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NRAO Community Days

NRAO Community Days In preparation for the upcoming proposal cycles for NRAO facilities -- including the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), the Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), the Green Bank Telescope (GBT), and the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) -- we invite the astronomical community to host NRAO Community Days (CDs) starting in mid-September through mid-December 2013. The main goal of these CDs is to inform the community of the capabilities of our telescopes, and thus enable users to carry out cutting edge scientific research using NRAO facilities. We are particularly interested in reaching new users without expertise in radio astronomy.

NRAO CDs are one to two day events designed in cooperation with host institutions across North America. NRAO staff members will travel to the host institutions, with the goal of providing sufficient information to allow the participants to propose for time on NRAO facilities and/or to analyze data taken from these telescopes. In addition to describing telescope capabilities and the broad science enabled by them, the CDs may also consist of demonstrations and hands-on workshops on proposal preparation, observation planning, and data reduction.

The agenda for each CD will be largely driven by the goals of the host institution and the expected participants. As noted above, the NRAO is interested in supporting CDs for scientists who do not actively work on studies at radio wavelengths, aiming to inform the local community about how radio astronomy is relevant to their science. CDs of this type may include presentations by NRAO staff on the capabilities of NRAO telescopes, talks on how observations at radio wavelengths are used in astronomical studies (with emphasis on the fields of most interest to the attendees), and tutorials on proposal preparation for NRAO telescopes. This type of CD would be for one day, and the host institution should aim for at least 30 participants.

The NRAO will also support CDs for astronomical communities with more experience in radio astronomy that are already familiar with NRAO facilities. CDs for advanced users may include tutorials on using the proposal preparation tools (the Proposal Submission Tool for the VLA, GBT, and VLBA, and the Observing Tool for ALMA) and data reduction software (CASA for the VLA and ALMA, GBTIDL for the GBT, and AIPS for VLBA). These events are expected to have at least 15 participants, and may span one or two days depending on the number of facilities and tutorials to be covered.

People interested in organizing and hosting a CD at their institution can apply online [TBD link to application website]. The application should include a description of the primary goals of the CD (e.g. learning about NRAO telescopes/science, CASA tutorial), the number of people expected to attend (including both astronomers at the host institution and from neighboring communities), the requested length of the CD (one or two days), and which of the NRAO facilities are of interest to the expected participants. The host institutions are expected to handle the local logistics of the workshop (meeting room, high-speed internet, projector, etc.) and will work together with the NRAO to broadly advertise the CDs. Applications may be submitted as early as Aug 15 and will be accepted on a rolling basis.

Note that the expected proposal deadline for ALMA Cycle 2 is early December 2013. The next proposal deadline for the VLA, GBT, and VLBA is February 3 2014.