The initial photogrammetric measurement of the subreflector surface has been completed. The
overall surface error of the 158 measured points was 0.0138" RMS, which is in close agreement
with CRSI's initial estimate of 0.014" RMS, based on theodolite measurements. Corrections for
each of the adjustment points were computed and the adjustments have been completed. The
expected subreflector panel accuracy is 0.004" RMS or less.
The truss work which holds the feed arm vertex platform has been fabricated and trial erected on
the ground. This will be lifted into place on the horizontal feed arm in one lift. Also, the frame
work that makes up the vertical cable wrap is now in place. The electricians have completed
much of the wiring in the servo cabinets for the azimuth and elevation drives.
Servo Tests of the feedarm servo have demonstrated that the system presently does not meet
the velocity specification for some trajectories. NRAO staff is working in conjunction with
CRSI/PCD to solve the problem.
A testing program continues to exercise all components of the feed arm servo on a weekly basis.
Junction box interiors are inspected monthly for traces of moisture, following replacement of
Metrology -- Production: Machine shop work on the instrument bases was completed in mid-November. The twenty-two base castings were then delivered to the vendor for anodizing. Custom stainless steel tooling balls for the mounts have been received, which completes the parts needed to assemble the instruments. A major program to assemble and calibrate 20 production instruments and spares has begun. An
agreement has been reached with The University of Arizona on reworking the spherical
retroreflectors which were returned to The Optical Sciences Center in mid-November.
Experimental Work: Additional RFI testing was conducted on the oscillator boxes. The 1500
MHz leakage was just above the detection threshold in the anechoic chamber. All of the
instruments were moved from the GBT to the 140 Foot Telescope and tested in mid-November.
About the same time, experiments with four instruments and three spherical retroreflectors were
conducted at the 140 Foot Telescope. These experiments should provide sufficient data to test
data analysis software. Then the instruments will be moved back to the GBT for the performance
measurements program and refractometer baseline experiments.
Performance Measurements Program: A rare and no longer manufactured autocollimating prism
(Wild GAP1), required to set the elevation bearing retroreflectors as well as other calibration
measurements, has been located and a rental agreement has been reached.
Monitor and Control -- The M&C group welcomes Arno Granados to its number. After
familiarization with the M&C system, Arno will work initially on bringing the software controllers
for the holography and DCR backends into shape for inclusion in the new release.
Progress on release 2.7 of the M&C software continues. More libraries were checklisted for
better compliance with coding standards and to fix outstanding bugs.
For development of the graphical user interface (GUI) for use by operators and engineers, tcl/tk
was selected. A GBT memo outlining this decision will be available shortly. Specifications for
enhancements to the GUI builder are being developed.
Electronics -- Atmospheric Monitoring System: The tipping radiometer to monitor the
atmospheric opacity at 3 mm has been completed and tested. Users can look forward to seeing
this data on the WWW in the near future. Initial results are consistent with expectations--a
satisfying fraction of the time the opacity is 0.1 or better.
Quadrant Detector III: After taking data for several days, it was realized that the system was
temperature sensitive. The power supply and modulation circuit have been placed inside a
temperature-controlled box and tests have resumed.
Accelerometers: Accelerometer data was recorded while the subreflector was being moved plus
or minus one centimeter at rates of 0.4 Hz to 1.1 Hz. Fred Schwab will analyze this data to
determine the amount of motion induced in the feed arm, to which the subreflector is mounted.
This test is clearly preliminary, as only the top end of the feed arm has been assembled and used in
Communications: The operations group has proposed video, telephone, and intercom systems for
telescope communications using fiber between the control room and the antenna. A search for
potential system vendors is underway.
Weather Station: The weather station that will eventually go to the GBT was moved from the
interferometer to Laser Station 10 at the 140 Foot Telescope. The station was installed and
connected to the 140 Foot control room via fiber optic cable. It was then recalibrated.
Receivers: Progress has been made on various receivers. In particular, the C band receiver was
reinstalled at the 140 Foot Telescope in early November, and except for short episodes of
warming on the 15K stage of the dewar, no problems have been noted. The warming was caused
by contamination in the helium supply. An attempt will be made to eliminate this problem by
installing a filter. The L band receiver was cooled in preparation for polarization calibration, noise
temperature measurement, and vacuum leak check. The K band receiver has now been running
cold for 7.5 months. VSWR and radiation pattern measurements were performed on the
450 MHz prototype.
Short Back Fire Antenna (SBFA): A second prototype SBFA with a conical reflector has been
designed in an attempt to increase pattern bandwidth.
LO Reference Distribution System: Construction of a 5 MHz distributor module has been
S.C. Smith, G.C. Hunt, T. Weadon, D.H. Parker and R.J. Lacasse
R.D. Hall and P. A. Vanden Bout
A two-part workshop sharply focused on the first observations to be made with the GBT will take
place in Green Bank from 1998 July 27 through 29. At least two days will be devoted to
astronomical observations with the GBT, and part of the third day will cover telescope
The workshop will begin with a tour of the GBT and status reports on the antenna, receivers,
backends, software, and operations. Potential users are encouraged to discuss their planned
observations, present the scientific rationale for them, describe their technical requirements, and
suggest improvements in NRAO support. Groups of observers with common interests in large
programs which can be scheduled immediately after commissioning (e.g., HI or pulsar surveys)
may wish to meet and plan joint proposals.
Some astronomers have also expressed an interest in the GBT commissioning observations. The
third day of the workshop will cover the observations and measurements needed to characterize
and improve the astronomical performance of the GBT.
All potential users of the GBT are invited to attend, although attendance may be limited by the
available facilities. There is no registration fee, and the NRAO will provide free room and board
in Green Bank. Limited travel support may be available. Additional information about the
workshop will appear on the GBT home page: http://www.gb.nrao.edu/GBT/GBT.html
Those who submitted proposals in November will be notified of their status in early January 1998.
A final deadline for new proposals is March 30, 1998. As the GBT is expected to be near
completion in late 1998, there will be a period of transition as some equipment now at the 140
Foot is moved. Detailed information on the phase-out of the 140 Foot will be placed on the web
site as soon as it is known.
After some remodeling in our Residence Hall, we now have two "quiet" rooms for visiting
observers. These rooms are particularly suitable for visitors using the telescope at night and
sleeping during the day. If you have any comments or questions about your visit to Green Bank,
please give Becky a call.
In 1998 serious prototyping of all the MMA instrumentation will begin. Indeed, there are paper
designs of much of that instrumentation already and the next step is to validate the performance of
those designs with prototype hardware. This same prototyping process will provide the basis for
a sound cost estimate to be made for the entire MMA project. For a synthesis array telescope
such as the MMA which is comprised of multiple identical elements, a prototyping phase to
initiate the construction project is an appropriate and well-suited project management approach.
The specific prototyping plans for the MMA will be presented to a NSF Project Review
Committee in February; their endorsement will be the basis for a recommendation to the National
Science Board meeting in May at which we hope to receive approval for the MMA spending plan.
Meanwhile, considerable progress has also been made in pursuit of international partnerships for
the MMA. The report of the joint MMA/LSA antenna working group provides a sound and
consistent basis on which the antenna costs for a common array can be evaluated. The dialog
between the LSA and MMA science working groups helped clarify issues of agreement between
the two communities and issues requiring further analysis. With these reports and analysis as
background, the possibility for a collaboration with the LSA was considered by the MMA
Advisory Committee (MAC) at the annual MAC meeting held this year in Chicago on November
15. The report of the MAC is given below by the committee Chair, Ed Churchwell. Finally, with
all of this as input, a still broader meeting was held in December with participants from Europe,
the U.S. and Japan present. Ideas were exchanged for how the efforts of all three groups could
be combined to the greatest mutual benefit; these discussions will continue on a regular basis.
With the encouragement of the MAC we are working with the LSA group in an attempt to define
a common project that would be agreeable to both sides and to define a management structure
that would enable the expertise on both sides of the Atlantic to be brought into that project.
There are many possible approaches to study, the analysis of which will take some time. We
expect the process to converge. While that process is in progress it is essential that the MMA
project meet the milestones of our stand-alone project yet keep open the expectation that
collaboration with the LSA and perhaps the Japanese LMSA groups will come to fruition in a
reasonably short time. I believe this can be done in a manner that keeps the MMA on schedule
should the current partnership initiatives fail and yet builds constructively toward the partnership
that the MAC, the MDC and all of us hope can be forged.
1) We strongly and unanimously recommend collaboration with the Europeans.
2) We recommend against a heterogeneous array.
3) We unanimously recommend that NRAO and the European partners focus a design effort on a
dish of 12 m diameter, giving careful consideration to the use of active metrology to achieve the
surface accuracy (25 microns rms) and pointing (1/30 of the primary beam at 300 GHz)
specifications. On a time scale of about six months the results, with both passive and active
metrology, should be reviewed by the MAC and other relevant groups (MDC, European
committees) to decide if the 12 m design is acceptable.
4) We believe that the "fall-back" issue should not dominate discussion about dish size.
5) We recommend keeping options open regarding a potential cooperation or collaboration with
the Japanese LMSA project as well as the potential incorporation of other international associate
6) The MAC recommends that anomalous atmospheric refraction not be included in the pointing
error budget of antenna designs.
7) In the context of an international partnership, attention needs to be focused on defining the
management structure of the MMA/LSA project. The MAC particularly recommends
establishment of a single international advisory committee, with balanced representation of the
various disciplines within astronomy, that would advise the combined MMA/LSA management.
8) The MDC has played and continues to play a critical role in the development of the MMA
project and we recommend that this important group, with its wide range of experience and
expertise, continue to be an integral part of this project, whether it is internationalized or not.
9) We recommend that an international meeting be held sometime within the next 12 to 18
months. The collaboration and antenna design issues should be clearer before the workshop is
held. Issues like the configurations, receiver suite, etc., should still be open to discussion and the
antenna design and institutional arrangements should be reviewed. This meeting should include a
meeting of the international advisory committee, but it may also involve a larger group.
10) We strongly recommend that software design and development for the MMA/LSA be placed
on an equal footing with receivers, antennas, electronics, etc. As with the other groups, it should
have a timeline and be periodically reviewed to determine if the timeline is being adhered to.
11) Finally, we commend NRAO on its willingness to pursue this collaboration and the efforts of
those working to make it a reality.
Committee remarks that expand on these recommendations can be found accompanying the full
text of the committee report that is on the MMA WWW pages under MMA Meetings that can be
accessed via the NRAO home page.
Ed Churchwell (MAC Chair)
To improve our documentation, we now have a technical writer on board, Kate Weatherall, who
is shared equally between AIPS++ and the MMA. As part of an initiative to increase knowledge
of our activities, we expect to issue a monthly email newsletter shortly. This will be edited jointly
by Kate and Bob Hjellming. This will be HTML-based and will provide information on latest
developments as well as links into our web-based documentation tree.
As part of a collaboration with NCSA, we have started development of parallelized code within
AIPS++. While this work is primarily targeted for massively parallel computers, it should also
benefit inexpensive systems with a small number of processors. If networking speeds are
sufficient, we will allow transparent access of NCSA hardware from Charlottesville and the AOC.
The first parallel applications will be available for the first limited public release.
Four of the five tracking stations now have compiled a fairly solid record of reliability. Tracking
passes no longer fail for unexplained reasons. Occasional failures due to hardware faults or
adverse weather conditions are being detected by tracking station personnel, who usually also
provide the first notification of failures on the spacecraft, typically resulting from scheduling faults
or mispointing of the data link antenna. The previous large constant delay offsets have been
removed, and recent progress has aroused some hope of eliminating the delay instabilities
currently exhibited by two of these stations at the level of a few hundred nanoseconds. These
four tracking stations now are substantially more reliable, in terms of both recording quality and
ancillary data, than many of the ground telescopes involved in the global ground arrays which
have become nearly universal in VSOP observations. There also has been some recent
encouraging progress in producing an accurate "time correction file," the principal obstacle to
using the remaining tracking station.
