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Observing proposals are invited for the IRAM Plateau de Bure Interferometer
(PdBI), for the period Nov. 15, 1997 to May 15, 1998. The deadline for
applications is September 8th, 1997.
The available frequency range will be 82 GHz to 116 GHz for the 3mm band,
and 210-245 GHz for the 1.3 mm band.
Details of the PdBI and the observing procedures are given in the
document ``An Introduction to the IRAM Plateau de Bure
(copies can be obtained from the address below, or
from Internet via the World-Wide-Web; use
IRAM's home page http://iram.fr/). Proposers should
read this document carefully before submitting any proposal.
Proposals should be sent to
IRAM Scientific Secretariat
Interferometer Observing Proposal
300 Rue de la Piscine
F-38406 Saint Martin d'Hères Cedex
IRAM expects to schedule and complete between 30 to 50 projects in this period,
with an elapsed time of at least two months between start and end of any given
project. Selection will be based on scientific merit, technical feasibility,
and adequacy to the instrument.
For this call for proposals, please note the following:
- Proposal Category:
Proposals should be submitted for one of the 4
categories defined below:
- Category 1:
- Proposals that ask for 3mm data ONLY.
1.3 mm receivers can still be used to provide either phase stability
information or purely qualitative information such as the mere
existence of fringes.
- Category 2:
- Proposals that ask for 1.3mm data ONLY.
3mm receivers will be used for pointing and calibration purposes, but cannot
provide any imaging.
- Category 3:
- Proposals that ask for dual-frequency observations.
- Category 4:
- Exploratory proposals:
Proposals whose scientific interest justifies the attempt to use the
PdB array beyond its guaranteed capabilities. This category includes
for example observing at non-standard frequencies for which tuning
cannot be guaranteed, and more generally all non-standard
observations. These proposals will be carried out on a ``best
The proposal category will have to be specified on the proposal
and should be carefully considered by proposers.
- Backup Projects for the May-Nov. 1997 period
Because of heavy antenna maintenance, backup
projects for the last period have not all been scheduled.
We urge proposers to re-submit them unless they have explicitly been
notified of their effective scheduling.
The available configurations include:
5 Antenna configurations|
|Name || Stations |
|D || W05 W00 E03 N05 N09 |
C1 || W05 W01 E10 N07 N13 |
C2 || W12 W09 E10 N05 N15 |
B1 || W12 E18 E23 N13 N20 |
B2 || W23 W12 E12 N17 N29 |
A || W27 W23 E16 E24 N29 |
With 5 antennas, the following configuration sets are available:
Set || Configs || Main purpose |
|D || D || ``Low'' resolution at 1.3 mm |
CD || D, C2 or C1 || 3.5'' resolution at 3mm, 1.8'' resolution at 1.3 mm |
CC || C1, C2 || Slightly higher resolution than CD. |
BC || B1, C2 || 2'' resolution at 3 mm |
BB || B1, B2, C2 || Better sensitivity than BC |
AB || A, B1, B2 || 1'' resolution at 3 mm, 0.5'' resolution
at 1.3mm |
There is a possibility of choice between
CD and CC arrays when the C2 configuration has been performed
for sources in which the resolution choice is unclear. At a higher
resolution level, a similar choice between CC and BC or BB is
- 1.3 mm band
All antennas are now equipped with fully operational dual frequency
receivers. Experience of the last winter shows that 1.8'' can
be easily reached (CD array). Sub-arc-second resolution has been
obtained on a few projects, but cannot be guaranteed.
Note that the field of view at 1.3 mm is very restricted (about 20'').
- Atmospheric Phase Compensation
Software is available to provide real-time atmospheric phase compensation
on spectral and continuum data, as well as a-posteriori processing
for continuum data. Experience shows that a final
phase noise below 30 degrees at 230 GHz is obtained under good circumstances.
- Dual-frequency operation
The 3mm and 1.3mm receivers are aligned to within about 2''.
- Signal to Noise
The rms noise can be computed from
- is the system temperature in scale (150 K below 110 GHz,
300 K at 115 GHz, 500 K at 230 GHz)
- is the conversion factor from Kelvin to Jansky (30 at 3mm, 50 at 1.3mm)
- is an efficiency factor due to atmospheric phase noise (0.9 at
3 mm, 0.6 at 1.3 mm)
- is the number of antennas (5), and is the basic number of
configurations (with 5 antennas 1 for D, 2 for CD, 3 for BC)
item T is the integration time per configuration in seconds (3 to 8 hours,
depending on source declination)
- B is the channel bandwidth in Hz (500 MHz for continuum, 40 kHz
to 2.5 MHz for spectral line, according to spectral correlator setup)
Below 110 GHz, receivers offer best performance in LSB tuning
with high rejection (20 dB): expected system temperatures are
(in scale) 100 to 150 K for the winter time. Above 110 GHz,
best performance is obtained with USB tuning, low rejection
(4 to 6 dB): expected system temperatures are 250 K at 115 GHz.
