ATCA Legacy Projects

CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science implemented a program of ATCA Legacy Projects in the 2016OCT semester. Legacy Projects are large, coherent science investigations, not reproducible by any combination of smaller projects, that generate data of general and lasting importance to the broad astronomy community. ATCA Legacy Projects typically require more than 2000 hours over the lifetime of the project, with the expectation of over 300 hours to be allocated per semester. Up to 25% of the observing time may be allocated to Legacy Projects. The original announcement was made in November 2015 and is reproduced below.

Selected Projects

Eleven Legacy Projects were submitted in response to the Call for Proposals for 2016OCT semester, and these were considered by an international Time Assignment Committee in early August, 2016. The panel was tasked with reviewing all Legacy Projects, and with making recommendations for a balanced program of ATCA Legacy Projects. Feedback on each proposal has been provided to the proposal teams. The call for Expressions of Interest proposed that Legacy Projects would be supported at the level of 25% of the available observing time. As there was, at the time, some uncertainty over the funding of the ATCA into the future, the TAC was advised that ATNF would be willing to support Legacy Projects at a higher level. The TAC recommended two projects be given the highest priority:

  • C3132, GAMA Legacy ATCA Southern Survey (GLASS): A Legacy 4cm Survey of the GAMA G23 Field,
  • C3157, Deep Imaging of the Circum-galactic Medium with ATCA​, (now named IMAGINE)

The TAC also recommended that two further projects be supported at a lower priority:

  • C3145, Dense Gas Across the Milky Way - The ‘Full-Strength’ MALT45
  • C3152, A Comprehensive ATCA Census of High-Mass Cores.​

C3132 and C3157 were allocated time in 2016OCT, with C3145 and C3152 commecning in 2017APR. ​ Links to the webpages of these Legacy Projects will be added as they are established.

A future call for ATCA Legacy Projects may be made as these projects near completion. ​

Expressions of Interest

A call for Expressions of Interest was issued in December 2015, with a deadline of March 9th, 2016. EoIs were solicited to gauge the level of community interest and to assist CASS in ensuring appropriate arrangements are in place to conduct and support Legacy Projects. In total, 15 EoIs were received, spanning a diverse range in science topics that make excellent use of the full suite of ATCA capabilities. The high level of community interest for these types of ATCA projects is particularly encouraging.

The submitted EoIs are available below. These were made available to enable teams to consider options for merging, data sharing or commensal observing, and for other astronomers to register their interest in joining a team. EoIs were neither binding nor mandatory, but for the reasons given above were strongly encouraged. While the call noted that CASS would organise a one-day workshop in April to discuss ideas for Legacy Projects in more detail, the breadth of projects, and level of consideration already given in developing them, has negated much of the need for a broad, community workshop. Instead, CASS was happy to facilitate meetings of sub-groups of the community, with each other or with CASS staff, to further develop ideas outlined in the EoIs. CASS also provided some general feedback to the designated contacts of the EoIs ahead of the full proposal submission in June 2015.

Submitted Expressions of Interest


Initial Announcement

After receiving advice from the Australia Telescope Steering Committee and consulting with the ATNF user community, CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science (CASS) has decided to begin a program of Legacy Projects on the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA), starting in October 2016. It invites the user community to submit Expressions of Interest for such projects by mid March 2016.

Legacy Projects will be large, coherent scientific investigations, not reproducible by any combination of smaller programs, that generate data which will be of lasting use and importance to a large section of the astronomical community. They are projects that will require more than 2000 hours' observing in total, and more than 300 hours per semester. They are distinct from, and will be additional to, the existing category of Large Projects, which are those needing more than 400 hours of observing time in total.

The ATCA is a mature, highly versatile radio interferometer, and is set to remain a forefront instrument until at least the completion of SKA1. Its broadband instrumentation provides high sensitivity for spectral-line, continuum and polarisation studies over an exceptionally wide frequency range (1--105 GHz), a range that complements those of ASKAP (0.7--1.8 GHz) and ALMA (> 90 GHz).

Summaries of the initial Expressions of Interest for Legacy Projects will be made publicly available by the end of March 2016, to allow teams to consider options for merging, data sharing or commensal observing, and for other astronomers to register their interest in joining a team. Teams will have to submit full proposals by mid June to be allocated time in the 2016OCT semester.

Legacy Projects will be reviewed by the TAC (augmented by additional expertise if required). From 2016OCT they will be allocated up to 25% of observing time on the ATCA. A call for Legacy Projects will be made about every two years, with the exact spacing between calls dependent on the number and length of projects already accepted.

There will be no proprietary period for the raw data from Legacy Projects. This is to maximise the scientific outcomes from the large fraction of observatory time they represent, and to enable timely follow-on observations.

Each project must release its value-added data or data products in a timely way: its rate of delivery will be assessed each year. Projects will also be re-assessed every three years in light of any changes in the external scientific environment. CASS will facilitate Legacy Projects in a number of ways.

  • We will allocate significant disk space on Marsfield machines for data reduction.
  • We will institute a residency program to allow Legacy teams to visit Marsfield for stays of weeks or months, so that they can receive help from Operations, Engineering and Astrophysics staff to develop or refine their observing or data-reduction strategy.
  • ATCA array configurations are currently offered in a manner that cycles through all 17 standard configurations in 18 months. For Legacy Projects we will consider scheduling the required array(s) more frequently.

We strongly encourage Legacy Project teams to include CASS collaborators, to incorporate local expertise.

The procedure for submitting expressions of interest will be announced in December. For further information, please contact:

  • Lisa Harvey-Smith, Head of Science Operations
  • John Reynolds, Program Director ATNF Operations


last update: 11-nov-2018 pge