Call for Public Surveys with the Arizona Radio Observatory

As part of the Agreement for transferring ownership the AEM ALMA prototype antenna to the University of Arizona to install it on Kitt Peak as a telescope of the Arizona Radio Observatory (ARO), ESO will distribute to its user community a total of 3600h of observing time on the ARO telescopes from 2015 to 2020. Following advice from the ALMA Science Advisory Committee (ESAC) and Scientific Technical Committee (STC), ESO has decided to dedicate this time to large scale Public Surveys with a strong scientific case and which will offer an important legacy value. In this third and final call, ESO will allocate up to 2000 hrs for surveys requiring the ARO telescopes.

The ESO time can be requested for the 10m SMT telescope on Mount Graham and/ or the 12m AEM antenna on Kitt Peak. The details of the telescopes, instruments and backends are available on the ARO webpages, and the status summary document. Public Survey proposals with visiting instruments  will also be considered, but will require a supporting letter from the ARO director confirming the possibility of installing the proposed visitor instrument on the telescope. Note the availability of the new ARO Wideband Spectrometer (AROWS) at the 12m AEM antenna, allowing to record two 4 GHz wide IFs. The old filterbanks will likely be decommissioned at the end of 2018. The final list of available receivers and backends will to be announced on the ARO pages at the end of August 2018.

A Public Survey is understood to be an observing programme in which the investigators commit to produce and make publicly available, within a defined time, a fully reduced and scientifically usable data set that is likely to answer a major scientific question, be of general use and of broad interest to the astronomical community. Each survey is envisaged to be a request no less than 500 observing hours to be allocated over several years (up to 2 years for this call). Observations will normally be carried out in remote observing mode following the ARO procedures.

The deadline for submitting proposals to carry out the large Public Surveys with the ESO time on the ARO telescopes is:

27 September 2018 12:00 CEST


The proposals will be reviewed by a sub-panel of the Public Surveys Panel, which will include submm experts appointed by the ESO Director General.The panel will provide recommendations to the ESO Observing Program Committee (OPC) on which surveys should be implemented as part of the ESO ARO time. Observations will be scheduled for the period starting in February 2019.

The ESO Director General will select the Public Surveys based on the recommendations of the Panel and the OPC, which will evaluate the scientific excellence and legacy value, and on the technical feasibility. The selected teams will be invited to prepare a survey management plan, which will include a detailed description of the data products and their proposed means of dissemination in the community.The approval by ESO of the survey management plan is mandatory before final acceptance of a Public Survey.

Please consider the following conditions:

  • The proposing teams will be responsible for carrying on the observations following the ARO procedures and the approved public surveys execution plans.
  • ESO will not provide support to the external teams for visitor observing runs.
  • No proprietary time will be granted. The ESO-ARO raw data will be made available to any group who will request access through a dedicated webpage, as soon as the data will be delivered to ESO by ARO.
  • Survey data products are to be prepared, archived and disseminated by the Survey Teams according to the survey management plans agreed with ESO.
  • The teams will be responsible for processing and validating the data products.
  • Regular survey data product releases are expected every year.
  • Progress of the approved surveys will be reviewed regularly by ESO. Corrective steps will need to be identified in cases where the survey execution is delayed, or the data product delivery schedule cannot be maintained.
  • ESO and ARO will jointly check the technical feasibility of the proposals before and after the initial data taking. If the observing strategy is not sufficient to achieve the science goals in the requested observing time, ESO reserves the right to terminate the survey.

