ATUC Meeting
Report to the Director

at the ATNF in Epping, Sydney

- March 23, 1999 -


Report to the Director.

The meeting was held at the ATNF Headquarters, Marsfield, on Tuesday, March 23, 1999. It commenced at 13:30 and ended at 17:30.

Members present: Dr. A. Green (Chair), Dr. B. Koribalski (Secretary), Dr. T. Bourke, Dr. M. Britton, Dr. J. Chapman, Dr. M Costa, Dr. D. Jauncey, Dr. P. Jones, Dr. M. Sevenster, Dr. I. Stewart, Mr. D. Rayner, Dr. M Wieringa.

Apologies have been received from Ms. M. Putman and Dr. C. Smith.

Guests: Dr. J. Reynolds.

Appreciation was expressed to members retiring at this meeting for their valuable contribution to the work of ATUC: Dr. P. Jones, Ms. M. Putman (student), Mr. D. Rayner (student), and Dr. M. Wieringa. It is with regret that we record the resignation from ATUC of the following members: Dr. T. Bourke and Dr. C. Smith. We also acknowledge their contribution with appreciation. ATUC thanks them all the departing members for their input and wishes them well in the future.

Matters arising from the Director's response to the previous report:

(a) [Point 3] ATUC is pleased to see the development of an online interference database, and encourages its continued development.

(b) [Point 6] ATUC recommends that the workshop on flexible scheduling occurs within the next 12 months.

(c ) [Point 18] ATUC is pleased to see that ATNF AIPS has been updated to 15APR98.

(d) [Point 19] ATUC is pleased that CDs and exabytes will be offered to Users at a price reflecting current market value. We expect to be notified shortly of this price.

New Business Matters:

1. Issues concerning Triennium Funding (2000 - 2003):

For the budget plan for an increase of 20% in funding, ATUC has now assigned priorities to several additional projects for which science cases had not been previously presented. Where an equal ranking has been given to projects, they are listed on the same line.


  1. Increase in the number of postdocs
  2. Increased R&D for the SKA / Increase in resources for outreach programs
  3. 2GHz bandwidth upgrade for ATCA correlator
  4. Increased R&D for RFI mitigation
  5. Real-time fibre linked interferometer (ATCA-Mopra) / Full 7mm system
  6. Movement of 6-km antenna into 3-km array
  7. Develop Mopra as a National Facility

Operators for Compact Array: ATUC stresses that this proposal has major implications for the operation of the telescope and the training of astronomers, and is not prepared to rank this item before it has been discussed in the flexible scheduling workshop.

ATUC has not changed its position on the budget plan for a decrease in 20% of funding over the next Triennium.

2. Comment on the previous Triennium Plan (1997 - 2000):

Response to the "Objectives and Key Potential Outcomes 1997-2000 --- National Facility Operation" from the last Triennium plan.

1. Satisfactory operation of facilities. OK

2. Schedule at least 50% time for astronomical observing, instrumentation down-time less than 5%. With the current budget levels, ATUC considers that the target of at least 50% time for astronomy is too low.

3. Operational support for space VLBI and geodesy. OK

4. Provide tools and information for optimal science outcomes. OK

5. Public awareness through successful operation of visitor's centres. OK

3. ATUC consulted the ATNF performance indicator item #2 "Responsiveness to users of ATNF facilities, as measured by shifts in resources into priority areas agreed upon with the user community" in relation to this question.

As far flexibility allows, the ATNF does seem to be responsive to the User Community’s suggestions. We measure this responsiveness by the reaction of the Director to the recommendations of the ATUC reports.

4. ATUC is interested in the concept of real-time data processing, and is satisfied with the current level of resourcing. We consider that more feedback from users is needed in order to make a full evaluation.

5. ATUC considers that the issue of offering both the new compact E-W configurations (352 and 367) in the same Observing Term is a matter to be decided by the ATAC.

6. ATUC considers that it might be useful for the DA to carry a beeper, provided that it is not a source of radio frequency interference.

7. ATUC recommends a more extensive investigation of the modifications proposed to remove the spectral ripple at Parkes. Both hardware and software solution should be considered. We recognise that there will be an impact on some users from any increase in system temperature.

8. At the present time there does not seem to be a great deal of interest in the use of the Bonn polarimeter.

9. ATUC endorses the SRC proposal for a VLBI centre at Hobart, but defers discussion of the implications until the next ATUC meeting.

10. ATUC is concerned about the lower publication rate of Australian users compared to overseas users. We note that the percentage of overseas users is increasing and this may disadvantage Australian users. We ask the Steering Committee to review the allowed limit for overseas users. ATUC is split on what an appropriate level should be.

11. ATUC recommends that AIPS support be maintained at a minimal level while there is still significant user demand. ATUC supports the running of frequent workshops on AIPS++.

12. ATUC notes that there is a shortage of accommodation at the Marsfield Lodge, and recommends increasing the number of single rooms.

13. ATUC recommends that responsibility be assigned to someone for the maintenance and development of the AT calibrator list.

14. Concerning the request for funding by Kurt Liffman, ATUC feels strongly that all applications for support of this nature should be made through the appropriate channels. Approval for such an appointment by ATUC would be contrary to equity principles.

15. The next ATUC meeting could be scheduled as early as mid-September to assist with ATNF planning. Alternatively, two days in the first half of November would be suitable.

16. A list of names of possible new members was prepared for submission to the Steering Committee.


Anne Green (Chair)