ALMA Matters

Submitted by Gerald Schieven
(Cassiopeia – Hivers/Winter 2015)

Cycle 4 Proposal Call Pre-announcement

The JAO has issued a “Pre-announcement” for Cycle 4 proposals, the call for which is expected in March with deadline in April 2016. Among the new capabilities expected in Cycle 4 are:

  • at least 40 antennas in the 12m-Array, 10 in the 7-m Array, and 3 antennas in the Total Power array
  • ACA stand-alone proposals
  • 9 configurations with maximum baseline ranging from 155 m (all Bands), to 12.6 km for Bands 3, 4 & 6, 5.3 km for Band 7, and 2.7 km for Bands 8, 9 & 10
  • solar observing
  • millimetre-wave VLBI in collaboration with the Event Horizon Telescope

Cycle 4 Preparation

Shortly after the call is issued, the NRC Herzberg Millimetre Astronomy Group (MAG) will be holding web tutorials on proposing for ALMA. Details will be sent out in advance through the CASCA exploder and Canadian ALMA user email list (see below) for those who would like to participate. In addition, if your institution is interested in holding a local ALMA workshop, please contact gerald(dot)schieven(at)nrc-cnrc.gc.ca to discuss how the MAG can help.

Cycle 3 Canadian Statistics

Of the 1578 unique proposals submitted to ALMA for Cycle 3, 151 had some participation from people at Canadian institutions (36 as PI). Of these, 44 (6 PI) were awarded high priority (A or B) status, comprising 313 hours of the 2133 hours awarded (~15% of the total). In Cycles 1 and 2, projects with Canadian participation were awarded ~16% and ~11% of the total time respectively. Canadian PI projects were awarded ~18 hours in Cycle 3, roughly 2.6% of the North American allocated time. The number of Canadians involved in ALMA proposals is significant, with 55, 74, and 75 individuals as PI or co-I on all ALMA proposals in Cycle 1, 2 and 3 respectively.

As of October 25, there were 218 refereed publications using ALMA data. Of these, 37, or nearly 18% of the total, had authors or co-authors from Canadian institutions.

ALMA Development Studies

North America issued a call for proposals for ALMA development studies which were due in June 2015. A panel of highly qualified members of the astronomical community reviewed the study proposals. Seven Studies from 34 proposers representing ten institutions in the US and Canada fit within the funding envelope and were proposed for North American funding with the consent of the US National Science Foundation. One of the studies, “Digital Correlator and Phased Array Architectures for Upgrading ALMA”, involves participation by DRAO. Other approved proposals include studies to improve calibration in windows contaminated with atmospheric spectral lines, to enhance visualization of large data sets, and to improve the performance of ALMA’s SIS mixers. Funding will commence in 2016. Further details on these projects can be found in the December NRAO e-News.

Canadian ALMA Users’ email list

A new email distribution list has been created (to replace the previous list which was lost due to the cyber incursion at NRC) for Canadian users of ALMA. The moderated list will be used to distribute information of specific interest to the Canadian ALMA community. Please contact gerald(dot)schieven(at)nrc-cnrc.gc.ca to register for the list.

Data Reduction Party

NRAO is hosting a “Data Reduction Party” January 27-29, 2016, in Charlottesville, VA for people who have ALMA data and want to learn how to get the most science out of them. See this site for more details.

ALMA data reduction is very demanding on processing power and disk space. If you need assistance with ALMA data reduction in any capacity, the NRC Herzberg MAG may be able to help. Please contact Brenda Matthews (brenda(dot)matthews(at)nrc-cnrc.gc.ca) for more information.

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