These developments have made possible several major steps toward integrating VSOP
observations into normal VLBA operations, with a goal of completing this process by February
12, 1998, the first anniversary of HALCA's launch. First, we are no longer loading and examining
all these observations in AIPS, but instead are using a specialized version of the "sniffer" software
routinely used to validate ground-based VLBA observations. Occasional apparent anomalies will
continue to be diagnosed using AIPS, just as is done with ground-based data. And as part of our
continuing development of Space VLBI data analysis techniques, selected observations still will
be carried through the entire process for test purposes.
Secondly, the standard delay and rate windows for VSOP observations have been narrowed--and
will be narrowed further if the delay instabilities can be cured. Despite this improvement, these
windows probably always will produce uncomfortably large data sets for many computer systems,
even at the minimum widths corresponding to the orbit reconstruction specifications.
Experience with VSOP observations led to a number of revisions in AIPS, included in the
15OCT97 release. It is strongly recommended that any site where AIPS is used to analyze VSOP
data upgrade to this version. UVFIX can now recalculate (u,v,w) coordinates for an orbiting
antenna. A new version of COHER has been written to estimate coherence times prior to
fringe-fitting. INDXR now accepts a list of times at which scans must be broken, so that AIPS
programs do not average or produce solutions for intervals in which tracking-station clocks were
reset. And hard restrictions on the size of the residual delay-rate space that may be searched have
been removed in BLING.
VSOP investigators based at U.S. institutions are reminded that assistance in analyzing their data
is available at our Space VLBI User Support facility. Reservations for the Silicon Graphics
computer system (described in NRAO Newsletter No. 71) may be requested by indicating data
type "VSOP" on the NRAO/Socorro Visitor Registration form. For an introductory period, the
NRAO Space VLBI Project will also pay the $150 deductible of the NSF-sponsored
J. D. Romney
VLBI at the VLA: Hardware and software upgrades, done during August, permit complete
computer control of the VLBI signal path and a simple one-to-one mapping of VLA to VLBA
IFs. A new 1 cm system was installed on VLA antenna 9 in September. Its receiver temperature
is about 30 K, roughly half that of the best VLBA receiver at 1 cm. In September, VLA antenna
9 became the default for single-antenna VLBI at all wavelengths except 7 mm (antenna 9 lacks a 7
mm receiver). [Contact - G. Taylor]
Instrumentation Tapes: Thick (26 microns) tapes were not accepted for correlation after
September. Many foreign stations were very successful in changing over to using thin
(16 microns) tapes.
Correlator Output Data Rate: Version 4.19 of the Correlator software was tested by AOC staff
during August and September and released for general use in October. With version 4.19, the
Correlator's maximum output data rate increased from 350 to 500 kB/s, thereby achieving the
design specification. Output file sizes were increased, so even at the higher data rates there
should be less fractionation of users' output into numerous small files. Data correlated with
software version 4.19 must be loaded with task FITLD from the AIPS release of 15APR97 or
Postpassing Speed: Postpassing instrumentation tapes can reduce tape damage but takes time.
Recent tests showed satisfactory postpass results at the rewind speed of 330 ips, faster than the
160 ips used previously. Postpassing at 330 ips was implemented on the Array in November and
on the Correlator with software version 4.19. [Contact - G. Peck]
Three Millimeters: Testing of the PT 3 mm system is continuing. PT participated successfully in
a number of CMVA runs during 1997. Installation of the second receiver at LA is expected in
January 1998. Recent tests of LO purity in the VLBA signal path indicate that no significant
coherence losses should be expected at 3 mm. [Contact - V. Dhawan]
Documentation: "The SCHED User Manual" was updated and the "OK-Modes" list now
includes validated Mark 4 modes; these VLBA documents can be accessed from the NRAO home
page. "VLBI at the VLA" was revised substantially; this VLA document can be accessed from
the NRAO home page.
In Progress: During the next few months, AOC staff will continue to test automatic tape
allocation (see the following article), pulsar gating, calibration transfer, and 512 Mbps. A project
also is underway to rebuild the operations software using Object-Oriented Java.
A.J. Beasley and J.M. Wrobel
This is proving to be a limitation on the scheduling of the VLBA, and, in particular, tends to
prevent us from scheduling short projects. Since the stations are not continuously manned, and
since the array spans seven time zones, it is not practical to mount a tape for a short project and
then have it removed and a new tape mounted for an immediately following project.
