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Contact Information

  • 2008-8-20 14:30 UT This meeting marks the tenth year of Sci IPT meetings, which began with the 1 Sep 1998 meeting of the MMA Sci group.
  • Note: C. Wilson points out line noise may be muted by pressing *6 which works thru the call center.
  • Duration: 1 hr
  • USA Toll Free Number: 877-874-1919
  • Toll Number: +1-203-320-9891
  • Passcode: 185064
  • Leader: Al Wootten
  • Attendees:Mangum, Wootten, Hills, Nyman, Lucas, Reid, Hales, Brogan, Hunter, Hibbard, Nikolic, Emerson


  1. Old Business The enhanced Agenda from last meeting is available. Science IPT notes from last month's telecon are attached to the bottom of the agenda.

VertexRSI2 moved from SEF to antenna station by ALMA Transporter With the successful move of Vertex antenna No 2 by the transporter from the Assembly Building to an antenna station near Vertex antenna No 1, one station became available in the building. The pedestal for Vertex antenna No 6 arrived to occupy that station on 31 July, creating a full house at the Site Erection Facility. Testing of Vertex antenna No 1 was therefore a focus of activity during July. A team led by Darrel Emerson conducted holography measurements and were able to beat residual errors for the surface to below 12 microns by the end of the month. After acceptance of an antenna by ALMA, the transporter will move it to a station outside the ALMA Operations Support Facility for further tests. A second holography tower is now ready for the holography tests that are planned there.

See other images and animations. See other images and transporters.

  1. New Business--Project news/updates (Hills, Peck)
  • ALMA Status Report R. Hills. See ALMA_Status_July08.pdf: for a recent set of slides. (These are more or less what was given at the URSI GA last week. I think you will have seen most of them before but there are some new pictures.)
    • Site: Installation of foundations continues. There are still several concerns here: the stiffness they provide; the design and positioning of the steel inserts that the antennas sit on; the practicality of the vaults where the power and fibres are connected. A new plan has been drawn up for converting the building at the OSF such that it provides what is needed. Unfortunately it will be well into next year before all the work can be done. Presumably we will be working in temporary arrangements until then.
    • Antennas: Testing of in MELCO #2 anntenna is complete and provisional acceptance (with the issue of the thermal behaviour still to be resolved) will occur as soon as the documentation is complete. The installation of the first ALMA FE and the associated electronics should take place in the next couple of weeks. More holography data is being taken on #1 to investigate the thermal problem. As noted above Vertex #1 and #2 are doing pointing tests. AEM #1 is undergoing drive tests at the factory.
    • Front Ends: Delivery - the second front-end will be another "engineering model" - i.e. not fully tested - delivered from Taiwan. I believe that is now not expected to arrive until ~Nov 2008. Integration centers: Todd Hunter has agreed to take on the role of NA Front End scientist. There are still some aspects of the beam data that are not fully resolved. WVR - a partial CDR's on the IF section is taking place today.
    • Back End: the second antenna system has been delivered and is full production activities cranking up.
    • Correlator: some of the first quadrant of 64-input system has arrived in Chile.
    • Software: CDR6 completed. Overall external review planned for 17-23 Nov.
    • Systems: Revisit to the Systems Requirements planned - we need to discuss this.
    • Schedule: A major effort is underway to stop the continuous slippage of the schedule that has been occurring. The steps are first to go through all deliverables with the managers responsible and agree a new set of realistic completion dates including modest but realistic contingency. The overall schedule will then be reassembled - which will I fear provide painful reading - and put under the control of a Schedule Control Board. Managers will have to request changes and explain why they have become necessary.
    • ASAC Matters.
      • Face-to-face meeting in Charlottesville after Massive Star Formation Workshop
      • Panel to prepare ALMA Development Proposal has had its first telecon

  1. Directories

Science IPT Group Activity Reports

Please include your Group Activity Report here (How to Enter Your Report), or email it to AlWootten

Project Scientists

  1. Science IPT
    • Change Control Board items, other technical concerns (Hills)
    • Some comments on improvements to the extended configurations (Wootten)
      • See attachment, work in progress.
    • ATF: (Peck)
      • Summary. ATF will operate thru 20 Dec, if at all possible.
      • Present goals: (1) Getting software working (2) Developing procedures needed for AIVC, and (3) Training personnel
      • Presently testing software version 5.1.1 which includes facilities for taking total power data and for using the ACA correlator. Total power modes are working well, and we are doing interferometry using control scripts written by Sci IPT members which will be tested and then turned into ALMA OT modes.
      • Hardware is in a fragile state and maintenance in Sept will be essential if operations are to continue.
      • The current schedule is below. Note that R. Laing will take over scheduling visiting science staff on Sept 1, and Debra will continue to schedule daily shifts at the ATF. During the current period foci of interest include further understanding of the behavior of the Line Length Corrector, identifying causes of latency, writing and exercising new control scripts, and reviewing the MS data more carefully to make sure the current version of the filler at the ATF is converting data properly.
      • Sci IPT at the ATF Checklists, Progress Reports, OSF and ATF.
      • CIPT Wiki Daily ATF reports.
Week Event
Aug 17 - 23
Tony, Ed Fomalont, Itziar
Aug 24 - 31
Ed F., Itziar
Sep 1 - 17
no science scheduled - antenna maintenance

