The first unit of the Network of Robotic Echelle Spectrographs (NRES) was successfully installed at our Chilean site at the beginning of the month. NRES is not yet ready for routine science observations (updates will be posted on the LCO website), but from now on, commissioning tests should be intermittent and less disruptive. The telescope in Dome C, with a repaired fl04 Sinistro camera, began making routine science observations again on the night of March 14. The telescope in Dome B was returned to science observing on March 21.
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The new semester, 2017AB, will begin at 0 UT on April 1. At that time, we will also change the default airmass limit for observing requests. The default limit will be reduced from 2.0 to 1.6. The reason for the reduction is that our statistics show that most users do not adjust the limit. The result is that many targets are observed closer to the limit, and the quality of the data is correspondingly worse. Guidance on "Setting the airmass limit constraint for best scientific results"
is now available on a webpage in the documentation section
of LCO's website. The page describes why we encourage you to consider the airmass limit carefully when you submit requests for observations.