a new semester begins, with a ‘pointed’ result…

The pointing source HH-VLA1 (left-of-centre) at 850 µm.

This week, the new 12A semester started and this sees the first time that SCUBA-2 will be used by the general JCMT community for science outside of the JCMT Legacy Surveys. Another important milestone for us all.

The image above demonstrates the potential of a different approach to doing science with SCUBA-2. The bright source to the left-of-middle is frequently used by our telescope operators to correct for drifts in the accuracy of where the telescope is pointing in the sky. Such corrective observations are made at the beginning of the night and then several times throughout, in different parts of the sky. The image above represents just 36 separate pointing observations, obtained over several, disparate nights, and has no more than 60 seconds of integrated exposure time in the central region. Yet, some interesting structure around the bright source and beyond is clearly detected.

There will be many hundreds of pointing observations taken over the course of an observing semester, and they are all stored in the JCMT Science Archive and made freely available to the public. So the potential is there for someone to look at the archive of our pointing observations, and perhaps discover something new.

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