  • OSF
Week Event
Aug 20
Remote support for OPT; R. Lucas now at SCO

  1. Next meeting is on Sep 17th (14:30 UT). Oct 16th for the following month.
  2. Astronomer Outreach: New ESO ALMA Webpages.][NRAO Newsletter]]. NAOJ News. NRAO ALMA Calendar

Richard Hills, Alison Peck, Robert Laing -- Commissioning and Science Verification

  • Commissioning and Science Verification
    • Plan.
    • Rainer Mauersberger and Robert Lucas have arrived in Chile and are already hard at work.
    • Antonio Hales will be starting work in Chile in October as an ALMA Commissioning Scientist.
    • NAOJ has appointed Dr. Tsuyoshi Sawada as ALMA Commissioning Scientist; he will probably arrive in Chile in October of this year.
    • Dr. Stuartt Corder has accepted a Jansky Postdoc; he will spend two years in Chile working with the Commissioning Team before moving to Charlottesville for the science portion of his appointment.
    • A request for additional manpower has cleared the Directors Council and should go to the Board on 25th Sept.

Emerson/Laing/Vila-Vilaro -- Instrument Scientists

Jeff Mangum -- Calibration

  • Response to ASAC comments
  • Pointing Design document now drafted. Waiting for release of metrology system details to complete.
  • Calibration Plan: Current version of the calibration plan and associated documents ("examples", "roadmaps", "matrices", etc.) posted. Comments welcome.
  • Calibration Examples: The "meat" of the Calibration Plan. Review of these documents nearly complete, some need updates.
  • Ancillary Calibration Devices:
    • Documents which describe the weather station and temperature profile technical specifications have been developed.
    • Initial purchase of (P,T,RH,Ws,Wdir) measurement devices has been made by Leonardo.
    • Specification of site infrastructural components (enclosure, tower, etc.) have been made and sent to Site IPT.
  • Refractive Bending and Delay Calculations:
    • Analysis complete. See wiki page for details.
    • Recent analysis of Yan refractive bending model suggests that it is limited (using sla_refro as benchmark).
    • Worked with Pat Wallace to implement improvements to sla_refro, including incorporation of Liebe atmospheric model.
    • Recommendation is to use sla_refro for refractive bending (note: currently used in M&C software in use at ATF).
  • ALMA Calibration Device (ACD): Several reviews (involving acronyms that I won't repeat) of ALMA Calibration Device (ACD) over past month point to both good and bad:
    • Good: Robotic arm tests suggest that positioning between bands will be as fast as 5-6 seconds, rather than the anticipated 9 seconds.
    • Bad: Frontend IPT unilaterally changed specification of solar filter to exclude use at Bands 1 and 2. Change not approved, and justification for change flawed.

Robert Lucas -- SSR

  • SSR meeting this month. (2008-08-13).
  • Testing of integrated system at the ATF, using data in ASDM format, version 5.0.3, by AIV and Science IPT.
  • Finalizing ASDM Finalization (version 1...)
  • Work starting n subarrays and on more flexible simulation in Software Test Environments (STE).

Testi, Leurini-- Design Reference Science Plan

  • Polishing-up in process.
  • Some items to be added - more polarization cases, pulsars, is there anything on fine-structure in hot haloes using S-Z?

L.-A. Nyman -- Site Characterization

  • Disposition of existing equipment from site characterization
    • NRAO lends the 225 GHz tipper to ACT. ALMA may use a spare 183 GHz device for monitoring opacity. This will require a change in several Sci IPT planning documents, including the Site-Sci ICD.
    • ALMA continues to operate the NRAO radio interferometer (and the NRAO container and its power system). It is still working. Simon Radford downloaded the data a year ago and will now download the data taken during the year (there is room for about one year of data on the disk). The interferometer data reduction software was written by Mark Holdaway and is no longer operational (needs a Sun workstation). We may want to contract Mark to transfer the software to a LINUX system. Al will check on this.
    • There is a set of cameras on the NRAO container. We may consider to move them to the roof of the AOS TB in order to monitor and keep a record of the construction work.
    • Nyman will offer the two ESO weather stations and the broken ESO radio interferometer to the Argentinian/Brasilian site test group.
    • Wootten is investigating the status of the NRAO power system with the business office.
    • Radiosonde container will eventually migrate to OSF.
    • Lightning detector, seismometer and ESO atmospheric turbulence sounder status uncertain.
  • OSF Weather Station link.
  • APEX Weather Station link.

