AAVSOnet status, 2016-02-20

Sat, 02/20/2016 - 13:25

We are currently upgrading the BSM HQ ACP/Scheduler software as a testbed for upgrading the other AAVSOnet systems.  I'm also getting a couple of volunteers involved in the software maintenance of the AAVSOnet systems, and BSM HQ is being used for their training.  Because of this, the system is down until everything is working properly.  We anticipate restarting BSM HQ next week.

BSM NM has been down since January due to a mount malfuntion.  Aaron Sliski has tested the Orion EQ-6 mount that was donated by Harvard, and has shipped this mount to Bill Stein to replace the BSM NM mount.  There will be a few gotchas in swapping the mounts, such as pier base mounting configurations and updating the software drivers, but we hope to be running again in a couple of weeks.

BSM Hamren is running from Mike Linnolt's house in Volcano, HI.  He is developing a new observing site, and we will be moving BSM Hamren to that site when it is ready.  The new site gets far more clear weather, and has no horizon restrictions as are currently limiting the use of this system.

BSM Berry and BSM South are running with no problems.  We have not been processing BSM South images recently because of some software issues regarding flats, but that should be resolved this week.

coker30 is running, but the California weather has been horrible for observing this winter.

SRO50 had a number of dome problems, but they appear to be fixed now.  The system is up and running, weather dependent.

OC61 had a couple of mount problems.  Nigel Frost has made a temporary fix, and the system is running again.  However, the weather has been poor for the last couple of weeks.  Optec has finally shipped the focal reducer for the eShel spectrograph port.  Nigel will need to make an adapter to add this focal reducer to the system, but as I mentioned before, we're hoping that this focal reducer will gain us a magnitude or more in limiting magnitude for the spectrograph.

TMO61 remains down.  One of the bearings at the top of the dome is not working properly, and Jon Holtzman is concerned that the dome shutter may stick open or closed.  They have scaffolding set up inside the dome to look at the situation and make a decision as to how to refurbish that bearing.  I'm guessing another few weeks before we return to the night sky.

We've been given funding for building a couple more BSM systems.  We would like to locate these at longitudes that would complement the existing systems.  Some ideas include a dry area of Spain; the Canary islands; northern India; South Africa.  Especially for South Africa, if you know of an amateur (or professional observatory) that might like to host one of these systems, and have a contact person, let me know!