The James Clerk Maxwell telescope has operated on Maunakea for over thirty years. The Observatory has continually focused on integrated, database driven operations solutions to improve efficiency, data quality and publication productivity. In the past two years, a series of advances have been made to automate the analysis and display of critical Observatory metrics - including detailed project tracking, scheduling and completion, through to a new publications database which provides Observatory scientists with the tools to look critically at the rate of science return as a function of project, instrument, science area and other factors. These new tools will be presented, along with the results of the metrics analysis, and ways such tools can be adapted to other facilities.
A three-cartridge cryogenic receiver system is constructed for the Greenland Telescope Project. The system is equipped with a set of sub-millimeter receivers operating at 86, 230, and 345 GHz, as well as a complete set of instruments for calibration, control and monitoring. It is single pixel instrument built for VLBI observations. With the receiver system, the GLT has completed commissioning of its 12-m sub-millimeter antenna and participated in global very-long-baseline interferometry (VLBI) observations at Thule Air Base (TAB). This paper describes the receiver specification, construction, and verification.
The Greenland Telescope project has recently participated in an experiment to image the supermassive black hole shadow at the center of M87 using Very Long Baseline Interferometry technique in April of 2018. The antenna consists of the 12-m ALMA North American prototype antenna that was modified to support two auxiliary side containers and to withstand an extremely cold environment. The telescope is currently at Thule Air Base in Greenland with the long-term goal to move the telescope over the Greenland ice sheet to Summit Station. The GLT currently has a single cryostat which houses three dual polarization receivers that cover 84-96 GHz, 213-243 GHz and 271-377 GHz bands. A hydrogen maser frequency source in conjunction with high frequency synthesizers are used to generate the local oscillator references for the receivers. The intermediate frequency outputs of each receiver cover 4-8 GHz and are heterodyned to baseband for digitization within a set of ROACH-2 units then formatted for recording onto Mark-6 data recorders. A separate set of ROACH-2 units operating in parallel provides the function of auto-correlation for real-time spectral analysis. Due to the stringent instrumental stability requirements for interferometry a diagnostic test system was incorporated into the design. Tying all of the above equipment together is the fiber optic system designed to operate in a low temperature environment and scalable to accommodate a larger distance between the control module and telescope for Summit Station. A report on the progress of the above electronics instrumentation system will be provided.
The Greenland Telescope (GLT) project and the East Asian Observatory (EAO) successfully commissioned the first light GLT instrument at the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) in Hawaii, prior to transferring the instrument to Greenland. The GLT instrument which comprises of a cryostat with three cartridge-type receivers (at 86GHz, 230GHz and 345GHz) was installed into the receiver cabin of JCMT and operated in three modes: - (a) Regular JCMT observing with the GLT instrument, using ACSIS, (JCMT’s autocorrelation spectrometer) as the backend and JCMT software for telescope control, data reduction, pointing and antenna focus adjustment. (b) Single dish observations of astronomical spectral line sources, recording data onto mark 6 recorders for offline data reduction. (c) eSMA interferometer array observations at 230GHz in conjunction with the SMA. In this paper, we report on the installation and integration of the GLT instrument at JCMT, present results from commissioning and show how the success of the GLT instrument commissioning fits with our plans for future instrumentation at JCMT.
The Greenland Telescope Project (GLT) has successfully commissioned its 12-m sub-millimeter. In January 2018, the fringes were detected between the GLT and the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) during a very-long-baseline interferometry (VLBI) exercise. In April 2018, the telescope participated in global VLBI science observations at Thule Air Base (TAB). The telescope has been completely rebuilt, with many new components, from the ALMA NA (North America) Prototype antenna and equipped with a new set of sub-millimeter receivers operating at 86, 230, and 345 GHz, as well as a complete set of instruments and VLBI backends. This paper describes our progress and status of the project and its plan for the coming decade.
The Greenland Telescope completed its construction, so the commissioning phase has been started since December 2017. Single-dish commissioning has started from the optical pointing which produced the first pointing model, followed by the radio pointing and focusing using the Moon for both the 86 GHz and the 230 GHz receivers. After Venus started to rise from the horizon, the focus positions has been improved for both receivers. Once we started the line pointing using the SiO(2-1) maser line and the CO(2-1) line for the 86 GHz and the 230 GHz receivers, respectively, the pointing accuracy also improved, and the final pointing accuracy turned to be around 3" - 5" for both receivers. In parallel, VLBI commissioning has been performed, with checking the frequency accuracy and the phase stability for all the components that would be used for the VLBI observations. After all the checks, we successfully joined the dress rehearsals and actual observations of the 86 GHz and 230 GHz VLBI observations, The first dress rehearsal data between GLT and ALMA were correlated, and successfully detected the first fringe, which confirmed that the GLT commissioning was successfully performed.
