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Observatory Policies for Dome Closing Conditions




To:            Observers at Kitt Peak National Observatory
From:       Michael Merrill, Supervisor of Mountain Scientific Support



The Observing Assistants (aka LTOs and TAs) have primary responsibility at night for safety on Kitt Peak. The OAs will require the KPNO domes to be closed whenever, in their judgment , such action is necessary to protect telescopes and instruments or to guarantee the safety of the observers.

The OAs have been instructed to close the domes under the following conditions:

Other circumstances may warrant closing - the OAs have sole authority to make the necessary decision to close.

We appreciate that closing the domes when the sky is otherwise clear can have a significant impact upon your research program. The decision to close is a difficult one and is never made arbitrarily. The OAs are familiar with conditions on the mountain and are in the best position to make the necessary decision. We have tried to make the decision-making process as quantitative as possible (e.g., installation of dew-point measuring machines), but in some cases it is still a judgment call. If you have specific suggestions about how we could improve these procedures, please let me know.

      Dr. K. Michael Merrill                           EMAIL: merrill@noao.edu
      National Optical Astronomy Observatory
      KPNO Supervisor for Mountain Scientific Support
      Mail: P.O. Box 26732                             Shipping: 950 N Cherry Ave
            Tucson, AZ 85726-6732                                Tucson, AZ 85719

      Tucson Office Phone: 520-318-8319     FAX number: 520-318-8487
      Mountain Office Phone: 520-318-8701


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