The interferometer recorded a high observing efficiency during the months of November and December: 40%, more than twice the efficiency of the previous two years and with excellent prerequisites for 1.3mm observations. As far as A-rated projects are concerned, we are quite confident that most of them will be brought to completion during the current winter period. However, even if the weather conditions have been substantially better than those from early last winter and even if the backlog has now been substantially worked off, we expect that only a small number of B-rated projects, essentially those falling in a favorable LST range, is likely to be observed. The most extended antenna configurations (A and B2) are scheduled for the weeks to come and will probably be worked off before the end of March.
Investigators who wish to check the status of their project, may consult the interferometer schedule on the IRAM Web page.
The subreflector on antenna 3 was replaced with a new generation subreflector made from a solid block of aluminum. The antenna efficiency was extensively tested upon replacement and was found to be comparable to the other antennas.
Surface adjustments and optimization of the receiver alignment have also been carried out on all antennas last autumn.
The 6th antenna is currently assembled in the hangar on Plateau de Bure. The construction of the antenna is progressing well: the pedestal is finished, the transporter will be terminated in a few days from now, and the assembly of the receiver cabin will probably be tackled in the weeks to come. We will keep you informed about the progress in the coming Newsletter editions.
Extensive maintenance work is foreseen during the coming summer period. The interferometer will be operated in the 4-antenna mode for at least 4 months. As last year, we plan to start the maintenance by the end of May, at the latest, and to operate the Plateau de Bure array in 4 antenna configurations between June and September.
A Web page now sums up all the information needed to
prepare the submission of proposals on the Plateau de Bure interferometer
and the reduction of the interferometric data. Just CLIC on: