ATUC Meeting

ATNF Director's Response

ATNF Director's Response to the 20 March 1998, ATUC Report to the Director.

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 proprietary period has elapsed, be made to the OIC of the relevant telescope in the first instance or to the Director of the ATNF.

    The procedures have been clarified - see the new information at

  • 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.

    The ATSC (April `98) recommended that the policy proposed by the TAC is thrown out. Instead of the policy statement, there should be a box on the forms where people agree that all data will be available after 18 months. A case can be put to the Director if extension of time requested. The students should work within the system as does everyone else.

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.

    The ATNF Steering Committee suggested further changes and requested a more concise policy statement on ToO observations. The following proposal developed by the Director and the TAC attempts to incorporate all the key points.

    The AT TAC recognises two classes of observations that cannot be scheduled in advance:

    • ToO:
      Unexpected astronomical events of extraordinary scientific interest for which AT observations on a short time scale are justified. Time will be allocated at the discretion of the ATNF Director. The request will be crosschecked with existing requests or observations to avoid conflict of interest.

    • Napa (Non a-priori assignable):
      Proposals of a non-claimstaking nature for a well-defined set of observations in response to a trigger which is unpredictable in time. Such proposals are encouraged if they are specific and helpful for planning a response. They will be evaluated by the TAC and assigned a scientific priority. If triggered they may displace any lower ranked proposal at the OICs discretion. The TAC may impose limits on the maximum number of triggers in a given term.

    In both cases the observations will be assigned a proposal number, reported back to the TAC, and entered into the archive database. Observers displaced by unscheduled observations have no special rights for access to the data. Results obtained from such unscheduled observations will be made publicly available as soon as possible although any follow-up observations approved by the TAC will be treated in the normal way.

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

    Due to work load in the last year, especially at Narrabri, we have been unable to commit the additional resources. We will at least complete the task of incorporating known calibrator information into the computer database.

  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.

    Noted and our current plans are not to do an interim co-axial L.O. system.

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

    ATNF has initiated a number of new procedures and is devoting increasing resources to RFI mitigation - see attached memo from P. Hall.

  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.

    A full project definition of the proposed 10/50 cm Parkes receiver is being undertaken. Full costing estimates will then be produced.

    A real obstacle in th completion of this project will be the engineering resources able to be brought to bear on it in the light of the current (and ongoing for a number of years) workload of the MNRF program.

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

    A report on 1kT progress will be given at the ATUC meeting.

  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.

    This is a good idea but does lead to the need for a coordinated effort to introduce a number of related web-based forms. We have started a design process in order to implement this in a systematic way.

    VLBI observers at Narrabri currently use the Narrabri questionnaire. We already have a questionnaire for Mopra. In both cases we will include VLBI specific questions. Station reports on the success of VLBI runs are available and we can provide these reports to ATUC.