Science Highlight




ALMA Update: End of Cycle 0 and start of Cycle 1

Completion of Cycle 0 Observing and Distribution of Data Sets

The end of the inaugural “Cycle 0 Early Science” observing season for ALMA was completed with a 40-hr session over the New Year (December 31 – January 1). In Cycle 0, data were observed and processed on a “best efforts” basis; 96% of the 113 “Highest Priority” projects were fully or partially observed. So far quality-assessed data have been delivered to the PIs for project components (“Scheduling Blocks” or SBs) that reached the requested sensitivity. Over the next two months, remaining SBs that have obtained at least half of the estimated number of executions will be calibrated, imaged and delivered to PIs. Nine projects contain SBs that have been executed less than half of the estimated required number of times and consequently will likely not reach the requested sensitivity. Data reduction scripts and processed data will be sent to the PIs for those SBs. However limited effort will be put into flagging the data and imaging products will not be created.

Cycle 1 Early Science Observation Planning

The science program for the next observing season, “Cycle 1 Early Science”, was announced in November 2012. Observations for a subset of high priority projects within this program are being currently prepared and will start this month. The remaining “highest priority” projects will be prepared in several batches (as was done for Cycle 0), with the second batch prepared and approved by March 1, 2013. PIs of these projects will be contacted by staff from one of the ALMA Regional Centers (ARCs) or their affiliated nodes when the “Phase 2” materials for their projects are ready for review and approval. The Phase 2 process will closely follow that from Cycle 0.

Proposers of Target of Opportunity (ToO) projects that were awarded “highest priority” status will be able to submit triggers for observations that fulfill the selection criteria specified in their proposal as of March 1, 2013. They will do so using a dedicated web form accessible via the ALMA Science Portal. The PIs of the qualifying ToO projects will be sent full information about the triggering procedure in the next few weeks.

Also as of March 1, the Joint ALMA Observatory will accept proposals for Director Discretionary Time (DDT). Observing projects will have to fulfill strict criteria in order to qualify for usage of this channel, for which proposal preparation and submission requirements will be similar to those of regular Cycles. More details will be advertised soon via the ALMA Science Portal.