ATUC Meeting
Report to the Director

at the Mount Stromlo Observatory, Canberra

- March 20, 1998 -


Report to the Director.

Report to the Director on the Meeting held at Mt Stromlo Observatory on Friday, 20 March, 1998.

The meeting commenced at 13 00 and ended at 17 00. Members present were Dr A. Green (Chair), Dr B. Koribalski (Secretary), Dr L. Allen, B. Gaensler, Dr P. Jones, Dr N. Killeen, Dr M. Wieringa, Dr A. Wright and new members to ATUC Dr M. Britten, K. Brooks, Dr M. Costa and Dr C. Smith.

Apologies were received from Dr J. Bland-Hawthorn, Dr C. Heisler and new member Dr M. Sevenster.

The Chair welcomed the new members as well as the two representatives from the Mt Stromlo Observatory (Dr G. Bicknell and Dr B. Gibson) who were deputising for their absent colleagues. The Chair also noted that the meeting would be the last one in their current term of office for Dr L. Allen, B. Gaensler and Dr A. Wright. These members have made a valued contribution to the Committee and we appreciate this and wish them well in the future.

Matters arising from the Director's response to the previous report:

(a) [Point 7] ATUC would add a clarification to the policy for release of archival data, that requests for archival data, after the proprietory period has elapsed, be made to the OIC of the relevant telescope in the first instance or to the Director of the ATNF.

(b) [Point 7] ATUC accepts the rider suggested by the ATNF Astrophysics Group. In the case of disagreement between a student and his/her supervisors, ATUC recommends mediation by a third party.

New Business Matters:

  1. ATUC agrees with the priorities suggested for the distribution of unallocated time in the ATCA Observatory report by the OIC. ATUC recommends that the penultimate sentence in that part of the report concerning unallocated time be changed to read:

    "No astronomical observations should be knowingly in conflict with projects already submitted to the TAC by other people."

  2. ATUC recommends that a policy regarding observations of transient sources be clearly defined. ATUC suggests the following classifications:

    • Target-of-Opportunity (ToO): these are proposals ranked by the TAC and, if approved, are acted upon when the appropriate criteria are met. ToO projects may override scheduled observations at the discretion of the OIC.

    • Unexpected Astronomical Events (UAE): these are observations requested at short notice, and should be of extraordinary scientific interest. Time will be allocated at the discretion of the ATNF Director. No time should be allocated to a UAE for which a ToO proposal could reasonably be expected. For UAE projects which request substantial resources, a contribution to the observing effort from the proposers is required.

  3. ATUC recommends that additional resources be devoted to upgrading the AT calibrator list.

  4. ATUC assigns a low priority to equipping the new ATCA stations with a coaxial LO system as a temporary measure, before the full upgrade to an optic fibre LO takes place.

  5. ATUC recommends that additional resources be devoted to the reduction of locally generated interference at the Parkes Observatory.

  6. ATUC recommends that the proposed 10/50 cm Parkes receiver be given a priority of 1. However, before this project is undertaken, ATUC would like to see a proper resource costing. It is also important that the RFI excision developments be incorporated into the existing interference excision projects being carried out within the ATNF.

  7. ATUC approves the strategy of the Director in targeting the 1kT telescope as the next major initiative for Australian radio astronomy.

  8. ATUC recommends that a WWW-interface be provided for users to respond to the ATCA Observers' Questionnaire. The Duty Astronomer should bear the responsibility for completion of the form. ATUC suggests that questionnaires should be created to address VLBI (including the PTI operating with the S2 system) and Mopra observations.

  9. Recommendation of new members.

  10. A specific date was not set for the next meeting of ATUC, but it is expected to be sometime in November, 1998.

Anne Green (Chair)


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