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Roadmap to ALMA: Enabling VO Access to ALMA data

Roadmap to ALMA


The Atacama Large Millimetre Array (ALMA), a joint project between the National Radio Observatory (NRAO)in the USA and the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Europe, is under currently constraction in Northern Chile with Science Operations starting in 2007. The millimetre/submillimetre interferometer comprising 64 12m diametre antennas on a 500m high plateau, will routinely provide images with a spatial resolution higher than the Hubble Space Telescope and 100 times more sensitive than current instruments. ALMA is a key science driver in the PPARC astrophysics road map and promises revolutionary insights in many areas of astrophysics but especially the formation and development of planetary systems, stars and galaxies. e-MERLIN, the interferometer array of 6cm-wave telescopes across the UK, provide similar resolution images to ALMA but at a lower radio frequencies (1.3 - 24 GHz). At these frequencies e_MERLIN will provide a complementary window probing activity and star forming regions from the Milky Way to the highest redshift galaxies. The fundamental data product of a interferometer, wheteher ALMA, eMERLIN or optical interferometers like VLTI, is not collibrated images of the sky but rather calibrated measurements of the Fourier components of the sky brightness distribution (visabilities). It is these visabilities which the ALMA, e_MERLIN archive systems will store. A user of these data has the flexibility to specify how to combine these visabilities to produce images, spectra and other products with the appropriate resolution or other properies to meet their scientific requirements. In the Virtual Observatory (VO) environment, this flexibility demands a significantly different approach to VO interoperability for interferometer archives of other types of telescope; in general images and data cubes will need to be generated on the fly from calibrated visabilities to satisfy VO requests. For a typical ALMA dataset with an estimated size of about 0.1 TB, this will require significant computer resources.

Maturity: Initial Research
Region: UK
Type: Pilot
Grant Value: £300,000.00
Start Date: 01/04/2004
End Date: 31/08/2007
Project Status: funded
Funding Agency: PPARC

Project Members
Mr Gary Fuller

Collaborating Organisations

Component(s) Project Develops
This project is not associated with any components at present.

Application Area(s) associated with Project
Particle Physics & Astronomy


Last Updated: 22 Jun 12 11:02
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