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The ALMA Observing Preparation Tool. NRAO / North American ALMA Science Center. Video versio ns of this material:. Click here. Registering with User Portal. To register for the user portal, go to either: (saves one step)

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the alma observing preparation tool

The ALMA Observing Preparation Tool

NRAO / North American ALMA Science Center


Click here

April 26, 2011


Registering with User Portal

  • To register for the user portal, go to either:
    • (saves one step)
  • Go to the User Portal to access:
    • ALMA info and news
    • Call for Proposals
    • ALMA tools and documentation
    • Helpdesk
    • Project Tracker
    • ALMA Science Archive

April 26, 2011

launch the application
Launch the Application

A couple of dialog boxes will pop up

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Hover over these icons to get help

  • New Proposal (Phase I)
  • Open project from Archive
  • New Phase I Science Goal…
  • Sensitivity Calculator …
  • Help!

Contextual help on proposal workflow

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  • Be alert to the presence of sliders, some information may be off-screen

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  • Stippled edges can be dragged to resize panes

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  • Arrowheads maximize and minimize panes

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a walk through of a simple example
A walk through of a simple example
  • Observe molecular gas in NGC 1097
  • Use CO (1-0) emission line
    • Rest frequency: 115.2712 GHz
    • Band 3 (2.6 mm)
  • Size of NGC 1097 is 9’ x 6’
  • The field of view for a single pointing at 115 GHz is ~ 45”
  • Single pointing of the nucleus
    • During ES, up to 50 pointing mosaics are allowed.

Synthesized beam w/400m baseline

NGC 1097 from S4G, Sheth et al. 2010

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Proposal Preparation Workflow – Using the Contextual help

Click through the tabs and follow the instructions on the left.

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Fill out these relevant fields

Proposal Title


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Fill out these relevant fields


Click here to set PI and co-Is

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Type in the name or username

An error may pop up

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Finding Help

  • If you get stuck on any step, look for the “?” Icon
  • Click on it to get help.

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Attaching the Sci / Tech Justification…

…as a single PDF file

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At any point you can check whether your proposal passes validation

Validation is required before proposal can be submitted

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What is a Science Goal in the OT?

  • A science goal is:
    • One correlator / front end setup in one ALMA band
      • spectral windows, rest freq, polarization products, line/continuum modes
    • Subject to one set of control parameters
      • spatial resolution, sensitivity, dynamic range
    • Using one mapping strategy
      • Mosaic or single-pointing
    • And one calibration strategy
      • User or system-defined
    • Applied to an arbitrary set of sky targets (field centers)
      • Each with its own LSR velocity
    • In ES all windows in one science goal must have the same bandwidth and channel spacing

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Describe your science goal if you wish – for the technical assessors (not required)

Enter in Source name

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Click on Spatial Tab to visualize observations

Red text indicates incorrect or missing value

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Clicking here opens the visualizer panel

Press Query to get the image from pre-loaded servers

- or -

Load your own image* (Galactic coordinates won’t work yet)

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Placing beams on an image

(the graphical method)

Enter frequency

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For Calibration Set up: Unless you have a strong reason for choosing User-defined calibration, then leave this as System-defined calibration.

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Currently supported modes for Cycle 0

Press here to add a line

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e.g. Type in “CO”

A window that can search Splatalogue will open.

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Double click on the transition

Now, the line list will be limited to those that can be observed at same time!

Transition moves into this window

Press here to accept selection

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Click on Spectral Tab to visualize observations

Atmospheric transmission

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CO line

Band 3

LO Range


Press here to change resolution

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Select correlator mode

Trade-off between bandwidth & resolution

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Can add up to 4 spectral windows – must have same resolution and bandwidth in Cycle 0

Location of windows is constrained

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A very versatile tool with lots of options

Note that the colors can be changed from the Preferences:

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Back to our example of NGC 1097

To get a 10σ detection on the faintest emission in the map requires ~10 mJy/beam in a 10 km/s channel.

The ALMA correlator gives 1.275 km/s channels; we will bin 8 channels to get to 10 km/s.

So required sensitivity in one correlator channel

~ 10 mJy/bm * sqrt (8)

~ 28 mJy/beam

Nobeyama maps of NGC 1097 (Kohno et al. 2003)

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Back to our example of NGC 1097

1.4”~ 110pc

Sufficient to resolve the ring

Press here to get an idea of how long it will take to do this

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ALMA with 16 x 12m antennas is very fast!

  • BUT be aware that your UV-coverage may not be ideal – we recommend that you use simdata to check

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Validation Step

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List of problems…

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See also: “known issues”

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The Atacama Large Millimeter/sub-millimeter Array (ALMA), an international astronomy facility, is a partnership of Europe, North America and East Asia in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. ALMA is funded in Europe by the European Organization for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO), in North America by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) in cooperation with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the National Science Council of Taiwan (NSC) and in East Asia by the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) of Japan in cooperation with the Academia Sinica (AS) in Taiwan. ALMA construction and operations are led on behalf of Europe by ESO, on behalf of North America by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), which is managed by Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI) and on behalf of East Asia by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ). The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) provides the unified leadership and management of the construction, commissioning and operation of ALMA.

April 26, 2011