After receiving advice from the Australia Telescope Steering Committee and consulting with the ATNF user community, CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science (CASS) has decided to begin a program of Legacy Projects on the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA), starting in October 2016. It invites the user community to submit Expressions of Interest for such projects by mid March 2016.
Legacy Projects will be large, coherent scientific investigations, not reproducible by any combination of smaller programs, that generate data which will be of lasting use and importance to a large section of the astronomical community. They are projects that will require more than 2000 hours' observing in total, and more than 300 hours per semester. They are distinct from, and will be additional to, the existing category of Large Projects, which are those needing more than 400 hours of observing time in total.
The ATCA is a mature, highly versatile radio interferometer, and is set to remain a forefront instrument until at least the completion of SKA1. Its broadband instrumentation provides high sensitivity for spectral-line, continuum and polarisation studies over an exceptionally wide frequency range (1--105 GHz), a range that complements those of ASKAP (0.7--1.8 GHz) and ALMA (> 90 GHz).
Summaries of the initial Expressions of Interest for Legacy Projects will be made publicly available by the end of March 2016, to allow teams to consider options for merging, data sharing or commensal observing, and for other astronomers to register their interest in joining a team. Teams will have to submit full proposals by mid June to be allocated time in the 2016OCT semester.
Legacy Projects will be reviewed by the TAC (augmented by additional expertise if required). From 2016OCT they will be allocated up to 25% of observing time on the ATCA. A call for Legacy Projects will be made about every two years, with the exact spacing between calls dependent on the number and length of projects already accepted.
There will be no proprietary period for the raw data from Legacy Projects. This is to maximise the scientific outcomes from the large fraction of observatory time they represent, and to enable timely follow-on observations.
Each project must release its value-added data or data products in a timely way: its rate of delivery will be assessed each year. Projects will also be re-assessed every three years in light of any changes in the external scientific environment.
CASS will facilitate Legacy Projects in a number of ways.
* We will allocate significant disk space on Marsfield machines for data reduction.
* We will institute a residency program to allow Legacy teams to visit Marsfield for stays of weeks or months, so that they can receive help from Operations, Engineering and Astrophysics staff to develop or refine their observing or data-reduction strategy.
* ATCA array configurations are currently offered in a manner that cycles through all 17 standard configurations in 18 months. For Legacy Projects we will consider scheduling the required array(s) more frequently.
We strongly encourage Legacy Project teams to include CASS collaborators, to incorporate local expertise.
The procedure for submitting expressions of interest will be announced in December.
Lewis Ball, CASS/ATNF Director
For further information, please contact:
Phil Edwards, Head of Science Operations
Douglas Bock, Program Director ATNF Operations