ATUC Report to Director

12 April 2002

Preliminary Items

Apologies: Ramesh Balasubramanyan, Ravi Sood, Martin Zwaan, Tracy Getts, Simon Ellingsen, Tony Wong

Matters arising from Director's Response to previous ATUC report:

Items from previous report, item 6 c)

ATUC recognizes that the scientific priority set for projects may not be compatible with engineering or scheduling constraints. Would ATNF management find it more useful if ATUC gave a scientifically ranked listing of the development projects, updated as new items are added.

[action ATUC]

Matters arising from new business, item 6

ATUC recommends that information about the capability & availability of the Tidbinbilla dishes be available on the ATNF website. We reiterate the need for a Tidbinbilla facility proposal form, to be ranked by the TAC. At this stage it is noted that 22GHz is not available. We request that this form be available in time for the next round of proposals.

[action ATNF]

Matters arising from new business, item 13

ATUC congratulates the ATNF Director on guaranteeing continuing access to SEST and on potential access to the APEX telescope.


Matters arising from new business, item 15

ATUC repeats its support for the establishment of small groups to test AIPS++ intensively, involving outside institutions and the ATNF. The idea of a travelling roadshow is supported by ATUC.

[action ATNF]

New Business items

1. ATUC reminds ATNF that if Rm94 is converted to offices, open access to printers, copiers & workstations should be maintained for short-term visitors and students.

[action ATNF]

2. ATUC is keen to ensure there is no negative impact on the science outcomes fr om either MNRF1 or MNRF2 caused by the completion of one and the commencement of the other.


3. ATUC is concerned that there be an optimum match between technology advances and science outcomes from the ATNF SKA demonstrator program.

a)  We request that a summary of the engineering technologies that are possible under this program be provided by the project scientist before the next ASA meeting.
[action ATNF]
b)  ATUC will coordinate with the SOC to have a session at the next ASA General Meeting to discuss the SKA demonstrator science.
[action ATUC]

4. ATUC supports the ATNF draft strategic plan outlined by the Director, particularly that external research and development contracts are only accepted if they are relevant to the core business of astronomy.


5. ATUC considers it unacceptable that observing schedules are not released at least one month before the start of the next term. A significant fraction of the users are based overseas and travel arrangements require a long lead time. This is a high-priority issue.

[action ATNF]

ATUC suggests that ATNF management consider schedulers other than the OICs.


6. ATUC commends Mal Smith and co-workers for the progress on RFI mitigation at Parkes and encourages regular updates on the impact upon broad-band observing at all the observatories.

[action ATNF]

7. ATUC considers it is too early to make comments on the current flexible sched uling strategy. However we recommend that careful weather, data quality and telescope usage statistics at the ATCA are acquired, to assist in improving the flexible scheduling strategy.

[action ATNF]

8. ATUC recommends that an automated response be sent to observers submitting archive requests, advising the estimated timeframe for filling the request. We suggest a full listing of all RPFITS files be made available on the web, to enable astronomers to make precise requests for archive data.

[action ATNF]

9. ATUC makes no comment at this stage on long-term future science programmes for Parkes. One factor which may influence strategies is possible involvement of Parkes in SKA demonstrator experiments.

a)  Regarding the proposed Mars mission tracking project, we note two concerns - receiver availability and increased downtime from wind stows.
b)  ATUC asks whether it is possible to mount the 10/50cm, Mars tracking and the SETI receivers simultaneously?
[action ATNF]

10. ATUC requests there be no impact on mm observing at Mopra arising from the GPS tracking proposal.

[action ATNF]

11. ATUC is satisfied with the format and content of the VLBI facility report. We would like the report to include proposal statistics.

[action ATNF]

In order to encourage use of the VLBI facility, ATUC recommends:

a)  observers should be advised in good time of the VLBI block in which their project is likely to be scheduled
b)  schedule files should be requested at the time of notification of the proposal's success.
c)  observers should be notified when their projects have spent 11 months in the active queue, so there is time to resubmit.
[action ATNF]

12. ATUC recommends that observer support be provided by the ATNF for the LBA at Ceduna, to the level of two people for one VLBI block annually.

[action ATNF]

13. ATUC recommends all affiliated PhD students have a $500 publication budget during their candidature. This is instead of the 50% pro-rata page support. We support the Steering Committee's recommendation regarding the listing of student affiliations on publications.

[action ATNF]

14. ATUC accepts the new computer account naming and mail delivery changes but is concerned at the loss of flexibility in the forwarding of mail, and the loss of the capacity to change passwords from a unix prompt. Can CSIRO internal mail be filtered if needed?

[action ATNF]

15. ATUC requests guidelines for compensating the observers whose projects are overridden by TOO and NAPA.

[action ATNF]

16. ATUC members were polled and a list of potential new full and student members was forwarded to the ATSC. We would like to invite at least one representative of the engineering group to attend as an ex-officio observer of ATUC.


17. The 7/8 Nov 2002 was suggested as the date for the next meeting.

Anne Green (ATUC Chair), 30 Apr 2002