Issues affecting CASA mosaic imaging

The ALMA Observatory circulated a report of issues affecting mosaic images produced with CASA in ALMA Cycles 1-5.

Over the course of the last several months an issue in CASA mosaic imaging was recognized. The Observatory elected to understand and characterize the issue before informing the user community of potential impacts on the resulting images. The CASA team has now identified a couple of issues using both the 7-m and 12-m arrays over the course of the past few cycles and CASA releases. The full extent of the data affected is still being investigated.

You can read further details on the identified issues in this link to the Science Portal.

ALMA Cycle 6 Proposal Review: Detailed Report

A detailed report on the outcome of the ALMA Cycle 6 Proposal Review Process is now available. The report details the proposal review process, proposal statistics, and regional distributions, as well as the proposal distribution across science categories and receiver bands.

The report can be downloaded as a pdf document.

The highest priority Cycle 6 projects are listed at this link.

You can find the original announcement in the Science Portal.

New ACA observatory filler programs for Cycle 5

The ALMA Observatory announces four filler programs that have been approved on the Atacama Compact Array (ACA), also known as the Morita Array. The programs were designed to fill a gap in the ACA observing schedule in the remainder of Cycle 5 between LST of 22 and 1.5 h. The programs were selected based on input from scientists at the Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) and the ALMA Regional Centers (ARCs). The proposed programs were reviewed by the ALMA Integrated Science Team (IST) with final approval by the ALMA Director.

The approved programs are:

2017.A.00043.T: Time evolution of CO & H2O in the Martian atmosphere during a large-scale dust storm.
This project will monitor the evolution of CO and H2O in the Martian atmosphere during the recent dust storm.

2017.A.00053.S: ALMA ACA Band-8 observatory project: Mapping fine structure lines of neutral atomic carbon in local bright galaxies
This project will map the spatial distribution of the 492 GHz neutral carbon line in four nearby galaxies. The galaxies and map sizes are listed in the Table.
Galaxy Map size
NGC 7862 125″× 20″
NGC 55 90″× 30″
NGC 660 105″× 30″
ESO 353-G020 55″× 10″

2017.A.00054.S: ACA Observatory Project: SMC Band 6 CO and continuum mapping
This project will map a large area (~ 0.34ox 1o) toward the North bar in the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) in 12CO(2-1), H(30) alpha, and the continuum.

2017.A.00056.S:The nature of Planck compact sources at 353 microns
This project will conduct a survey of Planck sources at high galactic latitude in the Band 6 continuum to determine the nature of these sources. These observations could also potentially identify new calibrators for ALMA high frequency observations.

The data from the proposals will be quality assessed by the JAO and released through the ALMA Archive with no proprietary period. Any remaining PI science programs and activities to commission new capabilities on the array will have priority, and therefore the above programs may not be completed in full.

Link to the announcement in the Science Portal:
https://almascience.eso.org/news/alma-announces-new-aca-observatory-filler-programs-for-cycle-5

ALMA development roadmap for the next decade

The ALMA Board approved the ALMA Development Roadmap for the next decade. The current development priorities as based on scientific merit and technical feasibility, are:

  • to broaden the receiver IF bandwidth by at least a factor two, and
  • to upgrade the associated electronics and correlator.

These developments will advance a wide range of scientific studies by significantly reducing the time required for blind redshift surveys, spectral scans, and deep continuum surveys. In order of scientific priority, receiver upgrades are recommended for intermediate (200-425 GHz), low (< 200 GHz), and high (> 425 GHz) frequencies. The Board acknowledges that there are other potential development areas for the future for which the science cases and technical feasibility need to be further demonstrated.

A document summarizing the development priorities for the Observatory out to 2030 is presented here:

http://www.almaobservatory.org/en/announcement/alma-sets-development-objectives-for-the-next-decade

You can directly access the PDF document at alma-development-roadmap.pdf.

Picture: ALMA 7-metre antenna on a transporter. Credit: ESO

Cycle 6 Proposal Submission Statistics

A detailed report of the Cycle 6 Proposal Submission Statistics is now available at the Science Portal.
The report provides a summary of items such as the number of submitted proposals and time requested, subscription rates, and comparisons with the number of hours requested in previous Cycles.

The future of ALMA support at the 42nd ESO Users Committee

The ESO Users Committee (UC) annual meeting will take in Garching on 26-27 April, 2018. Each year the UC meeting has one session dedicated to a special topic. In 2018 this special topic is the future of ALMA User Support.

Therefore, the feedback from EU ALMA users would be particularly important. The UC has prepared a poll to receive the feedback from the community at the following link:
https://www.eso.org/extra/surveys/index.php?sid=34365

The poll will be active until **March 26th, 2018**.

The UC also welcomes input through the national contacts. You can find more details in the following announcement:
http://www.eso.org/sci/publications/announcements/sciann17100.html

ALMA Cycle 6 Call for Proposals in now open

The ALMA Director, on behalf of the Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) and the partner organizations in East Asia, Europe, and North America, is pleased to announce the ALMA Cycle 6 Call for Proposals. It is anticipated that 4000 hours of the 12-m Array time and 3000 hours of the Atacama Compact Array (ACA) time, also known as the Morita Array, will be available for successful proposals from Principal Investigators (PIs) in Cycle 6.

ALMA Cycle 6 proposal submission will open at
15:00 UT on Tuesday, 20 March 2018

The Cycle 6 proposal submission deadline is
15:00 UT on Thursday, 19 April 2018

You can find the Call for Proposals at:
https://almascience.eso.org/proposing/call-for-proposals.

In the following link you can also find a poster prepared by the EPO department at JAO with a summary of the new capabilities offered in Cycle 6:
ALMA_Cycle6_Capabilities_Poster

New Science Verification data available: High-resolution observations of HL Tau in Band 4

New Science Verification data are now listed on the Science Verification data page (source no. 15 on the list: HL Tau).

The observations are:

HL Tau high-angular resolution (~50 mas) observations in Band 4 (continuum-mode) with the 12-m Array
The raw data, calibrated data, reference images and reduction scripts are available for download here.

The original announcement can be found in the ALMA Science Portal.

Image: ALMA image of the young star HL Tau and its protoplanetary disk. This best image ever of planet formation reveals multiple rings and gaps that herald the presence of emerging planets as they sweep their orbits clear of dust and gas. Credit: ALMA (NRAO/ESO/NAOJ); C. Brogan, B. Saxton (NRAO/AUI/NSF)

Powerful New Hardware Approved for ALMA

The development of a new spectrometer for the Morita Array, which forms part of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), has been approved by the ALMA Board. Developed by Japan, the Morita Array is composed of twelve 7-metre antennas and four 12-metre antennas.

You can read the full text of the announcement in the EU ARC Announcements

Image credit: Denisse Lira – ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)

Updated ALMA Configuration Schedule for Cycle 5

The anticipated configuration schedule for Cycle 5 is available at the following link. The schedule was modified from that posted in the Cycle 5 Proposer’s Guide. The changes were made to optimize the schedule in response to the proposal pressure from the top-rated proposals in Cycle 5 and the adverse weather at the ALMA site that affected the configuration schedule at the end of Cycle 4. The most significant change is that Cycle 5 will begin in configuration C43-10 instead of C43-7, and then move to more compact configurations.

You can find this announcement at the ALMA Science Portal.