Today’s shift on Mopra (during which I finished up the day 1 post), started with the telescope stowed to protect it from wild storms in the area, with lightning striking within 9 km every minute or so. The backup generator was running just in case the power went out, and the computer had locked the user controls so I couldn’t start observing even if I wanted to attempt to see through those thick clouds. The wait ended up being more than an hour, during which I worked on those sky checks from yesterday.
But even as the skies were clearing at Mopra, things were becoming far more exciting in Sydney. A huge storm front formed, with amazing amounts of lightning and crazy winds that lifted rooftops and knocked down trees. Not very much rain, but I was a little worried we’d lose power and I wouldn’t be able to connect to the telescope. (I have observed over my phone connection once before, and it worked, but it was not a pleasant experience.)
Fortunately, all is quiet at Mopra now, and the Milky Way is visible on the webcam against a perfectly clear sky. It looks like it will be a perfect night of observing for the overnight team.