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In January of 1994, the comet/asteroid team of the University of Maryland Astronomy Department (including staff of the Small Bodies Node of the Planetary Data System) accepted the task of providing a central communications link for observers of the SL9 impact. To that end we established an email exploder, a log-in type bulletin board account, World Wide Web pages and an anonymous FTP server on an existing department node. It was obvious from the comments received from observers, however, that the nature of the impacts made reliable communication on the timescale of minutes to hours absolutely essential to extracting the best possible data from the concerted observations. To provide as stable a link as possible, we took several specific actions: we focused our efforts on providing well-defined services to the smaller community of observers, rather than attempting to provide complete service to the general public; we kept the solutions simple, both to implement and to maintain; and we developed contingency plans to be implemented immediately in the event of hardware failure, network failure or CPU overload.
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