ALMA Programme News
ALMA Developers' Workshop
On 25-27 May 2016, a workshop with representatives from all the ALMA regions was held at the Chalmers University in Gothenburg, Sweden. The workshop, chaired by European ALMA Programme Scientist Leonardo Testi as part of the Gothenburg Centre for Advanced Studies (GoCAS) programme, was called to discuss ALMA Development in general and, more specifically, the call for EU development studies in the context of the ALMA 2030 development vision. Topics ranging from ongoing work in each ALMA region, hardware development (e.g. receivers, backend electronics, wideband correlators, and digitisers), software developments (e.g. improvements to the archive, array monitor, the ALMA Observing Tool (OT), and data reduction and analysis, as well as VLBI capabilities and fringe fitting), and complementary facilities and potential future ALMA capabilities were discussed in great detail, leading to a productive three day workshop
The 2016 ALMA Developers’ Workshop programme is available online at http://www.chalmers.se/en/centres/GoCAS/Events/ALMA-Developers-Workshop/Pages/Programme.aspx. Information about the EU call for studies has been disseminated to the EU ARC node representatives. For more information, please contact Leonardo Testi (firstname.lastname@example.org) or your ARC node representative.
Workshop on ALMA Band 2/2+3
In the two days prior to the ALMA Developers Workshop (i.e. on 23 and 24 May), a group representing each of the ALMA regions met to discuss plans and designs for ALMA Band 2 (67-90 GHz) as well as a combined Band 2+3 receiver (67-116 GHz). With the recent approval of Band 1 (31-45 GHz), Band 2 will be the last of the originally specified ALMA bands to be built. Advances in technology over the past 15 years have the enabled exciting possibility of a combined Band 2+3 receiver which would anticipate wideband ALMA upgrades.
The programme from the ALMA Band 2/2+3 Workshop as well as the talks are available at http://www.chalmers.se/en/centres/GoCAS/Events/ALMA-Bands2and3-Workshop-2016/Pages/Programme.aspx.
Advanced Study for ALMA Upgrades – Call for Proposals
In 2010 and 2013 ESO has issued two calls for development studies for upgrades of ALMA. In May the third Call for Proposal(s) has been issued. For more information, please contact Leonardo Testi (email@example.com) or your ARC node representative.
After passing the CDR (Critical Design Review) for ALMA Band 1, held on 19 and 20 January 2016 in Taipei (Taiwan), the ALMA Board gave the green light to the East Asian Executive to build Band 1 for the whole array. Starting this year, ASIAA will produce the Band 1 receivers for all ALMA antennas. Completion of the project, including integration into antennas, is anticipated for 2019/20.
The ESO project Band 5 full production and integration at OSF is progressing well. Receiver cartridge construction is ongoing at GARD (Sweden) and NOVA (Netherlands), and the integration into cryostats and antennas is carried out in Chile, with a staff in-kind contributions from NAOJ. By the end of May, a total of 20 Band 5 receivers have been delivered to Chile of which 17 were installed on ALMA antennas and passed the engineering verification. The on-sky Science Verification of Band 5 has been approved by the ASAC, and observations should be performed in the coming months upon receiving the green light from JAO management. It is anticipated that Band 5 can be offered for science in Cycle 5.
The construction of the ALMA Residence at the OSF has been progressing well is moving towards completion. In May, the buildings were connected to electricity (see figure), and handover of the central and the six dormitory buildings should be complete by end of August/beginning of September. After that, the outfitting of the kitchen, the dining and community rooms as well as the dormitories with furniture, IT infrastructure etc. can begin. This will take a few months to complete.
Natural Gas Pipeline for ALMA
ESO, on behalf of the ALMA partnership, is pursuing the construction of a natural gas pipeline from San Pedro de Atacama to the power generators at the OSF. Currently, the fuel for the ALMA power generators is brought to the OSF by trucks. A pipeline is a safer means of fuel transportation, and natural gas is a relatively clean and cost effective fuel for power generation.
Before being allowed and able to build the 24 km of pipeline, the detailed engineering and an Environmental Impact Study according to Chilean regulations need to be carried out. On 20 May, a major milestone has been achieved when the EIA (Estudio de Impacto Ambiental = Environmental Impact Study) – after a significant period of preparation, including field measurements and community meetings – was submitted to the Chilean authority SEA (Servicio de Evaluación Ambiental). After the formal check, the SEA admitted it on 28 May to the evaluation process that started on that day.