During the last few month, all Bure antennas were equipped with dual polarization receivers operating in the 2mm band from 129GHz to 174GHz (see also the contribution by Roberto Neri in this Newsletter). At the same time, the 1.3mm receivers were upgraded with new triplers that now allow to observe up to a frequency of 267GHz.
These upgrades came along with a complete exchange of the computer system on Plateau de Bure (real-time system, antenna control computers, ...) where the former HPUX and OS9 systems were replaced by 64-bit CPUs operated under LINUX. This hardware upgrade also required major modifications of the corresponding antenna control and data acquisition software in the real-time system. After some initial debugging, regular observing was resumed in December.
The new 2mm receivers and the extended tuning range of the 1mm band were successfully tested and commissioned during the Christmas period, the new frequency windows are offered to the community in the following Call for proposals.
The current winter semester has been suffering from extremely poor weather conditions until mid-February and only quite a limited number of 1mm projects could be finished by now. We moved the array into its C-configuration on November 4 and switched to the A configuration (that provides baselines up to 760m) on January 28.
Fortunately, the weather improved in mid-February so that most of the A-rated projects requesting the A-configuration could be observed by now.
It is planned to move to the B configuration around end of February and again to the C configuration by end of March. The switch back to the most compact configuration D is foreseen before the end of April. According to these plans, it will not be possible to complete projects requesting deep integrations using the compact configurations before the end of the current observing period.
As far as A-rated projects are concerned, we still hope to bring many of these to completion before the end of the current winter semester. B-rated projects are likely to be observed only if they fall in a favorable LST range. We remind users of the Plateau de Bure interferometer that B-rated proposals which are not started before the end of the winter period have to be resubmitted.
Global VLBI observations, which include the array in the 3mm phased-array mode, are planned from May 8 to 13, 2008.
Investigators, who wish to check the status of their project may consult the interferometer schedule on the Web at ../PDBI/ongoing.html. This page is updated daily.