June 20, 2013
James Di Francesco
1. Construction Status (Wootten)
Antennas at the AOS: 58 (46x12m, 12x7m). Locations
Antennas at the OSF: 4 (European antennas)
Weather was not very good this past week, with closures due to snow.
Finish electrical internet outfitting of the outer antenna pads so we can
have some long (~3km) baselines. However, some pads do not have the correct wiring and
retrofits need to be done. A proposal has been made to do this but it is not
possible to do this work since the ground is frozen. As a result, pad work may
not be possible until October. Is the rewiring required local to each pad or
between pads? Some wrong cables
were installed in some locations. Need a wire to ground the connection. (There
are 192 pads and this problem affects a quarter of them, but mostly at longer
baselines.) This problem does not affect impending Cycle 1 observations, but some pads
needed for the more extended configurations C32-5 and C32-6. Array is currently in a hybrid configuration
with some 1 km baselines mixed in.
Imaging being done on 1 km baselines to see how they work. It was hoped to
get 2-3 km baselines, which are needed for cycle 2, but needed pads are not
yet available. Integrating antennas in Band 9. Finishing up polarization
studies also in hopes of offering it for Cycle 2.
The most number of antennas within an array has been 51. Al looked at data with
45. Not all high site antennas are on the air in all Bands at any given time.
Some front ends don't have capabilities at all Bands.
2. Operations (Wootten)
Daniel Espada will join DSO in early July.
A final report on ALMA Cycle 0 is available at
It provides the final status of ALMA Cycle 0 observations as well as
an overview of how observing progressed, including performance
statistics per band, LST range and of other parameters. It also
provides a historical record of what was done in Cycle 0, and
should help proposers to prepare observations for future Cycles.
New release of software will allow Cycle 1 observations to start within the
next few weeks (June 26). Some Cycle 1-like data have been reduced as tests
and barring a few minor problems, will likely be delivered to PIs.
It is unclear if the project tracker is available yet for the general user.
Current configuration OK for C32-3 and C32-4 projects; the longer baseline
configurations need pad work as discussed above.
A non-sideral project has been observed, but software to do this routinely
needs to be accepted; hopefully this will be soon. Congratulations to the team
for meeting that milestone.
3. Face-to-face meeting
The 2013 face-to-face meeting has been set for September 16 and 17.
4. ALMA Development (Wootten)
Call was issued via eNews and direct email. An attached document provides
definition of the NA ALMA Development Program strategic objectives and goals.
Alberto also inquired whether or not the selection criteria are listed in
order of importance. The criteria are NOT listed in order of importance,
nor are they weighted. This will be posted in the online FAQ.
Meeting of the ADSC to occur next week. ASAC was told that an ALMA
Development Plan was to be developed. It is proposed that that process be fed by the regional Project Scientists.
Please nominate reviewers for Studies and Projects. How are they reviewed?
A committee of non-NRAO people will be created by Al. They give grades that
are added together (see the summary in the document). The committee meets
by telecon to hash out differences through discussion. Only 2-3 referees
changed grades last time. The amount of money available is then divided up
by proceeding down the list of ranked list until the funds are used up.
No input from NRAO (or NSF) on the ranked list. Instructions contain some
information on strategic goals. The panel last time consisted of 9 people
each of which reviewed ~6 proposals out of 21.
A report on post-receipt processing of ALMA Development Studies from Nov
2011 Call and the Review Panel Instructions and Guidelines were attached.
A document articulating NA ALMA Development Program strategic objectives
and goals is attached.
Band 2 Workshop occurred on May 29, 2013. Talks are posted online. Also,
a NA Development Workshop was held in Charlottesville April 18, 2013
Studies proceeding. Call for Studies came May 1. Call for Proposals June 3.
Object is to get all done within 2013 fiscal year.
5. ASAC items from June 5 telecon
The major discussion was Pierre Cox's proposed schedule for Cycles 2-4, and the
general unhappiness with the long ~16-month duration of those Cycles. More
justification was considered necessary for these long Cycles, and the JAO is
working out a plan with this information.
Pierre himself represented the plan during the telecon, but did not explain
the benefits of the plan in quantitative terms. He also wants to
evolve away from "shared risk."
Crystal: delay of Cycle 2 until June 2014 is a done deal given the problems that have
occurred during Cycle 1. Commissioning staff is starting to leave throughout
the year, and the new Call affects those people left behind to both operate
and commission the array.
Alberto: Why can't the observatory offer fewer capabilities and shorter
cycles? Crystal: Pierre is under a great deal of pressure from funding
agencies to wrap up commissioning as soon as possible. Alberto: this has
not been articulated very well.
What is the decision process here? Just Pierre? Crystal: this plan was
developed by DSO at Pierre's request (and possible involvement). The
Board doesn't have to approve it but they can concur with it. It's up to
the JAO to issue Calls.
during Early Science (Wootten)
No new hires, but an offer is outstanding for a two-year position and can't
announce things at the moment Meetings with ALMA or NAASC
Workshop? Rachel and Daniela volunteered for SOC, and couldn't
make it today. (Douglas Scott also volunteered for the SOC). They need to
discuss possible topics of this meeting. Presumably this will be in CV (but
not necessarily). Probably can't hold it until March / April of 2014.
Will there be another JAO conference in December? Japan has offered to host
an ALMA-wide conference but not until late 2014.
will participate in IAU Symposium No. 303 The Galactic Center, in
Santa Fe NM, 30 Sept - 4 Oct
AAS Indianapolis report. 550 people attended, Tony Beasley gave a plenary
talk, too large to post online (for now). May be compressible for later. A
splinter session occurred with about two dozen people.
AAS DC area next January, proposed for a splinter session there.
will be represented at the AAAS meeting next February
CASCA report. Held in Vancouver
Still waiting for Batch 5 to be released by the JAO (June 1?). 48 SBs for
Batches 1-3 approved by PIs and ready to go. Batch 4 is being worked on
(done?), withi PI approval needed (obtained?) by June 10.
Pipeline work has been ongoing in parallel with the software acceptance Al
mentioned earlier. If any of the 14 test executions done so far pass QA2, if
the software version is accepted, these will be delivered. Pipeline has had a
number of issues, e.g., Understanding the INTENT of the system's choice in selection of calibrators on the fly, so
several of the 14 don't have ideal calibrations. Also being used to test
whether flagging is as good as a human's, and more heuristics need to be added.
Is pipeline testing only going on at the NAASC
? Todd Hunter took this on about
3 months ago, and much of the testing has been focused in NA, though
testing is also going on in other partners and at the JAO. CV is looking at new heuristics, but
Europe has been testing Cycle 0 project data though the pipeline to see how
Are PIs notified if executed SBs pass QA0? No, that is only a pass for
later processing. The Project Tracker should give more assistance to
curious PIs about progress.
7. Astronomer Outreach (Brogan, Wootten)
SV data of M100 looks nice, and will be released to the public on the
Science Portal in the usual way with a new CASA guide that describes the data
reduction path. Probably available in three weeks.
Still plan to work on the community days. Carol Lonsdale is working on a
plan for that.
Perhaps eNews isn't read as widely as hoped. Will try new ways to contact
potential users summarizing the eNews portion about ALMA. Al used to send
a bi-weekly summary of construction activities, but less information is now
available as people wait for their data. NAASC
TV page has a link but not
sure if that was popular either.
8. Date of next telecon
July 18, 2013
9. Other business?