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AAS Electronic Notification Service - Announcement #59 9/98

[Mailed from aas.org at 4:15pm 29 SEPT 1998]

CONTENTS

1. ARECIBO OBSERVATORY WITHSTANDS HURRICANE GEORGES

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1. ARECIBO OBSERVATORY WITHSTANDS HURRICANE GEORGES
Proposal Deadline Extended to 1 November 1998

Dear Colleague,

As you probably have heard, Puerto Rico was badly hit by Hurricane Georges. Commercial power is out at the Arecibo Observatory, and may not be restored for 2 to 4 weeks due to magnitude of repair efforts that are ongoing. The phone system is also largely inoperative, although we hope that this service will be restored more quickly. The observatory has become a center for supplying water and other services to staff members and their families.

The Observatory has been operating on our emergency generator since the hurricane struck. There was significant damage to homes of a number of staff members, but happily no injuries or worse. The Observatory staff have been working hard to restore the telescope to full operating condition; it is impressive that observations with 47 MHz radar system continued throughout the hurricane, and a group of atmospheric scientists obtained some rather unique data! However, there is a lot to do to check out the Gregorian system, in which the tertiary support system and possibly some of the secondary panels were damaged. Some sections of the 430 MHz waveguide were also distorted, but this system should be available within a few days.

Since there has been essentially no email contact with the observatory since 22 September 22, it has not been possible for observers to obtain information about system status, obtain proposal cover sheets, or submit proposals electronically. For this reason, I feel it is appropriate to extend the 1 October deadline for proposals for the trimester starting 1 February 1999, to 1 November 1998. I very much hope that we will have email and phone contact by mid-October, which should give users a few weeks to finalize their proposals. I am optimistic that we will be able to be in full service again as well by that time.

I also think we should all express our appreciation for the outstanding efforts on the part of NAIC staff at Arecibo during this very difficult time. I know they are doing everything possible to restore the Observatory to full functionality as rapidly as possible, while also having to worry about their families and homes.

Best Regards,


Paul Goldsmith
Director, National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center

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