The ALMA Director, Sean Dougherty, would like to share the following statement on observatory priorities during implementation of the Wideband Sensitivity Upgrade (WSU).
Announcement from ALMA director on observatory priorities during WSU implementation
Dear ALMA users,
The ALMA Observatory is committed to remaining on the cutting edge of delivering transformational submillimeter science for decades to come. The WSU is an ambitious upgrade to increase ALMA’s instantaneous bandwidth by up to a factor of 4, and with improved sensitivity. This upgrade will benefit all ALMA users and open new discovery space, as described in the ALMA WSU Science Case. This is a major change to ALMA; essentially it will deliver a brand-new telescope for the next decade.
The WSU upgrade is well underway, with the first wideband receiver, Band 2, in production and upgraded Band 6 and Band 8 receivers in development. In addition, a new correlator is under design, along with a new data transmission system and digitizers. The goal is to offer first science with the WSU by the end of the decade.
The WSU requires significant staff effort for delivery on this timescale. This has required re-prioritization of operational activities. This includes new observing capabilities being frozen over upcoming ALMA Cycles, except for prior development commitments such as Band 1 completion. Be assured the WSU is being implemented in a way that sustains ALMA scientific operations, but impacts on observing and operations can be expected.
The WSU is an exciting project that guarantees the future of the observatory and keeps ALMA at the forefront of astronomical research. I will keep you informed of project status and any impact on operations as the WSU progresses.
If you have any questions, or have comments or concerns, please contact your local ALMA Regional Centre via the ALMA Helpdesk at https://help.almascience.org/.