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AtLAST Main Page

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Saved by Tony Mroczkowski
on August 31, 2018 at 11:39:15 am

Welcome to the Atacama Large Aperture Submm/mm Telescope (AtLAST) Wiki!



In order to prepare for astronomy in the 2020's and beyond, the time has come to start planning for a large submm/mm dish in the southern hemisphere with open access to a broad, international community.

Motivation for a new study


ALMA is the world’s most sensitive telescope from 0.3 to 3.3 (soon 10) mm. However, as an interferometer, its mapping speed for large areas is limited, and the largest angular scales it can access are limited to < 0.5 arcminutes at 3 mm, and more stringent at shorter wavelengths. We have come together to study on the scientific merit for and possible technical implementation of a large-aperture submillimetre/millimetre telescope (LST), a powerful next generation submm single-dish telescope to complement ALMA and to serve the future submm facility needs of the ALMA community, as well as astronomers worldwide who have not yet used ALMA.
The need for a submm telescope with excellent sensitivity, high mapping speed, and good angular resolution was recognized in the strong recommendation of an LST by the Astro2010 Decadal Survey, and by the continued efforts of the North-American, European, and Japanese communities to push such a next generation submm telescope. The worldwide community has advocated for such a telescope for over a decade. Now is a crucial time to begin preparing and organising more concretely to realise this goal.
In recent years, the science case for an LST has been made on numerous occasions and by numerous projects, most notably CCAT/CCAT-prime, the Caltech-led CSST, and the Japanese-led LST. In 2015, ESO commissioned a working group to assess the science cases and critically map them onto existing and possible future telescopes. The ESO Submm Single Dish Scientific Strategy WG Report concludes that existing single dish facilities will be very unlikely to remain competitive in the late 2020s, motivating the construction of a 25 to 50 metre submm-telescope that would “allow the ESO community to address effectively (and uniquely) a variety of compelling science goals well into the era of an upgraded ALMA.”

We have established working groups on science and technology aspects (email atlast@eso.org to get involved).  We have also hosted a community workshop, supported by RadioNet and ESO's Director of Science. We aim to build a partnership that might ideally map directly onto the current ALMA partnership.



Science and technology working groups

The working groups will conclude the first phase of the study by the end of 2018 with publically available white papers discussing the scientific and technical advantages of such a facility.


Topics to be covered by the WGs:

  1. New/unique science cases -- Review existing science cases and add necessary calculations. Some possibilities: high-z galaxies, Galactic star formation / ISM, stellar evolution, large scale structure / clusters / cosmology, planetary science, local galaxies, Galactic center. Directors: Pamela KlaassenJim Geach
  2. Site selection (altitude, distance from the center of ALMA, accessibility, infrastructure). Director: Carlos De Breuck
  3. Telescope Designs (surface accuracy, field of view, optics). Directors: Peter Hargrave
  4. Instrumentation (first light and beyond). Directors: Tony MroczkowskiOmid Noroozian
  5. AtLAST Operations (basic concept for how observations are conducted: remote/on-hand, hardware and software requirements). Director: Remo Tilanus.


Some topics to consider as well: 

  • Synergies with ALMA (i.e. will it be fully part of ALMA, and run as part of ALMA operations? Will it be used in e.g. ALMA long baseline, VLBI, or EHT campaigns?).
  • Complementarity with other major observatories in the 2020’s.



Workshop “Perspectives on a Large Submillimeter Telescope”

Wednesday 17 - Friday 19 January 2018, ESO Garching



Google doc directory with documents created for and during the workshop.  The presentations are available here: https://zenodo.org/communities/atlast2018.

We hosted a community workshop that brought together colleagues working on similar initiatives in the East Asian, Chilean, and the North American mm/submm communities.  Other previous workshops on LST science and technology were held in Cologne and Osaka in 2011, in Boulder and Tokyo in 2012, and in Tokyo in 2015.  The workshop provided a crucial forum for collecting insights and feedback to shape further evaluation and the final WG report. As an outcome of the workshop, our study is collecting and critically reviewing the existing science cases, identifying possible technical designs and their instrument / development options, assessing operational and technological ties with ALMA and exploring science synergies with both ALMA and future survey missions at other wavelengths such as E-ELT, Subaru, eROSITA, WISH, SPICA, and SKA. We will use the workshop to review the status, science cases, and capabilities of current and planned mm/submm telescopes. 

Roughly half of the workshop was reserved for discussion and planning for study reports.

The workshop took place at ESO Headquarters in Garching (Germany) on 17-19 January 2018, and was supported and coordinated by ESO, the University of Bonn, and RadioNet. This event has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 730562 [RadioNet].



Workshop II: "Science with the Atacama Large Aperture Submm/mm Telescope"

Monday 10 - Thursday 13 September 2018, Royal Observatory, Edinburgh


Related papers and presentations:

  1. Kawabe et al SPIE paper on the 50-meter Large Submillimeter Telescope (LST).

  2. ESO Submm Single Dish Scientific Strategy WG Report.
  3. GBT Science Case (millimeter) for the 2020s

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