We are taking the first steps toward removing this limitation. The station software has the
capability of keeping track of what tape has been used at each station, and allocating tape as
requested by the observer. This software is being extensively used in a test mode now, and we
expect it to become the standard observing mode by early next spring. Observers will be
requested to put "autoallocate=1" (suitable for phase referencing observations, or others with
short scans) or "autoallocate=2" in their observe files.
Having this system working smoothly is one of two prerequisites for being able to schedule short
observations. The second is a software system for keeping track of the correlation status of all
projects on a tape, to ensure that the tape is not erased before all have been correlated. This is
coming as part of a major rewrite of the general correlator bookkeeping system, which is
currently quite cumbersome. It is anticipated that these software prerequisites will be available
sometime this summer.
As a longer term goal, the original VLBA concept also included the idea of dynamic scheduling,
in which the scheduling of the VLBA should be decided only hours in advance. This would
ensure, in a fairly automatic fashion, that observations would not be scheduled if stations they
needed were not available, and would make the system more flexibly respond to targets of
opportunity. There are as yet no firm plans for implementing this mode, but we shall shortly add
to the VLBA cover sheet an item requesting the proposer to tell us if the project is suitable for
|11 Feb to 04 Mar 1998||1.3 cm, 6 cm, 18 cm, other?||01 Oct 1997|
|27 May to 10 Jun 1998||1.3 cm?, 6 cm, 18 cm, 3.6 cm?||01 Oct 1997|
|09 Sep to 30 Sep 1998||1.3 cm?, 6 cm, 18 cm, other?||02 Feb 1998|
|11 Nov to 02 Dec 1998||1.3 cm?, 6 cm, 18 cm, 3.6 cm?||01 Jun 1998|
It is expected that European VLBI observing during this year will be dominated by observations
with the VSOP satellite.
It is recommended that proposers use a standard cover sheet for their VLBI proposals.
Fill-in-the-blanks TeX files are available by anonymous ftp from ftp.cv.nrao.edu, directory
proposal or via the VLBA home page on the WWW. Printed forms, for filling in by typewriter,
are available on request from Betty Trujillo, AOC, Socorro.
Any proposal requesting NRAO antennas and antennas from two or more institutions in the
European VLBI network constitutes a Global proposal. Global proposals MUST reach BOTH
Network's Schedulers on or before the proposal deadline date; allow sufficient time for mailing.
In general, fax submissions of global proposals will not be accepted. Proposals requesting use of
the Socorro correlator must be sent to NRAO even if they do not request the use of NRAO
antennas. Proposals for the use of the Bonn correlator must be sent to the MPIfR even if they do
not request the use of any EVN antennas. For Global proposals, or those to the EVN alone, send
R. Schwartz Max Planck Institut fur Radioastronomie Auf dem Hugel 69 D 53121 Bonn Germany
For proposals to the VLBA, or Global Network proposals, send proposals to:
Director National Radio Astronomy Observatory 520 Edgemont Road Charlottesville, VA 22903-2475 USA.
Proposals also may be submitted electronically, in Adobe Postscript format, to
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, respectively. Care should be taken to
ensure that the Postscript files request the proper paper size.
This meeting will be critical in the development of a formal VLA Upgrade proposal. We are
currently writing a "Design Document," which will include a great range of improvements and
extensions to the current VLA's observing capability. Included in the document will be both cost
and time estimates for implementation of the proposal. In preparing this plan, we have been
guided by the directions given in the "VLA Development Plan," which was produced following a
science workshop help in Socorro in January 1995.
We anticipate that by the middle of next year, we will have in hand a solid proposal for discussion
by the scientific and technical community. There will be many choices to make, for it is likely that
not all the improvements we are capable of designing will be both affordable or even desirable. In
many cases, improvements in one capability cause degradation in another, and there will be
tradeoffs to consider. And in some cases, the science goals may have changed significantly since
the last workshop, so it will be useful to review these.
