Australia Telescope Users Committee

Report to the Director on the meeting held at the Australia Telescope National Facility,
Epping NSW on Wednesday 19th November, 1997

The AT Users Committee meeting commenced at 1315 and ended at 1630. Members present were Dr A Green (chair), Dr J Bland-Hawthorn, K Brooks, Dr M Burton (UNSW), B Gaensler, Dr P Jones, Dr N Killeen, Dr B Koribalski, Dr M Mazzolini, Dr J Reynolds (secretary), Dr E Sadler, Dr M Wieringa and Dr A Wright.

Apologies were received from Dr Lori Allen, Dr Charlene Heisler, Prof Peter McCulloch and Dr Simon Johnston.


The Chair thanked the ATUC members retiring after the present meeting; Keith Jones, Simon Johnston, Peter McCulloch (the longest serving member ever of ATUC), Margaret Mazzolini, John Reynolds and Elaine Sadler. New members Bärbel Koribalski and Kate Brooks, joining officially in 1998 but attending as guests, were welcomed. Michael Burton of UNSW, standing in for Lori Allen, was also welcomed.

Matters arising from the Director's comments on the previous ATUC report

ATUC suggests that the planned Synthesis Workshop be held early in 1998, to coincide with the start of the academic year and to complement a planned millimetre workshop to be held at Mopra in late 1998. We support a Swinburne University of Technology initiative to produce a WWW-based version of the Synthesis Workshop.

General Business:

1. ATUC notes the inconsistency in the documentation defining the high-frequency end of the band for the ATCA 3mm receivers. We recommend a minimum window of 85 to 100 GHz, so as to include the three most important lines.

2. ATUC notes the importance of establishing a set of calibrators suitable for mm ATCA observations. We suggest that targeted observations of known sources should take place before a blind survey.

3. ATUC accepts that some form of flexible scheduling for the ATCA is essential during some part of the year, once mm operations commence. We recommend that there should be a forum to discuss this issue. Points to consider include:

i) whether there should be priority programmes to optimise the scientific output;

ii) whether proposals for large backup projects at cm wavelengths should be solicited from the community.

4. ATUC is divided on whether resurfacing should be done first at Mopra or at Narrabri.

5. With regard to the N-S spur, ATUC recommends that the available railway track associated with the 6-km antenna be used, if proved cost effective. In the short term, having three mobile antennas for the N-S spur is acceptable. A complete shutdown period for ATCA will probably prove to be the most efficient way to proceed, but this should be minimised.

6. Providing that at least some part of the 13cm band is useable, ATUC recommends that the upgrades at this wavelength should proceed. We recommend that additional correlator configurations at narrower bandwidths be made available. If there is a choice, we suggest optimisation at the high frequency end of the band.

7. ATUC recommends that the process for release of archival data be clarified and enforced.

8. ATUC recognises the scientific value of the PTI. We accept that a transition to the S2 system is necessary, but recommend that adequate resources be devoted to assist users in this transition.

9. ATUC is satisfied with sub-day scheduling at Parkes. However, we recommend that the format of the observing schedules for all the telescopes, as available on the WWW, be reviewed.

10. ATUC recommends that a distinction be made in the ATCA schedule between "maintenance time" and "unallocated time", and that as a trial the latter be allocated for the next two terms at the discretion of the OIC.

Anne Green

Last updated: 8 Jan 1998