doubt aware, the number of people in Australia and elsewhere with the COVID 19 disease continues to increase. Siding Spring Observatory (SSO) is putting in place measures to continue operations as the disease spreads. However, I do wish to advise you that operations may have to change or indeed stop as the situation develops. The health of staff at the Observatory and the community is our top priority.
Observing from SSO is currently permitted, but we recommend that you observe remotely, if you are able to do so. If you need to travel to SSO to observe, please contact SSO at admin-sso at mso.anu.edu.au<mailto:admin-sso at mso.anu.edu.au>.
For the AAT, remote observing is currently available from 6 national (USQ, ICRAR, ANU, UNSW, Swinburne, MQ) and 2 international locations. In anticipation that these remote observing sites will become unavailable, we will allow remote observing from other locations. Given that the bandwidth and screen real estate may be far less than that available at the official remote observing stations, this will be restricted to experienced AAT observers, and it will be judged on a case-by-case basis. Please send such requests to admin-sso at mso.anu.edu.au<mailto:admin-sso at mso.anu.edu.au>.
For the 2.3m, remote observing is already available from any location.
As the disease spreads, we can anticipate that operations at SSO will be affected.
* We may not have sufficient staff to do a top end change at the AAT, in which case the change to the top end will be delayed, or brought forward, thus leading to the cancellation or postponement of some observing runs and bringing other runs forward
* We may not have sufficient critical staff (night assistants and afternoon shift technicians) to continue operations at the AAT, in which case operations at the AAT will cease.
* All SSO staff may be required to self-isolate in which case operations at the AAT, 2.3m, and SkyMapper will cease, instruments will be warmed up, and there will be no technical support for external tenants (e.g. UKST).
The situation is fluid and may change quickly.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.
A/Professor Chris Lidman
Director, Siding Spring Observatory, Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics,
The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia
Christopher.Lidman at anu.edu.au<mailto:Christopher.Lidman at anu.edu.au>
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