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Contact Information

* 2010-6-16 14:30 UT
Note 'usual' UT time.
* Note: C. Wilson points out line noise may be muted by pressing *6 which works thru the call center.
* Duration: 1 hr
* Toll Number: 1-203-480-8549
* USA Toll Free Number: 866-600-8836
* Passcode: 3283890
* Leader: Hills, Wootten, Testi, Morita
* Attendees:


1 Old Business The enhanced Agenda from last meeting is available. Science IPT notes from last month's telecon are not available.

Five Antennas at AOS.JPG

Five ALMA antennas in operation at the AOS, seen in this photo taken by Nick Whyborn on 3 June. See other images and animations.

  1. New Business--Project news/updates.(Hills, Peck)
    • For a recent summary see Science_-_April_2010 and Science_-_May_2010
    • Previous reports for the project as a whole are at ALMA Monthly Reports.
    • See Science_Milestones_2010May31.pdf for 'the big picture'. Infrastructure stability has been a major problem this month.
    • As seen above, five antennas were available after a move on 31 May of DV05 to the AOS at pad T701. On 10 June, PM03 was moved to a long baseline at A106 and DV05 replaced it in the compact array at J505. On 15 Jun, PM03 will travel to the OSF for some retrofitting.
    • Some very good astroholography maps have been made which reveal some structure on the antenna surfaces. See High_res_maps.pdf. The high site the antennas show errors on scales of a meter or so which are larger than expected (although the surfaces generally within spec under typical conditions).
    • Initial correlator mode tests complete. Most auto and cross-correlation modes are now checked out using few antennas and low data rates. The next step is to incorporate these modes into Scheduling Blocks with 4 or more antennas to simulate Science Observing.
    • The "single field interferometry" observing mode is considered to be fully working, though data quality evaluation is ongoing as antennas join the commissioining array. Some problems reflected in non-closure errors have been identified. Additional observing modes using the ALMA Observing Tool, such as automated interferometric pointing and baseline measurements, are now beginning testing. These also require 3 or more antennas.
    • Phase stability of the system: Data seem to show consistently stable phase around, but slightly outside by 30-80%, the 20-300 sec phase drift requirement. The "periodic phase glitch" problem has returned and is now under investigation.
    • The WVR-based cloud monitor is now in regular testing, taking data to obtain some real-sky experience on how well it correlates with visual cloud cover and with the quality of the astronomical data.
    • The major step forward during the last two weeks was the installation of software version 7.1. In general this was successful and we are now able to run most of our standard procedures under the new version. The most significant changes are in the control of the focus where elevation and temperature corrections are applied automatically. Some work remains to be done to absorb the resulting changes into our test processes. We are now looking forward to 7.1.1 which will bring more new capabilities including some aimed at reducing the software overheads.
    • Using five antennas revealed some problems with both software and hardware in the correlator. It is believed that these have been resolved but more detailed checks need to be made. As usual it is extremely important that the full causes of the problems are understood and also why these problems were missed in testing, since this may have implications for what other aspects need to be checked.
    • We have become concerned about the stability of the pointing parameters. In particular we are seeing drifts in the zero points of the inclinometers on the Vertex antennas which are very large on DV01 and smaller but still significant on the other antennas. These show up as changes in the elevation zero point and the non-perpendicular axes terms.
    • The biggest problem overall remains the poor level of availability of operational antennas at the high site. The current situation is that we only have two antennas in operation following a power outage on Sunday. The fact that it is so difficult to recover after a relatively short interruption to the power is a very serious issue both for making progress in CSV and for the longer term.
  2. Employment
    • JAO Commissioning Scientist positions: Gianni Marconi has joined the commissioning team bringing to it his many years experience with astronomical instrumentation, most recently with the VLT instruments on Paranal.
    • ESO:
    • NRAO: NAASC positions are still in process.
    • NAOJ
  3. Astronomer Outreach: ALMA News. JAO ALMA Webpages. JAONewsletter No 5. NRAO eNews ESO Newsletter No 16 NAOJ News. NRAO ALMA Calendar
  4. Current SYSE- ALMA System Diagram Rev Q
    1. Current IPS attached
  5. Directories