Our goals for this meeting are to present and critique the technical plan, to review the science
potential in the upgrade, to modify the technical parts of the plan in the light of the science
drivers, and to permit a ranking of the diverse parts of the upgrade plan as a guide to future
Implementation of any VLA Upgrade will require both a good plan and solid support from the
observing community. This meeting will be an excellent opportunity to add your voice to the
effort. If you are interested in attending, please contact Rick Perley, by mail, by telephone
(505-835-7312), or by email (email@example.com).
R. A. Perley and R. A. Sramek
|Configuration||Starting Date||Ending Date||Proposal Deadline|
|D||31 Oct 1997||02 Feb 1998||2 Jun 1997|
|A||20 Feb 1998||01 Jun 1998||1 Oct 1997|
|BnA||12 Jun 1998||29 Jun 1998||2 Feb 1998|
|B||03 Jul 1998||21 Sep 1998||2 Feb 1998|
|CnB||02 Oct 1998||19 Oct 1998||1 Jun 1998|
|C||23 Oct 1998||11 Jan 1999||1 Jun 1998|
|DnC||22 Jan 1999||08 Feb 1999||1 Oct 1998|
The maximum antenna separations for the four VLA configurations are: A-36 km, B-11 km, C-3
km, D-1 km. The BnA, CnB, and DnC configurations are the hybrid configurations with the long
north arm, which produce a round beam for southern sources (south of about -15 degree
declination) and extreme northern sources (north of about 80 degree declination).
Approximate Long-Term Schedule
Observers should note that some types of observations are significantly more difficult in daytime
than at nighttime. These include observations at 327 MHz (solar and other interference; disturbed
ionosphere, especially at dawn), line observations at 18 and 21 cm (solar interference),
polarization measurements at L band (uncertainty in ionospheric rotation measure), and
observations at 2 cm and shorter wavelengths in B and A configurations (tropospheric phase
variations, especially in summer). They should defer such observations for a configuration cycle
to avoid such problems. In 1998, the B configuration daytime will be about 8h RA and the C
configuration daytime will be about 16h RA.
Time will be allocated for the VLBA on intervals approximately corresponding to the VLA
configurations from those proposals in hand at the corresponding VLA proposal deadline. The
VLBA spends about half of available observing time in coordinated observations with other
networks, with the scheduling dictated by those networks. In decreasing order of the time
devoted to the observations, these are HALCA space VLBI, Combined Millimeter VLBI Array,
geodetic arrays coordinated by GSFC, and Global astronomical VLBI with the EVN.
Any proposal requesting NRAO antennas and antennas from two or more institutions affiliated
with the European VLBI network is a Global proposal and must be sent to the EVN scheduler as
well as to the NRAO. VLBA proposals requesting only one EVN antenna, or requesting
unaffiliated antennas, are handled on a bilateral basis; the proposal should be sent both to NRAO
and to the operating institution of the other antenna requested. Coordination of observations with
non-NRAO antennas, other than members of the EVN and the DSN, is the responsibility of the
B. G. Clark
Use of the archive and its catalog is on the rise, and a number of problem areas with the catalog
have been pointed out to us. For instance, occasionally, visibility data in the archive do not have a
counterpart in the catalog, and sometimes fields in the catalog contain erroneous information.
These occurrences are rare, but we encourage you to report any problem you experience in
accessing the catalog. We need this feedback in order to unravel such bugs and make the catalog
more robust and complete. As soon as all data have been moved from 9-track to Exabyte some
time next year, we plan to spend a number of weeks completely rebuilding the catalog. We have
had no complaints about the contents of the archive itself.
We further improved computer resources for visitors to the VLA site. We added a second
workstation for use of the general observers at the site. This workstation, named puck, is located
in the visitors' office on the second floor. The main visitors' station, miranda, which had been
upgraded to a SPARCstation 20 earlier, received much more disk space. Visitors to the site are
encouraged to make suggestions for further improvement.
We recently have begun testing Solaris 2.6 on one of the visitors' workstations at the AOC. One
of its main advantages over previous versions is its support of file sizes greater than 2GB, which
is gaining increased importance when accessing large datasets in AIPS from e.g., the VLBA.
