ALMA Matters


From / de Gerald Schieven (ALMA)
(Cassiopeia – Summer / été 2019)

Cycle 7 Supplemental Call and Distributed Peer Review

In Cycle 7, ALMA will offer an ACA (7m array plus total power) stand-alone Supplemental Call for Proposals. It is anticipated that the Supplemental Call will be released on 3 September 2019 with a proposal deadline on 1 October 2019. Since the Supplemental Call will follow the Main Call by five months, the Supplemental Call will maximize the scientific output of the ACA by allowing more timely science to be proposed. Proposals accepted in the Supplemental Call will be scheduled for observations between January 2020 and September 2020.

This call will also be the first test of the Distributed Peer Review (DPR) process, which the observatory is planning to use for the main call in Cycle 9. Proposals submitted in the Supplemental Call will be peer reviewed using a distributed system in which each proposal team selects a designated reviewer to participate in the review process. The designated reviewer may be the PI of the proposal or one of the co­-Is.

Each designated reviewer will be responsible for reviewing ten proposals submitted in the Supplemental Call. Each submitted proposal will be ranked by ten reviewers, and the final ordered list of proposals will be determined by an average of the ten reviewers’ rankings. If a designated reviewer does not submit their reviews and ranks by the review deadline, the proposal for which they were identified as the reviewer will be rejected.

For more information about the supplemental call and DPR process, including a list of frequently-asked-questions, see the article in the ALMA Science Portal under the Proposing tab.

Cycle 7 Proposal Statistics

The deadline for the main call for proposals for Cycle 7 was April 17. There were 1785 proposals submitted, requesting 19,338 hours of 12m array time and 9019 hours of 7m array time. This is down slightly from Cycle 6 with 1839 proposals requesting 19,705 and 13,614 hours respectively. The full report on Cycle 7 submission statistics can be viewed on the ALMA Science Portal. PIs from Canadian institutions submitted 43 proposals requesting 6,174 hours and 3067 hours of 12m and 7m array time respectively. This is also down slightly from Cycle 6, but still yielding an oversubscription rate (PI time requested vs the “nominal” Canadian fraction of North American time available) of 5.4 for the 12m array, and 2.9 for the 7m array.

New Horizons in Planetary Systems Conference

The 2019 NAASC science conference was held in Victoria, BC from 13-17 May. The conference, “New Horizons in Planetary Systems”, brought together researchers working on protoplanetary disks, debris disks, exoplanets and outer solar system science for a week of presentations and discussion about the constraints on planetary formation and evolution from all these subfields. In all, 140 researchers attended the meeting (see Figure 1). Feedback has been uniformly positive, which participants from all fields reporting how interesting they found the presentations outside their own areas of expertise. Work from ALMA and the New Horizons mission to MU69 was strongly highlighted, and the New Horizons Mission was the subject of a public talk associated with the meeting, given by Deputy Project Scientist Kelsi Singer.

Figure 1 – Conference participants.

In the News

Readers of this newsletter will have been hibernating if they missed the release, April 10, of the first ever image resolving the event horizon of a black hole. The Event Horizon Telescope is a worldwide consortium of astronomers and observatories, including ALMA which played a pivotal role in the observations. The image (seen in Figure 2) reveals the shadow of the event horizon of a supermassive black hole. Results from this campaign appeared as a series of articles published in Volume 875 of the Astrophysical Journal. The press release is available here.

Figure 2 – Image of the shadow of the event horizon of a supermassive black hole.

ADMIT Data Products

Recent recipients of ALMA data will have noticed that there are extra files along with their calibrated uv data. These are data products produced using ADMIT, The ALMA Data MIning Toolkit, which provide spectral line identification, moment maps, etc. In addition to the pipeline products, users can utilize ADMIT to perform a suite of spectral analysis tasks. More information about ADMIT can be found here.

ALMA2019: Science Results and Cross-Facility Synergies

The 2019 ALMA-wide conference, Science Results and Cross-Facility Synergies, will be held October 14-18 in Cagliari, Sardinia. The conference will focus the full breadth of ALMA science, with special emphasis on results from the first rounds of ALMA Large Programmes, the long baselines and high frequency capabilities, the new Solar and VLBI modes, as well as the synergy between ALMA and other observatories. Although the deadline is not until July 31, registration at the conference is already full and there is a waiting list.

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