Last night marked the last night the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) operated under the Joint Astronomy Centre (JAC) which has operated it since it saw first light in 1987, twenty-seven years ago.
The telescope is still on track to be transferred to its new management under the East Asian Observatory (EAO), though delays in procuring funding by EAO have led to a one-month extension of the transfer date, which is now set for the end of February. In order to save on operating costs the telescope will remain dormant for the month (starting slightly early), so last night was its last night operating under its current management.
It's going to be a strange month, as some of us at the JAC will literally have nothing to do for the month (mainly the telescope operators), while some of us (myself included) will be running around like mad trying to get a hundred and one things done in order to make the handover go smoothly. And once we finally do come to work on March 1st as employees of EAO we'll no doubt have a lot to learn trying to get the fledgling organization off the ground. Interesting times, to be sure. A hui hou!