April 2013 eNews

ALMA in the Coming Decade: A Development Workshop 2013 April 18

Al Wootten

A Workshop to provide information on ALMA Development will be held 18 April, with a Call for Proposals for ALMA Development Studies to follow soon after on 2013 May 1.

ALMA Early Science results have been pouring out, and more than 30 papers have now been published on a wide range of topics. Installation and commissioning of the final receiver bands funded for construction has begun. In commissioning and Early Science, ALMA has operated at wavelengths from 3mm to 0.3mm across a decade of nearly complete frequency access as enabled by its broad bandwidth receivers, powerful correlators and spectacular site. Having invested ~$1.3B to realize the biggest historical advance in ground-based astronomy, it is vital to maintain and expand its capabilities.

The ALMA Operations Plan envisages an ongoing program of development and upgrades that may include hardware, software, or data analysis tools. With a modest investment, ALMA will continue to lead astronomical research through the 2011-2020 decade and beyond. Construction of the first post-construction receiver bands, phasing hardware, and new data analysis tools has commenced in North America partially under a program of Development Studies submitted in response to a Call issued in November 2011. In response to that Call, 21 submissions were received involving 77 investigators from 26 institutions. After review by an external panel, eight proposals were funded; these are now reaching the end of their funding periods.

A new Call for Development Studies, followed by a Call for Development Projects, will be issued 1 May 2013. To support this new Call, an informational workshop will be held, with participation available via video and audio links, on Thursday, 18 April 2013 at NRAO headquarters in Charlottesville, VA. An overview of the current ALMA Development Plan and studies now under way will be given. The Workshop will be available via web stream and remote participants will have the opportunity to make presentations or to ask questions. To participate, please register via the website.

These Calls are intended to attract proposals for innovative ideas that address current and future scientific opportunities with ALMA. All interested parties located within the North American ALMA partnership are eligible to participate in these studies.

The primary aims of these studies are to:

give groups in North America the opportunity to propose ALMA upgrades that may later be implemented as part of the ALMA Development Plan; support the development of conceptual and detailed designs for ALMA upgrades; and encourage relevant long-term research and development in areas important for ALMA.

The completed studies will be used, together with similar studies from the other ALMA partners, to augment and implement the ALMA Development Plan.


At the ALMA Inauguration (see separate article) there were 55 antennas at the Array Operations Site. Since that time, one antenna has been moved back to the Operations Support Facility for maintenance.

  • NA FETMS assembled at the OSF.:
    IMG 5297.JPG

One highlight of the period was the reassembly and requalification of the Front End Test and Measaurement System (FETMS) at the Operations support facility by a team consisting of Effland, McCleod, Meadows, Buchanan and Gaines from Charlottesville. After the test system was reassembled, front end (FE) SN 61 was mounted to the tilt table. A subset of the measurements were then performed which had previously been done during FE 61 Provisional Acceptance In-house at the NA Front End Integration Center to verify performance. Handover will be completed at a scheduled review. The installation was reviewed by guests at the ALMA Inauguration, where a view inside the cover of one of the front end assemblies which had eight receiver cartridges installed was provided.

  • A view into the ALMA Front End: eight ALMA cartridges are visible, all except Band 1 nd Band 2.:
    IMG 5295.JPG

ALMA will spend the next few months concentrating on improvements to infrastructure and overall system stability. During this time, Early Science observing will proceed at a lower priority. The ALMA Cycle1 observing period will be extended from the originally announced end on October 31, 2013 until at least January 2014. The timescale for ALMA Cycle 2 will be announced in the near future.

Meet the NAASC

  • A view into the ALMA Front End: eight ALMA cartridges are visible, all except Band 1 nd Band 2.:
    IMG 5295.JPG
Topic attachments
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
IMG_5295.JPGJPG IMG_5295.JPG manage 4 MB 2013-04-01 - 13:18 AlWootten A view into the ALMA Front End: eight ALMA cartridges are visible, all except Band 1 nd Band 2.
IMG_5297.JPGJPG IMG_5297.JPG manage 3 MB 2013-04-01 - 13:17 AlWootten NA FETMS assembled at the OSF.
Ott.jpgjpg Ott.jpg manage 1 MB 2013-02-22 - 10:52 LyndeleVonSchill  
Topic revision: r2 - 2013-04-01, AlWootten
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