Call for proposals 2017AB

Las Cumbres Observatory is soliciting proposals for science observations for the 2017AB semester, which will begin on 1 April 2017 and run through 30 November 2017. This call is for astronomers from institutions without guarantees of Network time: the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB), the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC), the University of Colorado, and the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC). Astronomers affiliated with LCO, including Time Allocation Committee members and Science Advisory Committee members, are also welcome to submit proposals. (LCO's Science Collaboration partners that have guaranteed time conduct independent proposal solicitations and reviews.)

Network status: Happy Holidays!

The Network suffered a one-two punch of power outages in the past week. On December 17, power was lost on Haleakala. As a result, science observations from that site (OGG) weren't possible on December 17-18. ----- A few days earlier, on December 13, there were power outages that affected all CTIO facilities. Consequently, we made no science observation from our LSC site on December 13-14. Since then, the cameras in Dome B (fl03) and Dome C (fl04) at LSC have been showing unstable temperatures. As a safeguard, we will warm these cameras up tonight (2016-12-21), then inspect and recharge their cryogenic systems tomorrow. Thus, only one camera (fl15, in Dome A) will be available for science observations tonight. We expect to have all cameras available again for the night of 2016-12-22.

"Brightest Supernova” Not a Supernova, but a Star Ripped Apart by a Spinning Black Hole

A version of this article is also available for young scientists! Read it at Spacescoop

Space Scoop comic book contest

As well as being the LCO education team, Sarah Eve Roberts and I are also the team behind Space Scoop, an astronomy news service for kids. Although the primary audience for Space Scoop is kids from the age of 8, we know that many older kids and adults also enjoy reading Space Scoop. Each Scoop is written about a brand discovery in astronomy or space sciences, based on a current press release. We aim to release every Space Scoop at the same time as the research press release is published, that way scientists, journalists and kids all get to hear about exciting space news at the same time.

Network status: telescopes in Australia, internet to Chile

A new SBIG camera (kb98) was installed on the 0m4a (40cm) telescope at our Australia site on November 24. The camera was enabled for science observations on December 1.
Also at the Australia site, the 2-meter telescope was taken offline on December 4. Our TelOps team detected some anomalous behavior in the telescope's motion. They've now found the likely source of the anomaly and fixed the problem. We expect to re-enable the telescope for science observation for the 2016-12-08 night.
I reported in November that we've been experiencing internet connectivity problems to our site in Chile. Those problems, although now less frequent, haven't ceased. The unreliable connection can disrupt the delivery (and subsequent processing) of images. If you can't find images in the archive from observations made at our Chile site (LSC), please send an email to