20 Mar 2020
The duration of the CTIO shutdown is unknown, but even with an optimistic timeline, the loss of that node in our network will significantly reduce LCO's productivity. As many of you know, the "LSC" site hosts three 1-meter telescopes, two 0.4-meter telescopes, and one NRES unit. Our enclosures also host two of the ASAS-SN instruments.
To mitigate the impact of the shutdown on the 2020A science programs, we have decided to extend the semester by one month. The 2020B semester will begin at 0 UT on July 1. This will be the start date/time for new key projects as well as for proposals sponsored by our Science Collaboration partners.
The deadline for LCO's own call for 2020B proposals has been postponed from April 2 to April 23. If you had intended to submit a proposal, either to LCO or to your Science Collaboration institution, to observe targets that are optimally observed in June 2020, we encourage you to contact us (email@example.com). We will work with you to get those observations.
One advantage of the LCO network is that the telescopes operate robotically, with minimal human intervention. At this time of global crisis, when our employees and the observatory staff at our sites are voluntarily isolating themselves, we intend to keep our telescopes operating. We will only cease observing if a site's managing agency demands that we do so.
The Astrobiology Center of Japan is building a multi-channel imager, MuSCAT3, to replace the Spectral imager on the 2-meter telescope at Haleakala Observatory. The installation of MuSCAT3 is scheduled for mid-May; science observations are scheduled to begin in July. We will update you if ongoing travel restrictions require us to delay the installation and commissioning of MuSCAT3. Both LCO and the Astrobiology Center are seeking funding to build MuSCAT4 for the 2-meter telescope at Siding Spring Observatory.