En marzo del 2020, el GTM cesó sus operaciones científicas debido a la pandemia por COVID-19 y actualmente permanece cerrado. Durante los últimos 16 meses se han podido realizar un número limitado de visitas al telescopio, principalmente para realizar inspecciones de las distintas instalaciones.
In March 2020 the Large Millimeter Telescope (LMT) ceased all scientific operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the telescope currently remains closed.
During the last 16 months a limited number of visits to the LMT site have been possible, primarily to make inspections of the telescope and site infrastructure and to conduct any urgent and essential maintenance of the telescope and access road. We have also had occasional opportunities to power-up the primary telescope systems and briefly move the LMT in both the azimuth and elevation axes. The encouraging news is that we have found no major faults or problems with the telescope and supporting equipment.
However the impact of the on-going COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect our schedule to return to a normal routine of scientific operation and telescope maintenance, resulting in significant delays and uncertainty in the date to start the 2021-S1 observing season, originally scheduled for March 16th to September 15th 2021.
Given the current status the LMT management is considering an extension to the current 2021-S1 observing season beyond September 2021 that will include an opportunity to install and commission new scientific instruments, including the multi-wavelength continuum camera TolTEC, and also conduct an engineering program to continue to improve the alignment of the segmented primary reflector and increase the telescope performance at the shortest operational wavelengths (~1mm).
Finally we would like to inform you that we are preparing the materials and necessary information to support a new call for LMT proposals that will be released in the near future. Following the conclusion of the 2021-S1 science program, the next observing season is anticipated to run from late 2021 until the autumn of 2022.
More information will be provided shortly as the situation becomes clearer and more confidence can be placed on the dates and schedule for the restart of LMT scientific operations. As always please contact the LMT helpdesk (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions regarding the current status of the LMT and the future operational plans.