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Community Review of the VLASS Proposal

by Davis Murphy last modified Jan 13, 2016 by Steven Myers

News Update: Post-Review VLASS Status Update - December 2015

Posted 21 December 2015

In the most recent NRAO e-News NRAO Director Tony Beasley reported on the status of the VLASS. Dr. Beasley stated "The NRAO announces that it will be proceeding with the highly anticipated All-Sky portion of the Very Large Array Sky Survey (VLASS), subject to the successful passing of its preliminary and critical design reviews in 2016." Work is underway on preparing for the Preliminary Design Review (PDR) currently scheduled for May 2016, leading to pilot observations in the B-configuration of the JVLA in the May-October timeframe. Following this schedule, actual VLASS observations would commence in late 2017. The slip of one configuration cycle from the original proposed schedule and the insertion of a pilot project with reduced time and area was necessitated by the need to ramp up the project office and allocate NRAO personnel to the project before the PDR. See the text of the article for more details.

VLASS Status Update: ALL-SKY Survey recommended by review panel

Posted 24 July 2015

The outcome of the recent community review of the VLASS proposal and Technical Implementation Plan (TIP) that took place on 4-6 March 2015 in Socorro was announced in a recent NRAO eNews.  The review materials, including the proposal, TIP, and presentations from the review are available on the NRAO VLASS wiki.

The primary recommendation of the Community Review Panel is that the first two epochs of the All-Sky survey (~5400 hr covering 82% of the celestial sphere in S-band/B-configruation, over 3 epochs, down to a final depth of 69uJy/bm) be approved, provided a clear plan for the delivery of basic and enhanced data products.  The third epoch should be approved only after the successful and timely delivery of such products from the first two epochs.

The Deep tier (~3400 hr over 10 sq. degrees in S-band/A-configuration down to 1.5uJy) was not recommended to be carried out as part of VLASS.  However, given the exciting/cutting-edge science it could deliver, the panel recommended that the Deep science component might be observed via a PI proposal.  It was also suggested in the review that such a program could be carried out via a new "Legacy" style call that is dedicated to support very large, multi-cycle proposals.

Going forward, the survey will undergo a series of technical reviews in the near future.  In preparing for these reviews, NRAO will continue to work with the VLASS team to complete the survey design, minimizing the survey's impact on VLA operations and PI science time.  The final decision on whether or not to proceed with VLASS will be made at the Critical Design Review in 2016.

If you wish to express additional comments on the science and operational impact of VLASS, please contact vlass AT nrao.edu.

Pre-Review Materials: Call for community input to review

The NRAO announces a call for open community comment on the VLA Sky Survey (VLASS) proposal, prior to the VLASS Community Review that will take place March 4-6, 2015.

The Survey Science Group (SSG) and Science Working Groups have finalized the proposal for the VLA Sky Survey (VLASS) proposal (https://safe.nrao.edu/wiki/pub/JVLA/VLASS/VLASS_final.pdf), now available on the NRAO VLASS wiki.  This version reflects revisions made to the survey definition in response to NRAO scientific and technical reviews, and is the version that will be evaluated by the upcoming VLASS Community Review.  A revised and updated Technical Implementation Plan is also available.

The period of open community comment on the VLASS proposal will extend through 22 February 2015.  Comments on the proposal may be posted on the main VLASS Discussion Forum in response to this thread, and longer documents may be submitted through the VLASS Public Comment Submission web portal or sent via email to vlass AT nrao.edu.  All community input received during this period of open comment will be made available to the Community Review Panel.

The VLASS Community Review will take place March 4-6, 2015, in Socorro, NM.  The Review Panel will be charged with reviewing all aspects of the proposal, and making recommendations on how to proceed with the request. The Community Review Panel members are:

  • Andrew Baker (Rutgers, Chair)
  • Harry Ferguson (STScI)
  • Jacqueline van Gorkom (Columbia)
  • Jenny Greene (Princeton)
  • Kelsey Johnson (UVA)
  • Ryohei Kawabe (NAOJ)
  • James Miller-Jones (Curtin)
  • Luis Rodriguez (UNAM)
  • Eva Schinnerer (MPIfA)
  • Doug Scott (UBC)
  • Fabian Walter (MPIfA)
  • Belinda Wilkes (CfA)
  • Rogier Windhorst (ASU)


If the VLASS proposal is approved, observing will start no earlier than Spring 2016.  We look forward to further discussion with the community and the Review Panel regarding the scientific opportunities of a new VLA Sky Survey.