Unfortunately, Chile is now experiencing a surge in Covid-19 cases due to the Omicron variant including several positive cases among the LCO staff. For this reason, we are reducing the number of crew members on the mountain and returning to operating a single Magellan telescope. The Clay telescope will be closed starting the night of February 2, 2021 until at least February 15, 2021. The decision to close the Clay was driven by the fact that the telescope is currently in f5 mode and significant personnel are required to safely return the telescope to the f11 configuration. We anticipate maintaining remote observations on the Baade telescope, provided we have sufficient mountain staff testing negative for Covid prior to each of the upcoming shift changes.
We will provide a further update next week. Given the trends with Omicron elsewhere, we hope we will be able to return to operating both telescopes soon.
Thank you as always for your understanding.