Check out this rock(ing) star image! The 15" Astrograph, equipped with an electronic CCD camera, was in the process of acquiring an image of the Flame nebula NGC2024. The telescopic system was using a narrow-band SII filter at the time.
A 4.2 - magnitude earthquake jolted Israel's eastern border during November 24, 2007. The quake was one of the largest seismic events to hit Israel in recent years.
The Bareket observatory announced that the telescopic system appears to have been undamaged. However, the telescopes' polar align may have been altered. Field crews were engaged in assessing the situation. The telescope was offline during the earlier portion of the following observing session since access to the stars is necessary to confirm alignment and make any necessary adjustments should they be needed.
Since the observing run was being controlled remotely, Ido, the principle investigator in charge of the observing mission, had no idea why the guide star suddenly disappeared off the guiding graph. A short time later he found out; a ground crew member of the observatory phoned to explain the earthquake that had occurred at about 24:16 Israel local time.
There have been no reports of any injuries, serious loss or damage to homes or property. All members of the ground support team were also safe.
We hope to be able to measure the Earth's membrane movement relative the stars by measuring the movement of the stars in the original images. Because the stars considered a singular dot of light and also lay in infinity, we expect the measurements to be very accurate, once calibrated and done properly.
Image: a plot showing the telescope's offset during the earthquake and aftershocks as it implemented on the guider CCD chip.
The 15" Astrograph took an image of the Flame nebula NGC2024 with a SII filter, when the Earthquake accrued. The observatory was controlled remotely. The remote crew was amazed to see that the guide star was completely lost in the secondary chip while the skies were crystal clear.
A Few minutes after the guide star event was noticed, we got a phone from the ground crew, indicated that at about 24:16 Israel local time they experienced an Earth quake.