ATUC Meeting
Report to the Director

at the ATNF in Epping, Sydney

- September 23/24, 1999 -

Report to the Director.

The meeting was held at the ATNF Headquarters, Marsfield, on September 23/24, 1999. The closed session commenced at 9:30 and ended at 16:00 on Friday, the 24th of September 1999.

Members present: Dr. A. Green (Chair), Dr. B. Koribalski (Secretary), Dr. J. Chapman, Dr. E. Corbett, Dr. M. Costa, Dr. D. Jauncey, *Mr. S. Juraszek, *Dr. L. Kedziora-Chudczer, Dr. C. Lineweaver.
(* denotes replacements for non-attending ATUC members, see the list of apologies below)

Apologies have been received from Dr. R. Balasubramanyam, Dr. M. Britton, Mrs. M. Johnston-Hollitt, Dr. M. Sevenster, Dr. R. Sood, Dr. I. Stewart, Dr. M. Walker.

Ex-officio members: Dr. J. Reynolds, (apologies received from Dr. D. McConnell).

It is with regret that we record the resignation from ATUC of Dr. I. Stewart. We also acknowledge his contribution with appreciation and wish him well in the future.

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

(a) [Point 2] ATUC is concerned that the lower limit of 70% for the time available for astronomy on the ATCA and Parkes telescopes not be reached.

(b) [Point 4] ATUC applauds Narrabri's initiative for real-time data processing. The following points were noted:

  • a comprehensive log of the processing should be available;
  • on-line reduction will encourage use by optical astronomers;
  • advantages will be earlier publication of results and on-the-fly modification of observing strategies;
  • access of images for remote observers would be helpful;
  • a quality check should be provided for the reduced data;
  • more user feedback is required before additional resources are committed;
  • the production of an archive of calibrated fluxes for ATCA calibrators is a good suggestion. Does the early release of this data need TAC approval?

(c) [Point 7] ATUC requests a progress report on the spectral ripple investigations at Parkes.

(d) [Point 10] ATUC is satisfied with 40% of the telescope time allocated for overseas users.

(e) [Point 11] We urge that the proposed AIPS++ workshops be organised soon to accommodate university users as well as ATNF/AAO staff.

(f) [Point 13] ATUC is encouraged by the initiative to improve the AT list of calibrators.

New Business Matters:

  1. a) ATUC congratulates the ATNF on the successful outcomes of the Triennium funding.
    b) ATUC believes the ATNF has a responsibility for an increased outreach program. Outreach should include media coverage and public awareness as well as the educational aspects. We would like the AT Student Committee to organize a workshop to cover:
    • the effectiveness of current programs
    • better definition of outreach goals
    • improved media contact by researchers
    • the possibility of the appointment of a Creative Arts Fellowship to improve the public interface with the ATNF.

  2. a) ATUC considers that scientific involvement in the AMIBA project would be desirable, but it should not have a significant impact on ATNF resources. We encourage the Director to seek an innovative solution.
    b) ATUC is disturbed about the possible impact of the "access restricted to contributors" policy (a version of "user pays". We suggest that a model using reciprocal access be investigated. The HST model of funding successful US observers is worth noting.

  3. ATUC recommends signing of the MOU with SEST, which will include operational support along present lines. A review of the project within 12 months would be desirable, because considerable resources have been spent to date.

  4. The proposed receiver changes to Ceduna have been reviewed by the User community, and they are considered to have minimal scientific impact on VLBI research at this time.

  5. To avoid delays in setting the observing schedules, observers are strongly encouraged to provide more detailed information on time limitations on the proposal forms. ATUC recommends that observing schedules are posted on the Web at least 1 month before the start of the following term.
    In addition, it would be helpful if VLBI observers were better informed of the details of the session schedule.

  6. ATUC notes that there are no direct budget implications for the proposed Child Care Centre. We are happy to see it go ahead.

  7. ATUC would like to encourage the involvement of the university community in the SKA project.

  8. ATUC supports the initiative of the Parkes OIC to quarantine the live operational system and to allow modifications only after sufficient testing. Provision of adequate commissioning time after any modifications would be helpful.

  9. ATUC suggests that NAPAs be listed separately on the observing schedule web page. ATUC endorses that ToO and NAPA results be made publicly available promptly, and that links to these results be added to the web pages.

  10. ATUC requests a detailed report on the status of the 22 GHz calibrator source observations, including any polarization characteristics that have been measured.

  11. The next ATUC meeting is proposed for 9/10 March 2000, before the AT Steering Committee meeting, which is provisionally scheduled for 14/15 March 2000. The Joint ATNF/AAO Symposium is planned for the 16/17 March 2000.

Anne Green (Chair)