We describe the control and monitoring system for the Greenland Telescope (GLT). The GLT is a 12-m radio telescope aiming to carry out the sub-millimeter Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) observations and image the shadow of the super massive black hole in M87. In November 2017 construction has been finished and commissioning activity has been started. In April 2018 we participated in the VLBI observing campaign for the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) collaboration. In this paper we present the entire GLT control/monitoring system in terms of computers, network and software.
Under the new operational purview of the East Asian Observatory, the JCMT continues to produce premier wide-field submillimetre science. Now the Observatory looks to embark on an ambitious series of instrumentation upgrades and opportunities to keep the telescope at the bleeding edge of its performance capabilities, whilst harnessing the collaborative expertise of the participating EAO regions and its JCMT partners. New heterodyne instruments include a new receiver at 230 GHz, a super array (90 pixels) at 345 GHz and the upgrade possibilities for the continuum camera SCUBA-2. In addition, the opportunities for PI and visiting instruments, including TimePilot and Gismo-2 will be described.
As part of the JCMT Future Instrumentation Project, the EAO looks to optimize the premier niche of the facility as the
go-to telescope for fast, deep wide-field mapping of the universe at 345 GHz (850 um). The next generation heterodyne
array for JCMT will be designed to provide deep ultra-fast mapping capabilities that takes advantage of the full field-of-view
available to the telescope, and an array of 90 SIS mixers. This paper presents a preliminary design options and the
critical science drivers for the project.
The newly formed East Asian Observatory assumed operations of the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope in March of 2015. In just three weeks, the facility needed to run up completely mothballed observatory operations, introduce the telescope to a vast new scientist base with no familiarity with the facility, and create a non-existent science program. The handover to the EAO has since been a succession of challenging time-lines, and nearly unique problems requiring novel solutions. The results, however, have been spectacular, with subscription rates at unprecedented levels, a new series of Large Programs underway, as well as an exciting Future Instrumentation Project that together promises to keep JCMT at the forefront of wide-field submillimeter astronomy for the next decade.
instrument’s twin focal planes, each with over 5000 superconducting Transition Edge Sensors (TES) that work simultaneously at 450 and 850 microns are producing excellent science results and in particular a unique series of JCMT legacy surveys. In this paper we give an update on the performance of the instrument over the past 2 years of science operations and present the results of a study into the noise properties of the TES arrays. We highlight changes that have been implemented to increase the efficiency and performance of SCUBA-2 and discus the potential for future enhancements.
The James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) is the largest single-dish submillimetre telescope in the world, and throughout its lifetime the volume and impact of its science output have steadily increased. A key factor for this continuing productivity is an ever-evolving approach to optimising operations, data acquisition, and science product pipelines and archives. The JCMT was one of the first common-user telescopes to adopt flexible scheduling in 2003, and its impact over a decade of observing will be presented. The introduction of an advanced data-reduction pipeline played an integral role, both for fast real-time reduction during observing, and for science-grade reduction in support of individual projects, legacy surveys, and the JCMT Science Archive. More recently, these foundations have facilitated the commencement of remote observing in addition to traditional on-site operations to further increase on-sky science time. The contribution of highly-trained and engaged operators, support and technical staff to efficient operations will be described. The long-term returns of this evolution are presented here, noting they were achieved in face of external pressures for leaner operating budgets and reduced staffing levels. In an era when visiting observers are being phased out of many observatories, we argue that maintaining a critical level of observer participation is vital to improving and maintaining scientific productivity and facility longevity.
The James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) is the largest single dish submillimetre telescope in the world. Recently the Joint Astronomy Centre (JAC) has learned that the JCMT will no longer receive financial support from its original supporting agencies after September 2014. There is significant pressure to complete some surveys that have been in progress at the JCMT for many years now. With the goal of completing a higher percentage of these surveys it was decided to take advantage of the hours between when the telescope operator leaves the telescope and when the day crew arrives. These hours generally have reasonable seeing and low column integrated water vapor, so they are good for observing. This observing is being performed remotely, in Hilo, without staff at the telescope, by staff members who do not have telescope operation as part of their job descriptions. This paper describes the hardware changes necessary to implement remote observing at JCMT. It also describes the software needed for remote, fail safe, operation of the telescope. The protocols and rules for passing the control of the telescope between the various groups are discussed. Since these Extended Operators are not expert telescope operators, the system was simplified as much as possible, but some training was necessary and proper checklists are essential. Due to the success of the first phase of Extending Observing at the JCMT, the hours when the weather is good and no one is at the telescope, but no day crew is on the way, are also now being utilized. Extended Observing has already yielded a considerable amount of science observing time.
