I'd just like to add my support to ALL of Andrew's comments. And not only is the reason for Mopra's summer closure not explicitly stated, but there is no definition of what "scientifically profitable" means. What is the benchmark?
Andrew Walsh wrote:
> >I noticed in the \"FAO\" document that there is mention of an ATCA science >meeting, similar to the Parkes meeting last year, to be held in March. A couple >of questions about this: > >1. March is pretty close now. Can ATNF please set a date for this ASAP, as I >would like to attend if I can? > >2. Will there be a similar meeting set up for Mopra science? > >------------------------- > >It may come as no suprise to some that I was disappointed at the announcement >that Mopra operations will not continue over summer. This is because I am >currently heading a major observing project on Mopra at 12mm this summer, >called HOPS. Observations continue as I write this. > >I guess that ATNF have decided to can Mopra over the summer because apart from >HOPS, there is only one other project making use of Mopra over summer and the >two of us don\'t make for a \"scientifically profitable\" telescope. However, >reading over the FAO document, I can see no reason for the closure explicitly >stated. My reading between the lines, inferences and grapevine hugging leads me >the above conclusion, although it would be nice to hear a reason from ATNF. > >Apart from the lack of a clear reason for this, I am also disappointed to read >that this is apparently a forgone conclusion (eg. page 14: \"February 2008 >Announce limits to Mopra single-dish observing season\"). I would have liked >the opportunity to discuss other options. Nevertheless... > >In the event that there is still time to change minds on this, I would like to >point out that there is great scientific potential for Mopra observing over >summer. With HOPS, we have clearly proven that 12mm observing can be conducted >successfully over the summer months. For a long time before this, it was a >commonly held belief that the weather is just too bad during summer for mm >observations. (If I had a beer for every time I had heard that, I would be a >rather well stocked bottle shop.) I would even go so far as to say that this >belief is still widely held today. Alongside this belief is a similar one about >7mm observations being impossible during summer. I remain to be convinced of >that one, but notice that some 7mm projects have been scheduled in October 2007 >and March this year on the ATCA. This gives me hope that 7mm science can be >successfully pursued with Mopra during summer. > >So what is the end result of these beliefs? Well, it makes astronomers slow to >take up new opportunities. We certainly saw this when the new 3mm receiver and >MOPS were installed on Mopra. As I remember, it took a couple of winters for >the interest and number of 3mm proposals to ramp up. > >It is my belief that summer observing with Mopra will become much more popular >as astronomers learn that yes, we can do useful science at 12mm in summer - the >weather ain\'t that bad, and yes, we can also do useful 7mm science too! > >In summary, I see the decision to close Mopra over the summer as premature, at >the very least, especially given that the new 7mm system has yet to be tested, >let alone broken in >with the astronomers. I urge the ATNF to reconsider closing Mopra over the >summer.