Network status: the start of 2016A

The 2016A semester began on April 1. To those of you who have been granted observing time on the Network, we hope that your observations go well. If you have questions about how to prepare your observing requests, please email our Science Support team.
In the last status report, we mentioned that LCOGT has created a new archive to store its data products. The IPAC archive will remain available until May 31, but we encourage you to retrieve your data from the new archive. To login, use the same username/password that you use for the observatory portal. If you'd like to report a problem with the archive (or make a suggestion), clicking on the "Feedback" link at the bottom of the archive's UI will open a form that you can fill out and submit.
The new semester also marks the deployment of a new data pipeline. We're now processing data through both the new pipeline and the ORAC-DR pipeline. Products from both are available in the archive; products from the new pipeline are indicated with "Reduction Level = Reduced (Experimental)" in the archive interface. Tests of the new pipeline are ongoing, so please alert us if you encounter problems with the reduction procedure. More information on the new pipeline will be made available on the website soon.
All images (raw and pipeline-processed) in the archive are Rice-compressed ("fpacked"). We began compressing all images generated at our observing sites on April 6. The compressed images require less bandwidth to transport off-site and back to LCOGT headquarters for processing.
The Spectral camera on the 2-meter telescope at Siding Spring (FTS) is currently not available for observations. The camera was restored on April 4, but then it warmed-up toward the end of the April 6 night. The FLOYDS (spectrometer) is still available on the 2-meter telescope, but ...
Also at Siding Spring, we've been having intermittent problems with our main site computer. These problems have been driving our IT team crazy, but a consequence for users is that, when the computer crashes, the headers of FITS images can get corrupted. This is a reason why some images made with Siding Spring telescopes aren't yet available. Fixing the site computer is a high-priority task, and we are compiling an inventory of affected images.
At Cerro Tololo, the Sinistro camera (fl03) in Dome B is sometimes producing all-noise images (i.e. only pixels with extremely high and extremely low counts). The problem is currently under investigation.
Finally, I want to draw your attention to the Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2016 competition. We were asked by the competition coordinator at the Royal Museums Greenwich to make you aware that the competition includes a special prize for images captured with robotic telescopes. The reason for their request: "We strongly feel that they [LCOGT users] are the ideal entrants and would benefit from the opportunity of winning this prize, particularly given the wide press attention the competition receives." For more information, see: . Entries are due on April 14.

The 2016A semester begins!

The 2016A semester began at 0 UT on April 1. Congratulations to all PIs whose proposals were granted observing time in the 2016A semester! All proposals have been entered into our database, and time has been allocated. When you login to the observatory portal (, you will see your 2016A proposal listed under "Your current proposals." Those of you who are new users of LCOGT Network must first create an account before you can submit observing requests.

ExoMars observed by education partner

On 14 March 2016 the European Space Agency in partnership with the Russian Space Agency launched the first ExoMars spacecraft, to study the red planet.

Network status: New archive and pipeline; Spectral camera status; Sinistro redo

The 2015B semester is drawing to a close. The 2016A semester will begin on April 1. Results from LCOGT's time allocation process will be distributed soon.

Network status: Dome C in Chile; Faulkes Telescope in Australia

The fl04 Sinistro camera (in Dome C at our Chilean site) warmed-up unexpectedly on Friday (Feb 19) and was producing bad frames. We suspect that the problem was contamination in the cooling system, which has now been cleared, but we're monitoring the camera's performance tonight.

Network status: Sinistro astrometry, binning

We have corrected a glitch in the Sinistro cameras. Because of the way the raw frames were processed, one row of pixels was removed between the top and bottom quadrants. The omission is "invisible" (i.e. there's no gap in the processed frame), but the omitted row creates a discontinuity in the astrometry between the top and bottom halves of the frames. We have recently corrected this omission, and hereafter, images will be astrometrically continuous from the top to the bottom of the frames. To accommodate this change, we must also make the correction to our flat fields, so that we can properly flat field the new-format frames.

Dr Tim Brown to receive distinguished Watson Medal

Annual Award to be Presented by the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. this May

Network status: Sinistro camera available in Texas

The Sinistro camera at LCOGT's Texas site (ELP) is now available for science observations.

Robotic telescopes in education workshop

This is the original announcement. For full details of the workshop, please see the workshop website.

Universe in the Classroom Host First Robotic Telescope Teacher workshop in North Wales

The first Universe in the Classroom 2.0 primary school teacher-training event took place last week in Wrexham (Wales, UK), during which participant teachers were provided with access to a global network of powerful robotic telescopes, and the resources and know-how to use them to explore the night sky from their classrooms.

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