Apart from a brief Cassegrain run in the summer of 2011, UKIRT has been
operated in WFCAM-only mode since January 2009 and remotely from Hilo
since December 2010. UKIRT operations are now in the process of being
handed over to the University of Arizona who are interested in
recommissioning at least some of the Cassegrain instruments. While at the
time of this writing the work is mostly still in the planning stage it is
actively being thought about, and some of the infrastructure is being put
(back) into place.
SCUBA-2 is the largest submillimetre wide-field bolometric camera ever built. This 43 square arc- minute field-of-view instrument operates at two wavelengths (850 and 450 microns) and has been installed on the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. SCUBA-2 has been successfully commissioned and operational for general science since October 2011. This paper presents an overview of the on-sky performance of the instrument during and since commissioning in mid- 2011. The on-sky noise characteristics and NEPs of the 450 μm and 850 μm arrays, with average yields of approximately 3400 bolometers at each wavelength, will be shown. The observing modes of the instrument and the on-sky calibration techniques are described. The culmination of these efforts has resulted in a scientifically powerful mapping camera with sensitivities that allow a square degree of sky to be mapped to 10 mJy/beam rms at 850 μm in 2 hours and 60 mJy/beam rms at 450 μm in 5 hours in the best weather.
Remote operation of a four meter class telescope on the summit of Mauna Kea from 40 kilometers away presents unique
challenges. Concerns include: communication links being severed, the computer controlling the enclosure becoming
inoperable, non-responsive software, inclement weather, or the operator forgetting or unable to close the dome during a
personal emergency. These issues are addressed at the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) by a series of
deadman handshakes starting on the operator's end with a graphical user interface that requires periodic attention and
culminates with hardware in the telescope that will initiate a closing sequence when regular handshake signals do not
continue. Software packages including Experimental Physics and Industrial Control Systems<sup>1</sup> (EPICS) and a distributed,
real time computing system for instrumentation<sup>2</sup> (DRAMA) were used in this project to communicate with hardware
control systems and to coordinate systems. After testing, this system has been used in operation since January 2011.
SCUBA-2 is a revolutionary 10,000 pixel wide-field submillimetre camera, recently commissioned and now operational
at the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT). Twin focal planes each consist of four 32 by 40 sub-arrays of
superconducting Transition Edge Sensor (TES) bolometers, the largest combined low temperature bolometer arrays in
operation, to provide simultaneous imaging at wavelengths of 450 and 850 microns. SCUBA-2 was designed to map
large areas of sky more than 100 times faster than the original ground breaking SCUBA instrument and has achieved this
goal. In this paper we describe the performance of the instrument and present results of characterising the eight science
grade TES bolometer arrays. We discuss the steps taken to optimise the setup of the TES arrays to maximise mapping
speed and show how critical changes to the sub-array module thermal design, the introduction of independent focal plane
and 1K temperature control and enhancements to the cryogenics have combined to significantly improve the overall
performance of the instrument.
In late 2010, driven by funding pressure from its governing body, the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT)
underwent the most significant operational change in its history culminating in a new "minimalist mode" operation.
Since 13th December 2010 this telescope, situated at the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii, has been operated remotely
from the Joint Astronomy Centre in Hilo, with a priority on completing the UKIRT Infrared Deep Sky Survey (UKIDSS)
but also continued support of other international programmes. In mid-2012, while remaining in minimalist mode, the
observatory plans to start a new and ambitious near-infrared survey of the northern sky called the UKIRT Hemisphere
The change to minimalist mode has resulted in the following: the cost of running the observatory has been reduced from
$3.9M to $2.0M yet despite the changes, which included a reduction in staff and support, the UKIRT continues to
operate at 90% efficiency, a level it has operated at for the last several years. The fault rate remains extremely low
(approximately 3%) and has not been affected by remote operations and up until February 2012 no time-losing faults
were attributed to operating remotely.
