Contact Information

  • 2008-Sept-3 14:30 UT
  • Note: 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: Richard Hills
  • Attendees:

Old Business

  1. Agenda, Minutes: Agenda of July meeting. Minutes are unavailable. Agenda and Minutes of older telecons may be viewed at the ALMA EDM site Sitescape or more recently at the Board ASAC site.
  2. ASAC Membership

New Business

Antenna Station A93 at the AOS Antenna station 93 at the AOS is awaiting power and fiber connections. In the background, the Transporter Shed and the AOS Technical Building.

See other images.

  1. Project news/updates
  2. Board Communications and Face-to-face meeting. See Strawman Agenda
    • Discussion of new Board Charges.
      • Continuing Charges:
        • 1) ASAC should continue to monitor and assess the readiness of ALMA software, in particular to review the outcome of software CDR number 6 July 14-16 and the ongoing work on detailing the software requirements for Early Science. These topics should be covered in the ASAC’s written report for the Board’s November 2008 meeting.
        • 2) ASAC should continue to review AIV/CSV activities and to recommend necessary and desirable changes. Any significant new issues in this area should also be included in thereport for the November 2008 meeting, but the Board expects a more detailed examination of these topics after the ASAC meeting in Chile in early 2009.
        • 3) The ALMA Board has charged the Project to draw up a long-term ALMA Development Plan in consultation with the international astronomy community. The plan should set out the scientific context for transformational science with ALMA in the next two decades, in the era of for example JWST, ELTs and SKA, and recommend developments necessary to achieve this vision. The ALMA Board views this plan as having a high strategic priority, and is coordinating its development across the entire ALMA partnership. The process of generating the ALMA Development Plan should be led by the JAO Project Scientist and the ASAC (with support from the Executives). The first stage will involve an examination of the scientific drivers by a team of astronomers, chosen to be representative of the broad astronomy community that is expected to use ALMA. It is therefore important that the proposed team include people with a broad perspective and expertise at wavelengths outside the range that will be observed by ALMA as well as people with experience of mm-wave interferometry and instrumental development. This team should take time to work with the community, e.g. by sounding their own 'networks' and holding local discussions, before making a first-order draft of potential long term developments, grouping them in high, medium and low scientific priority, and identifying the ones which require long-lead technical developments. The ASAC should review and comment on the report (again with members taking soundings through their networks) before submitting it to the Board. The Board would like to receive a progress report on this at its November 2008 meeting and, if possible, the full report by March 2009. The Board suggests that it would not be appropriate to hold a large community workshop devoted to this topic, but recommends that discussion sessions be planned as part of other workshops (e.g. at one of the annual ALMA-oriented science workshops, or at more general meetings on future astronomical facilities). It is anticipated that a larger-scale activity will follow after the start of Early Science.
      • Further Charges (to be confirmed at the Board’s June 2008 meeting):
        • 4) The ASAC should review the plans for provision of ALMA Regional Centers and report to the Board’s March 2009 meeting.
        • 5) Noting that 2009 is the International year of Astronomy, the ASAC should examine the Project’s activities in the area of outreach, both to the general public and to the astronomical community, and make suggestions as to how they and the ALMA Project could enhance these activities.
    • Dates Fall 2008 meeting is 28-29 September in Charlottesville--please enter a date for Spring meeting preference.
  3. Science IPT Report (Hills, Wootten, Testi, Morita)
    • Change Control Board items, other technical concerns (Hills)
      • Improvements to the extended configurations. We propose to take a Change Request through the system in the next few weeks. This will ask for the additional 10 pads plus moves to 6 existing pads recommended by Mark Holdaway. Because the contracts are already rolling this is the last opportunity to do this within those contracts. (Obviously more pads could be added later in separate contracts but that would be significantly more expensive.) We will have a chance to review this topic one more time at the f2f meeting and of course if we decide that the additional cost and effort is not justified then the change will not proceed. I do however have to start the process now in order to get it through at the next Board meeting. I hope the ASAC will support this.
      • Band 3 Receiver Noise Temperature Specification This is a request to relax the sensitivity requirements for this band (although the requirement for the outer edges of the band is tightened). The overall loss in sensitivity is not very large (approaching 10% at worst) but of course we don't want to give this up unless absolutely necessary. I have therefore put in a rather negative preliminary response.
      • 64-Antenna Correlator Specifications and Requirements Version B to Version C Change Request Four modes in Table 4 of the specification, ALMA-, were found to be impossible to implement in the detailed implementation phase due to a lack of resources in the correlator. These modes have been deleted from Table 4. Similar but slightly less sensitive modes are provided however. Note file "AlternateModes" in Lacasse's response.
      • Band 7 cartridges: Cross-Polarisation Improvement This is (I trust!) just formal confirmation of the improvement already agreed.
      • There is a request in the works for approval of the specifications for the ACA 7m antennas. This sets the surface accuracy at 20 microns rms under the conditions when it is expected that true submm observing will be possible and only 25 microns at other times (essentially when the sun is shining on the dish). See Saito-san's Report
    • Current Project Schedule Forecast (prior to amelioration!):
    • ATF: (Peck)
      • Summary. ATF will operate thru 20 Dec, if at all possible. Laing to take over day-to-day scheduling 1 October, Peck to concentrate on OSF scheduling.
      • Present goals: (1) Getting software working (2) Developing procedures needed for AIVC, and (3) Training personnel
    • ALMA Science IPT wiki page
  4. Astronomer Outreach: ESO Newsletter New ESO Messenger with article on transporters, New NRAO Newsletter ALMA News. NAOJ News. NRAO ALMA Calendar
    • ESAC Report (Afonso)
    • ANASAC Report (Blain)
    • EASAC Report (Kohno)
  5. AOB
  6. Next Meeting

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 3
ASAC Telecon
Sep 9-11
ACA 7m antenna PPDR
Sep 12
Sep 15
ESAC f2f
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

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 - 02 Sep 2008

Topic revision: r4 - 2008-09-03, RichardHills
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