Meet the NAASC

Stuartt Corder


Stuartt Corder joined NRAO as a NAASC scientist on October 1st, 2010. He earned his Ph.D. in 2008 from the California Institute of Technology under the direction of Anneila Sargent along with Melvyn Wright of the University of California, Berkeley. His focus then was on commissioning the Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-wave Astronomy (CARMA), focusing on aspects of mosaicking and image fidelity. Between his Ph.D. and October 2010, he had been an ALMA postdoctoral researcher and Jansky Fellow.

He is currently stationed in Santiago, Chile, where he lives with his wife, Jennifer, and now three-year-old daughter, Vivian. His functional duties include working with the Commissioning and Science Verification team (CSV). Since July of 2009, Stuartt has acted as lead of the CSV Data Calibration Group. He also participates in a small group that defines and implements the observing scripts that drive ALMA observations. His current appointment is as CSV Liaison, mostly continuing his previous duties with CSV and supporting interaction between the NAASC and the Joint ALMA Observatory. His technical interests focus on interferometric mosaicking. His general scientific interests focus on star and planet formation in the local universe. Current, on-going research focuses on debris disks and kinematics in local star forming regions.

Stuartt will be relocating with his family to Charlottesville in April, 2012, after a three month stay in Socorro participating in RSRO with the EVLA. His NAASC duties will include user support with some continued effort in Chile.


Pre-registration for Jets 2012 open Aug 8th


The NRAO North American ALMA Science Center (NAASC) will host a science workshop entitled "Outflows, Winds and Jets: from Young Stars to Supermassive Black Holes" in Charlottsville, Virginia, 3-6 March 2012. The venue will be the Omni hotel, conveniently located near downtown Charlottesville. Pre-registration will open 8 August at the conference web site,

The year 2012 will offer remarkable opportunities for science at radio wavelengths. In addition to the much anticipated initiation of Early Science operations at the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), other upgraded NRAO facilities -- the Expanded Very Large Array (EVLA), Green Bank Telescope (GBT), and Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) -- will offer the research community unprecedented imaging capabilities, angular resolution, sensitivity, spectral coverage, and precision. This powerful NRAO telescope suite will enable astronomers to probe deep into the engines that drive jets and outflows from young stars to super massive black holes. This NRAO-NAASC workshop is an exciting opportunity to bring together the broad astronomy community and move our understanding of these spectacular phenomena forward.

ALMA Software Development Workshop


Abstract: NRAO will hold a workshop in 12-14th October to discuss software development plans for ALMA and closely related telescopes. The aim of the workshop is to come up with a set of ideas for software applications that will enhance the science output from ALMA and consortia willing to submit these ideas to ALMA development (both for seed funding via NRAO and, ultimately, full funding via the ALMA board) and/or the NSF directly. The workshop will concentrate on science data analysis of the large datasets that ALMA will produce. Topics will include line forest analysis, feature finding in large datacubes, matching data to simulations, visualization and compressive sensing. The meeting webpage is at

ALMA Science Verification Data

Al Wootten

July2011PlateauSnow.pdf.jpgFigure 1. Exceptional Snowfall has blanketed the Altiplano. ALMA is located to right of center on Llano Chajnantor. Photo: R. Hills. © ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)

In normal years, July may be counted on to produce the best submillimeter weather at Chajnantor. An unusual combination of weather systems has produced unusual amounts of snow in June and July this year. Altiplanic winds herded the snowfall into drifts against vertical barriers including the many ALMA elements now standing on the high plain. As a result, the arrival of the sixteenth antenna, a hallmark of readiness for Cycle 0 Early Science, was delayed a few weeks. Nonetheless, the science verification program continued, producing new data to be used to verify ALMA performance. Two science verification datasets were released in June, along with detailed guides to the reduction of the data.

One of these was an observation of the most luminous galaxy within about 40 Mpc of the Milky Way, NGC3256. The luminosity of the galaxy results from the merger of two gas-rich galaxies, now in its later stages. In the central region of the galaxy, an extreme starburst powers emission across the spectrum, particularly in the far infrared and submillimeter regions. Two nuclei, oriented North-South, lie about 5” (850 pc) apart, accompanied by hundreds of bright young clusters. The southern nucleus is highly obscured; molecular hydrogen emission peaks there (Pereira-Santaella 2010). Carbon monoxide emission was imaged in the J=2-1 line by Sakamoto et al. (2006) using the Submillimeter Array (SMA). A warm and turbulent disk of radius over 3 kpc rotates about a point between the nuclei, each of which hosts its own gas concentration. ALMA verification data were made in the J=1-0 line using the compact seven antenna array in place for commissioning in April 2011. Although the resolution of the verification image does not equal that of the SMA data, the distribution and velocity of the two CO lines is similar, particularly in the southwest and to the northeast. Note that CN lines were also included in the spectral windows available. The reader is invited to download and examine the data at

Note that a similar dataset and reduction guide for the protoplanetary disk source TW Hya at Band 7 (0.87 mm) is also available. The latter dataset has much finer channelization and requires about 100 GB of free disk space to exercise the data reduction.

