NGAO Operational Status
Summer semester operations begin Wednesday, June 1, 2016: Weather permitting, nominally open 7:30 p.m. EST or 9:30 p.m. during EDT Monday through Thursday for Introductory Astronomy classes. Weather permitting, open 9:30 pm EST/EDT Fridays for the OPEN program (Observatory-Planetarium Public Education Nights). Call 706-864-8642 after 6:00 pm EST or 8:00 pm during EDT for daily operational status. Or like us on FaceBook to receive open status posts. Info-Message or Posted opening times supercede nominal times above.
NASA All Sky Fireball Network Camera Operational:
On July 10th 2012, Dr. William Cooke and his crew from the NASA Meteoroid Environmental Office (MEO) came to NGAO and installed the 8th in a series of "all-sky" cameras designed to detect, track, and study bright meteors (fireballs). NGAO's Fireball Camera is currently calibrated and integrated into the network. Check out this link to the NASA All Sky Fireball Network to see "live view" images throughout the night and archived videos of detected fireballs over the previous 3 weeks!
No special events currently planned for the semester. However, the first 3 weeks of the summer semester features Mars near closest approach (near opposition) and this will be one of our main targets during openings.
NGAO Weather Links:
Clear Sky Chart Homepage
The Clear Sky Chart Homepage uses a Canadian weather service cloud condition forecast graphic to forecast the sky condition (clouds), atmospheric transparency, and darkness at several hundred sites in Canada and the USA. The NGAO clock below is linked to the NGAO clock on the Clear Sky Chart website.
We usually consult the visible or IR animation for MGM (southeast). The visible image is only usable during daylight hours for the eastern continental U.S. The water vapor image is often helpful as well.
The high wind shear associated with the jet stream creates thin turbulent layers which can degrade the "seeing". (The visible detail of an object as seen through the telescope is limited by atmospheric conditions. Astronomers use the term "seeing" in describing the quality of the detail or resolution allowed by the atmosphere, as in: "good seeing" = lots of detail, "bad seeing" = not much detail) If the core of the jet stream is within a couple hundred kilometers of the observing site, the seeing may be affected.