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.
SCUBA-2 is a state of the art wide field camera on the JCMT. SCUBA-2 has been fully operational since November
2011, producing a wide range of science results, including a unique series of survey programs. A new large survey
programme commenced in 2015, which included for the first time, polarisation sensitive measurements using POL-2, the
polarimeter ancillary instrument. We discuss proposals and the science case for upgrading SCUBA-2 with new detector
arrays that will keep SCUBA-2 and the JCMT at the forefront of continuum submillimetre science.
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. 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.
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 JCMT Science Archive is a collaboration between the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope and the Canadian Astronomy Data Centre to provide access to raw and reduced data from SCUBA-2 and the telescope’s heterodyne instruments. It was designed to include a range of advanced data products, created either by external groups, such as the JCMT Legacy Survey teams, or by the JCMT staff at the Joint Astronomy Centre. We are currently developing the archive to include a set of advanced data products which combine all of the publicly available data. We have developed a sky tiling scheme based on HEALPix tiles to allow us to construct co-added maps and data cubes on a well-defined grid. There will also be source catalogs both of regions of extended emission and the compact sources detected within these regions.
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.
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.
Commissioning of SCUBA-2 included a program of skydips and observations of calibration sources intended to
be folded into regular observing as standard methods of source flux calibration and to monitor the atmospheric
opacity and stability. During commissioning, it was found that these methods could also be utilised to characterise
the fundamental instrument response to sky noise and astronomical signals. Novel techniques for analysing onsky
performance and atmospheric conditions are presented, along with results from the calibration observations
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.
A 183GHz water vapour radiometer is installed at the JCMT, but is not currently used for active atmospheric
calibration. With the installation of the SCUBA-2 submillimetre camera, it is desirable to provide more accurate
and time-sensitive calibration at specific wavelengths. It is shown here that the 183GHz water vapour monitor
data can be used to calculate the atmospheric opacity over small time-scales, directly along the line-of-sight of
the instrument. These data will be used to identify the potential for improvement in existing calibration schemes,
and the requirements of such a system if used with an instrument such as SCUBA-2.
The Antarctic Fiber-Optic Spectrometer (AFOS) is a 30cm Newtonian optical telescope that injects light through six 30m long optical fibers onto a 240-850nm spectrograph with a 1024 x 256 pixel CCD camera. The telescope is mounted on a dual telescope altitude-azimuth mount and has been designed to measure the transperency of the atmosphere above the South Pole for astronomy in the UV and visible wavelength regions. The instrument has observed a series of bright O and B stars during the austral winters of 2002 and 2003 to probe the UV cutoff wavelength, the auroral intensity and water vapour content in the atmosphere above the plateau. AFOS is the first completely automated optical telescope on the Antarctic Plateau. This paper reports on the results of the past two austral winters of remote observing with the telescope as well as the technical and software modifications required to improve the quality and automation of the observations. The atmospheric absorption bands in the 660-900nm regions of the spectra have been fitted with MODTRAN atmospheric models and used to calculate the precipitable water vapour above the South Pole. These data are then compared to those collected concurrently by radiosonde and by a 350 μm submillimeter tipper at South Pole.