-- LyndeleVonSchill - 2011-12-20


The 2012 National Radio Science Meeting in Boulder was held in Boulder, Colorado January 4-7. An update on ALMA was provided by J. Mangum, and R. Sramek presented a talk on ALMA System Verification. ALMA was well-represented at the 219th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Austin, Texas, 9-12 Jan 2013. About 325 astronomers attended the NRAO Town Hall on 10 Jan, which featured ALMA as well as other NRAO facilities. About 150 attended the ALMA Special Session held on 11 Jan. A Splinter Session 'Proposing for ALMA' was held held the evening of 11 Jan. A Community day Event was held in Berkeley, California, on January 13. Presentations were given on ALMA capabilities, the OT and CASA, followed in the afternoon with a hands-on data reduction tutorial.

Meet the NAASC

Meet NAASC Post-Doc Kimberly Scott


Kim Scott joined the NRAO last year in July as a NAASC postdoctoral fellow. Her primary research interest is in the formation and evolution of infrared-bright galaxies. Kim received her PhD from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (http://www.astro.umass.edu/) under the supervision of Grant Wilson. Her PhD work involved the detection and follow-up analysis of submillimeter-selected galaxies. These galaxies are some of the most massive starburst systems observed during the peak epoch of star formation activity, when the Universe was roughly a quarter of its current age. Before joining the NAASC, Kim was a postdoc at the University of Pennsylvania (http://www.physics.upenn.edu/), working with Mark Devlin and James Aguirre on the multi-wavelength and spectroscopic follow-up of submillimeter galaxies. She uses a wide range of complementary data from radio, infrared, optical, and X-ray telescopes to characterize the star formation properties, gas content, and prevalence of active galactic nuclei in these submillimeter-bright systems, with the goal of better understanding how they relate to the types of galaxies observed in the local Universe. While at the NAASC, Kim will work with Kartik Sheth to study the evolution in the stellar and gas distribution of galaxies over the past eight billion years, which will provide information on the physical processes that drive the build-up of the Hubble sequence.

Kim works in the user support group at the NAASC, helping out with NRAO community events, user documentation for ALMA, and the reduction and analysis of ALMA science verification data. She can be reached at kscott@nrao.edu.

ALMA in 2011 and Prospects for 2012

  • ALMA and the Southern Cross.
    ALMA SCross.jpg

Figure 1. ALMA makes Early Science observations under the Southern Cross photo by ??.

During 2011, ALMA Operations began in earnest with the successful Call for Proposals, which resulted in 2898 registrations at the ALMA Portal. Proposal submission was followed by the assessment of the 919 proposals submitted,. Scheduling and execution of the first batch of the 112 highest ranked proposals began on 30 September. By early December quality assurance and packaging of the first project datasets had finished and delivery of the first data packages to principal investigators followed. By the February shutdown, nine periods of Early Science have been executed on the growing array.

In addition, before Early Science, several science verification datasets were released on the ALMA portal to demonstrate the quality of ALMA data and its consistency with previous observations. Seven datasets have now been released; a paper on one of these public datasets has already been published.

ALMA construction completed the year with 20 antennas delivered from the three vendors. The three Front End Integrations Centers delivered 25 new Front Ends, or receiver packages, to outfit those antennas. The units in the antenna cabin through which the Front Ends communicate with the equipment in the Array Operations Site Technical Building (AOS TB) are called Antenna Articles; 66 of these were delivered by the end of the year, one for each of the planned 66 ALMA antennas. The Central Local Oscillator was also delivered and installed during the year—in a sense it forms an important part of the nervous system of ALMA, distributing and synchronizing signals across the array. The antenna stations for the central cluster are in the final stages of preparation, ready for the deployment of the Early Science Array into its extended configuration early in 2012. Thus far, ALMA has operated on a network of generators. During the year the Permanent Power System erection was completed—this is due for deployment on the array during February, improving the quality and reliability of the array electrical power.

  • ACA12m-small.JPG:

Figure 2 The Atacama Compact Array--five 7m antennas and one 12m antenna in this photo by Cat Vlahakis.

The year marked the beginning of the end for construction as some production lines manufactured their last units—the last of the four correlator quadrants was accepted—two quadrants were deployed at the AOS TB and a third installed while the fourth remained in Charlottesville for software testing. Receiver cartridges for the 3mm and .45mm bands completed production. Steel fabrication for the Vertex antennas was complete. All sixteen antennas for the Atacama Compact Array were delivered to Chile from Japan. The ACA with its initial complement of antennas employed its correlator to produce the first interferometric and total power data. The penultimate software release was deployed on the array and new releases of CASA software were released to the community for the further reduction of the delivered ALMA data.

ALMA construction will continue through 2012, which will see delivery of most of the remaining hardware. The most exciting prospect for 2012 is, of course, the expected publication of the first papers from Early Science. Some early results are making the rounds of science meetings already, whetting astronomers’ appetites for the announcement of the Cycle 1 Call for Proposals, expected within the next few months.

Upcoming Workshops

Carried over from Dec eNews

Topic attachments
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
ACA12m-small.JPGJPG ACA12m-small.JPG manage 565 K 2012-01-24 - 18:13 AlWootten  
ALMA_SCross.jpgjpg ALMA_SCross.jpg manage 146 K 2012-01-25 - 09:54 AlWootten ALMA and the Southern Cross. Credit ??
Topic revision: r8 - 2012-02-06, AlWootten
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