So, it has been deemed that I am, in fact, essential personnel, and I will be working my full shifts through the shutdown. Our all-important daily observations for the US Naval Observatory will, counting the stuff that needs to be done before and after, take up maybe a couple of hours a night (which will probably mostly be on my shift). Otherwise, we are required to be there solely in case something happens that threatens the safety of one of our antennas, or that will render us unable to run those observations. We are not permitted to do any other work, and the machines that would allow us to do what is normally the other half of our job will be shut down.
It's a good thing I've still got six hundred unread books sitting around, that's all I can say.
We should be getting paid for this once there's actual money to pay us with, and I've still got a paycheck coming for the last two weeks I worked, plus enough money in my savings account to cushion me if there's a delay, so hopefully I won't have much financial hardship from this, although my heart goes out to those out there who will. But it's still all just really, really sad.