The AOC's anonymous ftp server has been moved to a dedicated system (still accessed as
ftp.aoc.nrao.edu) and now has considerably more space available to staff members and their
collaborators. However, due to a minor security incident in November, we have had to revise our
policy for access from outside NRAO. If you need to deposit files here for an NRAO colleague,
you will now have to use the directory path pub/staff/account, where "account" is the person's
first initial and up to seven letters of the last name. If this directory does not already exist, please
contact your NRAO collaborator so they can arrange for it to be created with the proper access
The public-domain "ssh" package is now supported on all AOC Sun workstations and the SVLBI
Silicon Graphics systems. "ssh" is a suite of encryption routines which prevent passwords and
other information from being transmitted over the network in the clear, thus making connections
immune to "sniffing." We encourage our user community to take advantage of this facility when
doing remote logins to NRAO computers.
The AOC's general-purpose system, zia.aoc.nrao.edu, was upgraded in October from a 7-year-old
Solbourne running SunOS 4.1.1 to a SPARCstation 20 running SunOS 5.5.1. NRAO's WWW
home page moved to the new system as well (still accessible as www.nrao.edu). However, any
Web-based interfaces to databases, such as the VLA archive, the library database, and the VLAIS
system, had to be kept on the old computer, now known as oldzia.aoc.nrao.edu. We believe that
all links in our web pages have been updated to reflect this change; please contact
"firstname.lastname@example.org" if you find any that do not work. Any personal bookmarks pointing to
these areas will have to be modified. Work is underway to move all database applications onto
Jon Spargo, affectionately known as "Dr. Delete" to many of our visitors (due to the dedicated
manner in which he removed old data from the public workstations in order to make them ready
for new users), is now full-time safety officer for NRAO/New Mexico. His previous
responsibility of assigning and organizing public workstation bookings has been taken over by the
G. A. van Moorsel
The timeline for the school is reproduced below. Further information, including the complete program, can be found at http://www.nrao.edu/~gtaylor/synth98.html. Electronic registration for the summer school is encouraged through this web page or via the form distributed in the last NRAO newsletter.
Important Dates for the 1998 Synthesis Imaging Summer School:
15 September 1997 First Announcement 1 February 1998 Early Registration Due 15 February 1998 Second Announcement (Participants) 15 May 1998 Early Registration Payment Deadline 1 June 1998 Contributions Due From Lecturers 17 June 1998 First Day of School 20 June 1998 Data Reduction Tutorial at AOC 21 June 1998 VLA Tour 23 June 1998 Last Day of School
G.B. Taylor and C.L. Carilli
1. The receiver dewar and cryogenics system have been tested. Tests indicated that it will be
possible to cool with eight SIS mixers, eight HEMTs, cold optics, cold LO tripler, and radiation
loading from the four windows.
2. Two receiver inserts have been constructed, cooled, and tested.
3. A new 6-wire SIS mixer bias circuit has been designed and tested.
At present, tests continue on some of the optical and local oscillator components that are adding
noise to the system. Construction is about to commence on the receiver frame, the warm optics,
and the remaining receiver insert parts.
12 Meter observations of the martian atmospheric CO absorption provide measurements of the
dust heating of the lower martian atmosphere (0-50 km). These measurements will provide early
warning to associated changes in the atmospheric densities to be encountered by the MGS orbiter.
During the past several months, 12 Meter measurements of the CO 2-1 absorption from the
martian atmosphere have produced the most accurate measurements of the pressure changes at an
altitude of ~70 km. These measurements show a very good correlation with the density changes
MGS has seen so far (up to +100%) at the aerobraking altitudes and above (110 km up to
170 km, when they backed off). Therefore, the 12 Meter measurements are now employed as a
primary indicator of Mars atmospheric behavior for MGS aerobraking decisions.
Due to power consumption constraints, during the January through March 1998 conjunction
period, the onboard instruments which measure the martian atmosphere will be turned off. This
means that other than the real-time spacecraft acceleration (engineering) measurements, the only
measurements of the martian atmospheric behavior will be those obtained at the 12 Meter. Since
this period occurs during a season when large global dust storms are known to start up, the 12
Meter measurements will be of critical importance to the MGS mission during this period.