This paper discusses the motivations behind the change to minimalist mode, the new mode of operation itself, the effect,
if any, of the change on operational efficiency and the challenges facing a remotely operated telescope at a remote
The high data rates and unique operation modes of the SCUBA-2 instrument made for an especially challenging effort
to get it working with the existing JCMT Observatory Control System (OCS). Due to some forethought by the original
designers of the OCS, who had envisioned a SCUBA-2 like instrument years before it was reality, the JCMT was
already being coordinated by a versatile Real Time Sequencer (RTS). The timing pulses from the RTS are fanned out to
all of the SCUBA-2 Multi Channel Electronics (MCE) boxes allowing for precision timing of each data sample. The
SCUBA-2 data handing and OCS communications are broken into two tasks, one doing the actual data acquisition and
file writing, the other communicates with the OCS through Drama. These two tasks talk to each other via shared
memory and semaphores. It is possible to swap back and forth between heterodyne and SCUBA-2 observing simply by
selecting an observation for a particular instrument. This paper also covers the changes made to the existing OCS in
order to integrate it with the new SCUBA-2 specific software.
SCUBA-2 is a state of the art 10,000 pixel submillimeter camera installed and being commissioned at the James Clerk
Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) providing wide-field simultaneous imaging at wavelengths of 450 and 850 microns. At each
wavelength there are four 32 by 40 sub-arrays of superconducting Transition Edge Sensor (TES) bolometers, each
packaged with inline SQUID multiplexed readout and amplifier. In this paper we present the results of characterising
individual 1280 bolometer science grade sub-arrays, both in a dedicated 50mk dilution refrigerator test facility and in the
instrument installed at the JCMT.
This paper describes the key design features and performance of HARP, an innovative heterodyne focal-plane array
receiver designed and built to operate in the submillimetre on the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) in Hawaii.
The 4x4 element array uses SIS detectors, and is the first sub-millimetre spectral imaging system on the JCMT. HARP
provides 3-dimensional imaging capability with high sensitivity at 325-375 GHz and affords significantly improved
productivity in terms of speed of mapping. HARP was designed and built as a collaborative project between the
Cavendish Astrophysics Group in Cambridge UK, the UK-Astronomy Technology Centre in Edinburgh UK, the
Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics in Canada and the Joint Astronomy Centre in Hawaii. SIS devices for the mixers were
fabricated to a Cavendish Astrophysics Group design at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. Working
in conjunction with the new Auto Correlation Spectral Imaging System (ACSIS), first light with HARP was achieved in
December 2005. HARP synthesizes a number of interesting features across all elements of the design; we present key
performance characteristics and images of astronomical observations obtained during commissioning.
The James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT), the world's largest sub-mm telescope, will soon be switching operations from a VAX/VMS based control system to a new, Linux-based, Observatory Control System1 (OCS). A critical part of the OCS is the set of tasks that are associated with the observation queue and the observing recipe sequencer: 1) the JCMT observation queue task 2) the JCMT instrument task, 3) the JCMT Observation Sequencer (JOS), and 4) the OCS console task. The JCMT observation queue task serves as a staging area for observations that have been translated from the observer's science program into a form suitable for the various OCS subsystems. The queue task operates by sending the observation at the head of the queue to the JCMT instrument task and then waits for the astronomer to accept the data before removing the observation from the queue. The JCMT instrument task is responsible for running up the set of tasks required to observe with a particular instrument at the JCMT and passing the observation on to the JOS. The JOS is responsible for executing the observing recipe, pausing/continuing the recipe when commanded, and prematurely ending or aborting the observation when commanded. The OCS console task provides the user with a GUI window with which they can control and monitor the observation queue and the observation itself. This paper shows where the observation queue and recipe sequencer fit into the JCMT OCS, presents the design decisions that resulted in the tasks being structured as they are, describes the external interfaces of the four tasks, and details the interaction between the tasks.
The JCMT, the world's largest sub-mm telescope, has had essentially the same VAX/VMS based control system since it was commissioned. For the next generation of instrumentation we are implementing a new Unix/VxWorks based system, based on the successful ORAC system that was recently released on UKIRT.
The system is now entering the integration and testing phase. This paper gives a broad overview of the system architecture and includes some discussion on the choices made. (Other papers in this conference cover some areas in more detail). The basic philosophy is to control the sub-systems with a small and simple set of commands, but passing detailed XML configuration descriptions along with the commands to give the flexibility required. The XML files can be passed between various layers in the system without interpretation, and so simplify the design enormously. This has all been made possible by the adoption of an Observation Preparation Tool, which essentially serves as an intelligent XML editor.