Project Scientists

  1. North America
    • AAS Meeting in Miami. Preparing for ALMA presentations. Versions of these were also presented at the 12th Synthesis Imaging Workshop, which included sessions on the OT, Splatalogue and CASA/simdata
    • CASCA Meeting.
  2. Europe
    • Band 5 Workshop in Rome. (Laing?)
  3. East Asia
    • May 22 public lecture on ALMA by Tatematsu at planeterium at Katsushika, Tokyo here
    • May 24 New ALMA-J building opening ceremony here
    • May 23-28 ALMA-J booth at Japan Geoscience Union Meeting
    • construction video making for JFY 2009
    • start of the series of introduction of ALMA-J tasks and members in the monthly "NAOJ News" (in Japanese)
  4. ASAC Report, Board Meeting
    • A Response is pending. Next meeting 13 October
  5. Change Requests and other technical items.
    • 244 Change to Cross Polarization Isolation Specification for Band 6 Cartridges. Last month we favored a process whereby receivers continued to be built with current components and waivered for performance while an effort to incorporate improved horns into the cartridges proceeded, with later cartridges in the line offering improved performance. The alternative is to do the improvements in the development phase, if they were favored over the many other competing development projects.
    • AIV-2057 Spurious Responses from IF signals above 12 GHz. See attachment below. (Emerson)
      • Note that the Band 6 electronics covers an IF of 4-12 GHz but owing to noise from the WCA at the low end of the band and performance issues the portion of the band over which specifications are met is limited to 5-10 GHz. The OT and software limit tuning to this range but an expert may tune over any region in the 4-12 GHz band of course. Is this OT restriction appropriate? Should a hardware fix be done?
    • OT issues (Wootten)
      • Default Line List for OT. The developers of the OT are requesting from the SciIPT a requested subset of spectral lines that can be passed along with the offline version of the OT. While online, the developers will query the splatalogue database in Charlottesville but the small subset of lines for offline use should be between 15-20,000 lines according to the developers.
        • Recommendation: that the OT carry along the updated Lovas/NIST list that is in the splatalogue database along with the H, He and C recombination lines and the requisite atomic transitions (ie, CI). This constitutes approximately 14000 spectral lines.
      • Correlator channel/bandwidth. Currently phase 1 on the OT tells the observer that 2 GHz bandwidths and other bandwidths smaller by a factor of two are available, covered by 4096 channels. I phase 2 the observer learns the truth, that the subband stitching has removed some bandwidth and channels, so that in most modes the bandwidth is 1.875 GHz covered by 3840 channels. The ARC managers would like to hear from us in order to change this.
        • Recommendation: The OT report the bandwidth and channel complement which will be present in the data leaving the correlator.
      • 31.25MHz modes. The correlator group asked what the priority on these is, as some programming difficulties have arisen.
        • Recommendation: The modes should be delivered during construction but there is no imminent pressing need for their implementation.
  6. Development. Regions are developing plans for the ALMA Development process. A revision of the Strawman plan included in the NAASC proposal is in process.
  7. Operations Plan Version E. Status presented to Board. Will be sent to Board for November meeting.

Jeff Mangum -- Calibration

Bojan Nikolic/John Richer -- WVRs

  • Nikolic's algorithm for cloud detection at the AOS is in use.

  • PM03 was in moved to provide a longer baseline for several days before being moved back to the OSF for refurbishment. The longer baseline provided useful testing data for WVR-based phase correction

  • Systematic analysis of WVR testing data is under way.

Lars-Ake Nyman -- eSSR

  • NSF NAASC/ALMA Ops proposal review, occurring mid July in Chile.
  • Potential proposal reviewers were solicited for the first call by May 30.
  • Integrated tests from proposal submission through SB submission, including Helpdesk and mock panel review, are in final stages. Second set of end-to-end testing in Aug/Sept: CfP? to archive
  • There is a possibility for NA astronomers outside the NAASC to participate in CSV in Chile.

Wootten -- Site Characterization

Science Corner

ALMA and the First Galaxies Authors: F. Combes (LERMA, Obs-Paris)

Abstract: ALMA will become fully operational in a few years and open a new window on primordial galaxies. The mm and submm domain is privileged, since the peak of dust emission between 60 and 100 microns is redshifted there for z= 5-10, and the continuum benefits from a negative K-correction. At least 100 times more sources than with present instruments could be discovered, so that more normal galaxies, with lower luminosities than huge starbursts and quasars will be surveyed. The high spatial resolution will suppress the confusion, which plagues today single dish bolometer surveys. Several CO lines detected in broad-band receivers will determine the redshift of objects too obscured to be seen in the optical. With the present instrumentation, only the most massive and gas rich objects have been detected in CO at high z, most of them being ultra-luminous starbursts with an extremely high star formation efficiency. However, selection biases are omni-present in this domain, and ALMA will statistically clarify the evolution of star formation efficiency, being fully complementary to JWST and ELTs.