Remijan, Markwick-Kemper -- ALMA Working Group on Spectral Line Frequencies

  • ALMA White Paper on Lab Astrophysics was sent to Al and Andrew on Dec 1, 2007 - Click for a COPY . It includes a summary of:
  • remains the home for Splatalogue and has been updated with the newest database and user interface. We are in the process of continuing to debug the user interface as well as updating the database. Paul Frieden, a programmer from Illinois, has joined the efforts and is making a substantial contribution to the user interface.
  • Splatalogue at meetings:
    • Splatalogue was presented as a poster at the AAS in Austin.
    • It was presented in a formal presentation at the Ohio State Molecular Spectroscopy Meeting in June. For a copy of the Splatalogue presentation, go to: Splatalogue Presentation. This is a tarred, zip file from the OSU meeting archives which contains the presentation.
  • Getting Funding for Splatalogue:
    • During the St. Louis AAS meeting, Doug Hudgins reported on an amendment (#9, Appendix D.2) to the ROSES 2008 proposal system. It was specifically concerning Astrophysics Data Analysis. The amendment was a direct response to need articulated in the report from the 2006 NASA Laboratory Astrophysics Workshop which stated: "Databases of atomic, molecular, and solid state parameters that are complete [...] and critically evaluated are a necessity." So, on June 20, 2008 we submitted a proposal to get funding in the form of a postdoc, graduate student, a programmer and other and miscellaneous support for the work that needed to be done on Splatalogue.
  • Synergy with other telescopes/facilities:
    • Splatalogue is being used my members of the CSO and SMA to plan and identify features.
    • The CARMA consortium has shown interest in incorporating Splatalogue into their observation planning tool. Remijan need to give a talk at MD about Splatalogue at some point.
    • John Pearson from NASA/JPL and project scientist? of the NHSC, is coming in October to give a talk on Herschel and to continue to expand the cooperation between NRAO and NASA on the problems concerning both facilities and how we can use Splatalogue to address the complex spectroscopy problem that is coming up very quickly.

Science Corner:

European ALMA operations: the interaction with and support to the users Paola Andreani, Martin Zwaan
The Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array (ALMA) is one of the largest and most complicated observatories ever built. Constructing and operating an observatory at high altitude (5000m) in a cost effective and safe manner, with minimal effect on the environment creates interesting challenges. Since the array will have to adapt quickly to prevailing weather conditions, ALMA will be operated exclusively in service mode. By the time of full science operations, the fundamental ALMA data product shall be calibrated, deconvolved data cubes and images, but raw data and data reduction software will be made available to users as well. User support is provided by the ALMA Regional Centres (ARCs) located in Europe, North America and Japan. These ARCs constitute the interface between the user community and the ALMA observatory in Chile. For European users the European ARC is being set up as a cluster of nodes located throughout Europe, with the main centre at the ESO Headquarters in Garching. The main centre serves as the access portal and in synergy with the distributed network of ARC nodes, the main aim of the ARC is to optimize the ALMA science output and to fully exploit this unique and powerful facility. The aim of this article is to introduce the process of proposing for observing time, subsequent execution of the observations, obtaining and processing of the data in the ALMA epoch. The complete end-to-end process of the ALMA data flow from the proposal submission to the data delivery is described.


Events of Interest

(see also Al's ALMA Biweekly Calendar)

Day Date Time Event location details
Sep 2
ASAC Telecon
Sep 9-11
ACA 7m antenna PPDR
Sep 12
Sep 17
Sci IPT telecon
Sep 25-27
NAASC Workshop
Sep 28-29
ASAC face-to-face
Dec 9-11
ALMA Annual External Incremental Review

Upcoming Meetings

ALMA Simulation Workshop Sept 8-10 Grenoble

Transformational Science with ALMA: The Birth and Feedback of Massive Stars, Within and Beyond the Galaxy Sep 25-27, Charlottesville.

See ALMA related meetings.

-- AlWootten - 18 Aug 2008

* MHNewPads.pdf: Some comments on improvements to the extended configurations.
Topic attachments
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
ALMA_Status_July08.pdfpdf ALMA_Status_July08.pdf manage 5 MB 2008-08-20 - 12:04 RichardHills  
MHNewPads.pdfpdf MHNewPads.pdf manage 1 MB 2008-08-20 - 09:33 AlWootten Some comments on improvements to the extended configurations.
Topic revision: r11 - 2010-08-02, ToddHunter
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