IMPORTANT: This information is out of date as of October 2022.

For up-to-date information on observing support, please see here.

ATNF Scientific Support for Observers

We offer a range of support to all ATNF observers and enhanced support for visiting ATNF observers:

  • ATNF support staff
  • ATCA duty astronomers
  • ATCA friends (for visiting observers)
  • Parkes observing support
  • ATNF staff collaborators


Since 1 Oct 2014, by default all observations are carried from the Science Operations Centre (SOC) at the ATNF Headquarters in Marsfield, Sydney, or, from 2020 the Observing Rooms and the Space and Astronomy Kensington site in Perth, unless experienced observers have requested and received permission to observe remotely (e.g., from their home institute) in a timely manner. The ATCA Observing Portal and Parkes Observing Portal serve to book the observing sessions (please book two weeks prior to the scheduled time) and register as observer in charge when starting the booked session. Note that the COVID pandemic resulted in changes to the ATNF observing support model, allowing all observers to remote observe.

ATNF support staff

Assistance from local ATNF staff is provided upon arrival (during week-day work hours) at the ATNF sites in Marsfield, Sydney, or Kensington, Perth. Local staff will familiarise new observers with the telescope and the observing software, as well as assisting with setting up the telescope and with any technical difficulties that arise during the observations. For some technically difficult proposals, local staff may be involved with preparations prior to arrival at the telescope.

ATCA duty astronomers

The ATCA Duty Astronomer (DA) is generally based at the SOC, but can be located in Perth or at the ATCA (or, during COVID, remotely). DAs will help in the setup of ATCA observations and with any problems arising during the observations. The DA is not required to help with the ATCA observations.

ATCA friends

Observing projects scheduled on the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA) can be allocated an ATCA friend to provide assistance to visiting observers. The ATCA friend is usually a member of the ATNF Science Group. For proposals with ATNF co-authors, these are also the ATCA friends.

ATCA friends will help visiting observers - not remote observers - during the period of their stay at the ATNF Headquarters. In particular, they will

  • help with the preparation/checking of schedule files,
  • provide assistance with the data reduction (calibration, imaging, etc.), and
  • introduce visitors to the site, events and people.

Parkes observing support

First time observers were required -- pre-COVID -- to come to the SOC, to receive extensive training and assistance with schedule preparation and data reduction. This is now being provided remotely.

ATNF staff collaborators

The best outcome for proposers/observers who require an extensive amount of help is often achieved by asking an ATNF staff member to join the collaboration. The System Scientists for each telescope, listed in the call for proposals can provide assistance in identifying potential collaborators.

ATNF Staff Expertise

Listed below are some common techniques, eg. mm- and cm-wave spectral line imaging, employed with the ATNF facilities. An up-to-date list of Astrophysics Group members and their areas of expertise is available. Observers are welcome to email Astrophysics staff for collaborations.


Millimetre Spectral Line: Mark Wieringa, Maxim Voronkov
Millimetre Continuum: Jamie Stevens, Maxim Voronkov
Centimetre Spectral Line: Bärbel Koribalski, Joanne Dawson, Elizabeth Mahony,
Ivy Wong, Chandra Murugeshan,
Stacy Mader
Centimetre Continuum: Minh Huynh, Keith Bannister, Emil Lenc,
Mark Wieringa, Andrew Zic
Pulsar Binning: Simon Johnston, Charlotte Sobey
Polarization Imaging: George Heald, Alec Thomson,
Emil Lenc, Andrew Zic
High Dynamic Range and Widefield Imaging: Mark Wieringa, Emil Lenc
Spectral Line: Joanne Dawson, Ivy Wong, Bärbel Koribalski,
Stacy Mader
Polarization and Continuum Imaging: Alec Thomson
Pulsars: George Hobbs, Simon Johnston, 
John Sarkissian
  Chris Phillips, Cormac Reynolds, Tasso Tzioumis,
Phil Edwards, Maria Rioja



Page updated: 14-nov-2022 pge