Resolved images of self-gravitating circumstellar discs with ALMA Authors: P. Cossins, G. Lodato, L. Testi

In this paper we present simulated observations of massive self-gravitating circumstellar discs using the Atacama Large Millimetre/sub-millimetre Array (ALMA). ... We find that at 345 GHz (870 $\mu$m) spiral structures at a resolution of a few AU should be readily detectable in approximately face-on discs out to distances of the Taurus-Auriga star-forming complex.


  1. Next meeting is on July 21st (14:30 UT). August 18th 2010 for the following month.

Events of Interest

(see also Al's ALMA Monthly/Biweekly Calendar)

Jun 8 - 15
12th Synthesis Imaging Workshop
Socorro, NM
Jun 16
Jul 13-18
NAASC Operations Review
July 21
ALMA System Review III
Oct 7-8
CSV Status Update
Oct 11-12
SciOps Readiness Review
Oct 13-14
ASAC f2f
Oct 25-28
Annual ALMA External Review
Nov 10
Observatory Readiness Review
Nov 16-18
ALMA Board Meeting
Nov 22
Date for decision on ES

Upcoming Meetings

WORKSHOP: SCIENCE WITH ALMA BAND 5 (163 - 211 GHz), Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, May 24 - 25, 2010

Scientific Opportunities for New Insstrumentation SOFIA Asilomar 2010 Workshop, June 6-8 Asilomar

Synthesis Imaging School, June 8-15, Socorro.

Molecules in Galaxies 26-30 July 2010, Oxford UK

Stormy Cosmos: The Evolving Interstellar Medium: Recent Progress from Space IR/Submm 1 - 4 November 2010 Pasadena, CA Hosted by the NASA Herschel Science Center, Spitzer Science Center

The Impact of Herschel Surveys on ALMA Early Science Garching, November 17-19, 2010

15-17 Jan 2011 Workshop ALMA: Extending the Limits of Astrophysical Spectroscopy in Victoria

The Molecular Universe May 30 - June 3, 2011 Toledo, Spain

Recent Meetings (presentations online)

-- AlWootten - 2010-06-14

Topic attachments
I Attachment Action Size Date WhoSorted descending Comment
Five_Antennas_at_AOS.JPGJPG Five_Antennas_at_AOS.JPG manage 591 K 2010-06-16 - 09:19 RichardHills  
High_res_maps.pdfpdf High_res_maps.pdf manage 352 K 2010-06-16 - 09:46 RichardHills  
New_Location_of_Meteorological_Station_5.pdfpdf New_Location_of_Meteorological_Station_5.pdf manage 344 K 2010-06-16 - 11:15 RichardHills  
Science_-_May_2010.pdfpdf Science_-_May_2010.pdf manage 68 K 2010-06-16 - 09:32 RichardHills  
11GHzIF_Plan.txttxt 11GHzIF_Plan.txt manage 2 K 2010-06-16 - 10:29 AlWootten 12 GHz site-testing interferometry short summary
12GHzSpuriousResponsesRevB.pdfpdf 12GHzSpuriousResponsesRevB.pdf manage 228 K 2010-06-15 - 16:11 AlWootten Spurious Responses From IF Signals Above 12 GHz
Meteo_Station_proposal_area_2-1.pdfpdf Meteo_Station_proposal_area_2-1.pdf manage 961 K 2010-06-16 - 10:23 AlWootten Meteorological station location proposed by site.
ParanalCloudMonitor.txttxt ParanalCloudMonitor.txt manage 957 bytes 2010-06-15 - 13:06 AlWootten Cloud Monitor at Paranal
Science_-_April_2010.pdfpdf Science_-_April_2010.pdf manage 13 K 2010-06-15 - 12:47 AlWootten April Science Report
Science_Milestones_2010May31.pdfpdf Science_Milestones_2010May31.pdf manage 65 K 2010-06-15 - 12:52 AlWootten Science Milestone updte; end of May
SondeReport2010.txttxt SondeReport2010.txt manage 5 K 2010-06-14 - 18:40 AlWootten Report on Status of ALMA Site Characterization Radiosonde equipment.
This topic: ALMA > WebHome > AlmaSci > AlmImcal > MonthlyMeetings > 16Jun10Agenda
Topic revision: 2010-08-18, ToddHunter
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