-- LyndeleVonSchill - 2010-10-28

NAASC Visitor Support Programs

Visitors to the North American ALMA Science Center (NAASC) fall into several general categories, depending upon the purpose and length of their trip.

NAASC Visitors are NAASC/NRAO employees visiting the NAASC to work with colleagues on joint projects.

"Short-term" and "Data Reduction" Visitors are ALMA users coming to NAASC for a week or less for expert assistance with obtaining the optimum results from their data.

Long-term visitors are scientists and engineers who would like to interact with Observatory staff to carry out research programs over periods of several weeks to months.

Because these programs have different audiences and goals, they will be discussed separately in this document.

General Information for All Visitors

Directions and Maps

A selection of maps and directions can be found on the NRAO Visitors webpage.

When arriving, please come in through the main door of NRAO Building (also known as Stone Hall). There is a phone located to the right of the foyer. You may call Lyndele at 0308, or walk through the foyer and follow the signs to "NAASC Reception."

Accommodations in Charlottesville

There are a number of hotel options available in Charlottesville. General information about recommended hotels, including driving directions from the hotel to NRAO HQ, can be found here.

Dining in Charlottesville

Google Map showing dining options near NRAO Headquarters and the Cavalier Inn

NRAO Facility Info

Mailing Address: 520 Edgemont Rd, Charlottesville, VA 22903

Administrative Support for the NAASC: Lyndele von Schill 296-0308 (0308 from within the NRAO building)

Normal Business Hours: 8:30-5:00pm

Operational Status Phone Number (in case of closings or delays): 296-0200

Telephone Instructions:
  • Local calls: Dial 9 + number
  • Long-distance: 9 + area code + number
  • International: 9 + 011 + country code + city code + local number

People and Office information

Building access: The lobby doors at Edgemont Road unlock at 08:30 and lock at 17:00 on normal working days; all other doors stay locked.

Information about phones, copiers, internet, etc.: Cheat Sheet

Getting to Charlottesville

For many visitors to the NAASC, air travel will be the best way to get to Charlottesville. Charlottesville has a regional airport (code CHO), and is within driving distance of the airports in Richmond (RIC, ~1.5 hour drive) and Washington DC (IAD and DCA; 2.5 and 3 hours, respectively, not including time spent in traffic). Charlottesville is also accessible by train via Amtrak.

Driving directions to the NAASC are given here.

More detailed information about traveling into and away from Charlottesville is maintained here.

What To Do in Charlottesville

Information about activities in the region can be found at:

Visits to NTC and the Center for Chemistry of the Universe

Visitors to the NAASC building at 520 Edgemont Rd may also be interested in visiting the nearby NRAO Technology Center (NTC) and/or the Center for Chemistry of the Universe (CCU). The scientists and engineers at the NTC perform innovative research and development of instrumentation and processing. The Center for Chemistry of the Universe is a National Science Foundation Center for Chemical Innovation that is developing our understanding of interstellar chemistry to the point where chemistry can be used as a primary tool for exploring the formation and structure of the Universe. Visitors should contact their friend to enquire about tours of NTC or CCU. To learn more about these Centers, follow the links below.

Center for Chemistry of the Universe

The Green Bank Telescope is a 2.5 hour drive from Charlottesville and offers tours throughout the year.

Data Reduction Visitors

For detailed information about visiting the NAASC as an ALMA Short-term Visitor, please see our Visitor Program webpage.

What the NAASC provides to Short-term Visitors

A NAASC staff member will be assigned to be the “friend” of the project, and will be the primary NAASC contact person for the visiting team. The friend will answer any logistical questions prior to the visit and will spend up to 2 hours per day with the visiting team.

The NAASC provides dedicated office space and high-end computing facilities for visitors. Special needs or plans to work on a private laptop computer should be discussed with the friend before arrival. Visitors should also discuss available methods for bringing their reduced data back home with them (external hard drive, ftp, DVD, etc.) before the visit. A copy of the data the visitor has been working on will be kept on the NAASC computers for at least a few weeks after a visit. That way, if there are post-visit questions, the friend of the project can look directly at the data, making it much easier to understand any problems.

After a visit, visitors will be invited to submit feedback on the service received and whether the goals of the visit were met.

Number of Visitors that the NAASC can support

The NAASC visitor program is limited by the availability of office space, funds to cover visitors’ travel expenses, and the time of NAASC staff to help visitors. The NAASC anticipates being able to accommodate two teams of visitors per week, with each team receiving up to 2 hours of one-on-one time with a NAASC staff member per day. A team may have up to three members, though funds for travel are restricted to 1-2 members per team, as described above.

How to arrange a visit

Astronomers wishing to arrange a visit to the NAASC may do so via a Helpdesk ticket to the “visits” category. A visit request ticket may be submitted at any time. A NAASC staff member will contact the ticket submitter to schedule and discuss the proposed visit. The visitor program is run on a space and resource-available basis.

The NAASC will provide assistance with travel arrangements, if requested, and can make the reservations and cover the costs directly if the visitor is receiving financial aid from the NAASC. Alternatively the traveler may make their own travel arrangements, subject to the restrictions described above, and request re-imbursement. Visitors are responsible for paying for their own ground transportation and meals.

What to do prior to an approved trip

  • Familiarize yourself with CASA
  • Familiarize yourself with the basics of interferometry (e.g., see this resource)
  • You will be contacted by a NAASC staff member to help arrange Charlottesville visit.
    • Flights
    • Hotel
    • Ground transportation
    • Reimbursement (if applicable)
  • Let your "friend" know of any special requirements you have for reduction and analysis of your data.
  • Arrange with your "friend" for a method to bring your data home with you.

ALMA Support for Canadian and Taiwanese ALMA Users

For more information on ALMA user support provided by the Canadian and Taiwanese ARCs, follow the links below:


ALMA Taiwan

NAASC Long-term Visitor Program

The NRAO encourages, and can provide financial support for, Ph.D. scientists and engineers in radio astronomy and related fields to visit any of its sites to interact with Observatory staff and carry out research programs; e.g., during sabbatical or summer leave from their home institutions.

We are particularly interested to support visits by young scientists who are junior faculty members at colleges and universities.

The terms of such visits are negotiable, and their length may range from a few weeks to several months. Support can range from paying for accommodation, per diem or travel costs, to providing summer or sabbatical salary supplements, according to need. For more information about the Visitor's Program, please contact Dr. Tim Bastian.
Topic revision: r28 - 2014-12-11, LyndeleVonSchill
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