DSB tuning is possible over the whole frequency range, but the
system temperature may degrade significantly.
The 1.3 mm receivers give DSB tuning with typical T below 50 K.
Expected SSB system temperature are 250 to 350 K.
The guaranteed tuning range is 210-245 GHz, but it may be possible
to reach lower frequencies for specific cases. Higher frequencies are
not feasible because of limitations in the triplers.
- Coordinates and Velocities
The interferometer operates in the J2000.0 system. For best
positioning accuracy, source coordinates must be in the J2000.0 system;
position errors up to 0.3'' may occur otherwise.
Please do not forget to specify LSR velocities for the sources. For
pure continuum projects, the ``special'' velocity NULL (no Doppler
tracking) can be used.
Coordinates and velocities in the proposal MUST BE CORRECT:
A coordinate error is a potential cause for proposal rejection.
The correlator has 6 independent units, each being tunable anywhere
in the 110-610 MHz band, and providing 4 choices of bandwidth/channel
configuration: 160 MHz/64, 80 MHz/128, 40 MHz/256 and 20 MHz/256.
For the 40, 80 and 160 MHz bandwidth, the two central channels may be
perturbed by the Gibbs phenomenon (depending on continuum strength):
it is recommended to avoid centering the most important part of the
lines in the middle of the band of the correlator unit.
The 6 units can be independently placed either on IF1 (3 mm receiver)
or on IF2 (1.3 mm receiver).
- 40 kHz resolution
One (and only one) of the 6 units has been retrofitted to offer a
higher frequency resolution (40 kHz instead of 80 kHz). This is
obtained by operating at half clock speed and inserting an
anti-aliasing filter of effective bandwidth 8 MHz. Because the filter
reduces the input power to the sampler, this unit should be placed
near the maximum amplitude of the IF bandpass: band edges must be
- Sun Avoidance
For safety reasons, the sun avoidance circle has been extended to 45
degrees. Please take this into account for your sources and for the
The PdBI has mosaicing capabilities, but the pointing accuracy may be a
limiting factor at the highest frequencies. Please contact S.Guilloteau
in case of doubts.
- Data reduction
Proposers should be aware of constraints for data reduction:
Data reduction will be carried out on the dedicated HP workstations.
- In general, data should be reduced in Grenoble.
Proposers will not
come for the observations, but will have to come for the reduction.
- We keep the data reduction schedule very flexible, but
wish to avoid the presence of more than 2 groups at the same time
in Grenoble. Please contact us in advance.
- IRAM may consider splitting the data reduction in two phases:
intermediate calibration and final mapping. Such a splitting is often
necessary for the high resolution images. In such a case,
the proposers must be ready to come at IRAM for fast data reduction
of the ``compact'' configurations.
- CLIC is still evolving fast to cope with the evolution of
the PdBI array. The newer versions are upward compatible with the
previous releases, but the reverse is not true. Observers wanting to
finish data reduction at their home institute should obtain an updated
version of CLIC, which is now available. Because differences between
CLIC versions may potentially result in imaging errors if new data is
reduced with an old package, we insist that observers having a copy of
CLIC take special care in maintaining it up-to-date.
- Local contact
Depending upon the programme complexity, IRAM may require an in-house
collaborator instead of the normal local contact.
- Technical pre-screening
All proposals will be reviewed for technical feasibility in parallel
to being sent to the members of the Programme Committee. Please help in
this task by submitting technically precise proposals. Scientific
justification should be kept within 2 pages. Note that your proposal
must be complete and exact: velocities, position and frequency setup
must be exactly specified.
- Non-standard observations
Please contact S.Guilloteau in case of doubt about non-standard
The documentation for the IRAM Plateau de Bure Interferometer includes
documents of general interest to potential users:
More specialized documents are also available; they are intended for
observers on the site (IRAM on-duty astronomers, operators, or observers
with non-standard programmes):
Finally, we would like to stress again the importance of the
quality of the observing proposal. The technical preparation of
observing proposals is unfortunately often insufficient. In the past,
proposals were received which did not even include exact observing
frequencies or even source coordinates, or worse, with coordinates
with the wrong epoch !... The IRAM interferometer is a powerful, but
complex and unique instrument, and proposal preparation requires
special care. Information is available in the documentation, and the
IRAM staff can help in case of doubts if contacted well before the
deadline. Note that the proposal should not only justify the
scientific interest, but also demonstrate how the Plateau de Bure
interferometer will bring new information.
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Up: IRAM Newsletter 32 (July