An ASKAP antenna at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory. Image Credit: Ant Schinckel, CSIRO.




Quarterly update: December 2011


On 28th-29th September AAL hosted a small MWA Workshop at Swinburne University of Technology attended by delegates from MWA, CSIRO, MIT and DIISR. Following the successful and positive workshop, MWA submitted a detailed Project Plan to AAL specifying how a 128 tile array could be deployed by December 2012 using the available funds.

As a result on the 8th December AAL and Curtin University entered into an EIF sub-contract for the final $3.07 million towards the deployment of the MWA. The MWA team plans to achieve practical completion of the instrument by December 2012.

At the MWA Project Meeting in December at the University of Melbourne, plans for commissioning and operations were discussed and developed. AAL looks forward to the start of commissioning in late-2012, beginning when the first 32 tiles of the instrument are installed.

NeCTAR submission

In November AAL submitted a $3.67 million Virtual Laboratory proposal to NeCTAR. The proposal was crafted with input from many members of the astronomy community and was reviewed by AAL's Astronomy eResearch Advisory Committee (AeRAC). The proposal is for the first stage of a federated system of astronomy datasets and would federate data from SkyMapper and simulation data from gSTAR. Fifty percent of the funding for this project would be through in-kind and cash contributions from the project partners.

AAL expects to receive feedback from NeCTAR on the proposal in the coming weeks.

Creation of ASTAC

In November AAL created the Astronomy Supercomputer Time Allocation Committee (ASTAC). This committee is chaired by Prof Geoff Bicknell from ANU, and is tasked with allocating time on gSTAR, and the million CPU hours available to astronomy per year on each of NCI and the Swinburne Supercomputer. In December ASTAC assisted iVEC by allocating some of the astronomy time on Epic - the first stage of the Pawsey Centre.

Advisory Committee appointments

AAL has appointed new members to all of its committees for 2012. New committee members and meeting dates can be found on AAL's website.

AAL set a target of 25% female participation in its Board and committees from 1st January 2012, with a view to approximately equalling the proportion of female astronomers in Australia. This target was not achieved; however, female representation will increase from 11% in 2011 to 17% in 2012. AAL will again attempt to achieve the 25% target from January 2013.

AAL would like to thank everyone who applied to its committees, and thank those who are retiring from committees for their service.

2012 AGM

The next AAL AGM will be held in Sydney on 2nd November 2012.