Preparation of the proposals

The proposals should include the following items:

  1. Title, Abstract, Principal Investigator (PI) and list of co‐investigators (1 page)
  2. Scientific rationale (up to 2 pages, plus up to 2 additional pages for figures and references )
  3. Observing strategy, including instruments (ARO receivers and backends or visitor instrument) to be used (up to 1 page)
  4. Estimated observing time, including the distribution of observing time over the years (a maximum of three years is envisaged for this Call) (up to 1/2 page)
  5. Required observing conditions (precipitable water vapour) and survey strategy that takes into account realistic weather constraints (up to 1/2 page)
  6. Description of the relevant expertise and responsibilities within the proposing team (up to 1 page)
  7. Description of the data products and justification of their legacy value (up to 1 page). Please note that the legacy value is an important aspect of public surveys, which is carefully considered by the review panel.
  8. Up to two additional pages for figures, diagrams or references if required for points 3 to 7 in the above list.

Proposals can be prepared using the LaTeX template available on this page (see quick link top right). This needs to be submitted as a single pdf file via email to the address by the deadline. Proposers will need to make sure that the size of the pdf file will not exceed the email limit. Questions regarding this call should be addressed to the same address.

Currently running ESO-ARO Surveys

Three surveys from the two previous calls are currently ongoing as part of the ESO-ARO agreement.

Probing the Early Stages of Star Formation: Unravelling the Structure of Planck Cold Clumps Distributed Throughout the Sky

PI: K. Wang (ESO)

Abstract: Star formation studies in the last decades have usually concentrated on inner Galactic regions in the first and fourth quadrants. However, our knowledge about star formation in the outer Galaxy is so far only scarcely constrained. The arrival of the Planck cold clump catalog now offers a unique sample of outer Galaxy regions to set into context with the previously studied regions further inside our Milky Way. We propose to obtain 12CO and 13CO (2–1) maps toward 618 fields for which we have already obtained the J = 1−0 maps. Combined with existing Herschel data and other datasets, we will resolve the clump structure, derive the internal variations of density, turbulent and chemical properties, and also make a connection to Galactic structure. This survey will provide the first major step forward to characterize molecular clouds and star formation on truly Galactic scales.


The Forgotten Quadrant Survey: a high-quality 12CO/13CO survey of the 3rd Milky Way Quadrant

PI: S. Molinari / M. Benedettini (INAF-IAPS)

Abstract: The study of the global properties of the star formation process in our Galaxy have benefited from the surveys of the Galactic Plane at various wavelengths. The most recent continuum surveys have reached an ideal compromise between sub-arcminute spatial resolution, sensitivity and large spatial coverage, allowing the simultaneous study of dust structures from single star forming object/system to entire spiral arms. However, there is a serious lack, expecially in the 3rd Galactic Quadrant, of consistent spectroscopic data, providing vital distance and gas- kinematic information with compatible and homogeneous resolution and sensitivity. We then propose the Forgotten Quadrant Survey (FQS) to map the Galactic Plane in the range 190°< l < 240°, in a strip of ∆b=2° centered around a midplane that follows the Galactic warp, both in the 12CO and the 13CO (1-0) lines at a sensitivity limit of ∼0.7 K per 0.1 km/s channel. FQS will produce a well-calibrated dataset of great legacy value, largelly improving the data quality both in terms of sensitivity and spatial resolution over existing datasets.


MASCOT, the MaNGA-ARO Survey of CO Targets

PI: Dominika Wylezalek (ESO)

Abstract: Mapping Nearby Galaxies at APO (MaNGA) is a large survey, part of SDSS-IV, which aims to obtain integral field spectroscopy for an unprecedented sample of 10,000 nearby galaxies (Bundy et al. 2014). We are using the ARO 12m to obtain followup observations of molecular gas, via the 12 CO(1 − 0) emission line, in a representative sub-sample of 50 MaNGA galaxies. To date, large surveys for molecular gas in the local Universe have primarily
relied on spatially-unresolved optical ancillary data supplied by SDSS single-fiber observations. However, large IFU surveys such as MaNGA have been revealing a range of sophisticated diagnostics (including gradients of metallicity and star formation history), unattainable for a single-fiber survey. A joint IFU-molecular gas survey is ideally placed to open up new avenues of research, both answering a range of important science questions and providing
a wealth of legacy value to the community.