At the end of July, sixteen ALMA 12m antennas are scheduled to be operating at the 16500 foot elevation Array Operations Site (AOS). At this point the array will be comprised of antennas from each of the contractors, all meeting the same specifications verified through the Assembly, Integration and Verification (AIV) process and fully outfitted for Cycle 0 Early Science. Work continues toward completion of the 5km array

N3256M0 comp.jpg(L) SMA CO (J=2-1) integrated intensity image of NGC3256. (R) ALMA Science Verification data. The CO(1-0) "moment 0" total intensity image of NGC3256, with contours of the velocity field overlaid. © ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)

ALMA Cycle 0 Proposal Review Process

From a JAO Newsitem posted to the ALMA Science Portal (

The astronomical community responded enthusiastically to the first ever ALMA Call for Proposals: 919 unique proposals were received by the 30 June deadline. Their distribution across the four ALMA science categories is as follows: 1. Cosmology and the high redshift universe: 20%; 2. Galaxies and galactic nuclei: 27%; 3. ISM, star formation/protoplanetary disks and their astrochemistry, exoplanets: 40%; 4. Stellar evolution, the Sun and the solar system: 13%. These proposals will be assessed by 8 ALMA Review Panels (ARP). Each ARP is composed of 6 Scientific Assessors (7 for Category 4) whose combined expertise covers the range of topics relevant to one of the four scientific categories. There are two ARPs for each of Categories 1 and 2, three for Category 3, and one for Category 4. The Chair and the Deputy Chair of each ARP will serve on the ALMA Proposal Review Committee (APRC). The APRC Chair does not belong to any ARP. Hence the total number of Science Assessors contributing to the Cycle 0 Proposal Review Process is 50.

ALMAProposalsReceived.pngPie chart of categorization of proposals received. © ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)

The proposals were made available to the Scientific Assessors on July 9. The review process consists of two stages. At Stage 1, each proposal is assigned to four members of the scientifically appropriate ARP, who must give it a score. The four individual scores are combined to compute a mean preliminary score. The scores and other input from the assessors will be used to identify the proposals that will proceed to Stage 2 – discussion at face-to-face ARP meetings. Each ARP will discuss approximately 100 proposals.

Staff of the Joint ALMA Observatory and of the ALMA Regional Centers will carry out the technical assessments of all proposals to be discussed at Stage 2. The outcome of the technical assessment will be made available to the ARPs, for their reference.

The 50 science assessors will participate in face-to-face meetings of their ARP in Santiago from August 15 to 17 to discuss the proposals. All proposals will be assigned one of four letter grades A to D: • Grade A: highest priority proposals. • Grade B: high priority proposals, which will be scheduled at a lower priority than grade A proposals. • Grade C: scientifically fruitful proposals, which will be observed as filler projects, only if a higher grade proposal is not available for the current conditions. • Grade D: proposals that shall not be observed.

After the individual ARPs have met, the APRC members will meet face-to-face on August 18 and 19, to review the ARP results and determine the final assessments across the entire set of ALMA proposals and to prepare the final recommendations.

The Principal Investigator of each proposal will be informed of the assigned grade and will receive a “consensus report” summarizing the scientific assessment of the proposal and key findings relating to any technical problems that have been identified. We intend to send these notifications in early September.

-- LyndeleVonSchill - 2011-07-12 -- AlWootten - 2011-07-28

  • NGC3256 Science Verification Data comparison:
    N3256M0 comp.jpg

  • Andes from Calama:
    From Calama.jpg

  • Andes from San Pedro:
    Cordillera from San Pedro.jpg

  • Andes from Afar:

Topic attachments
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
Cordillera_from_San_Pedro.jpgjpg Cordillera_from_San_Pedro.jpg manage 240 K 2011-07-28 - 10:17 AlWootten Andes from San Pedro
From_Calama.jpgjpg From_Calama.jpg manage 91 K 2011-07-28 - 10:13 AlWootten Andes from Calama
July2011PlateauSnow.pdf.jpgjpg July2011PlateauSnow.pdf.jpg manage 499 K 2011-07-28 - 10:18 AlWootten Andes from Afar
N3256M0_comp.jpgjpg N3256M0_comp.jpg manage 53 K 2011-07-28 - 10:12 AlWootten NGC3256 Science Verification Data comparison
N3256M0_comp.tifftiff N3256M0_comp.tiff manage 263 K 2011-07-28 - 10:07 AlWootten NGC3256 Science Verification Data comparison
corder.JPGJPG corder.JPG manage 2 MB 2011-07-20 - 15:43 LyndeleVonSchill  
Topic revision: r7 - 2011-07-28, AlWootten
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