Welcome to the Atacama Large Aperture Submm/mm Telescope (AtLAST) Wiki!

In order to prepare for astronomy in the 2020's and beyond, the time has come to start planning for a large submm/mm dish in the southern hemisphere with open access to a broad community.

Motivation for a new study

ALMA is the world’s most sensitive telescope from 0.3 to 3 (soon 10) mm. However, as an interferometer, its mapping speed for large areas is limited, and the largest angular scales it can access are limited to < 0.5 arcminutes at 3 mm, and more stringent at shorter wavelengths. We have come together to study on the scientific merit for and possible technical implementation of a large-aperture submillimetre/millimetre telescope (LST), a powerful next generation submm single-dish telescope to complement ALMA and to serve the future submm facility needs of the ALMA community, as well as astronomers worldwide who have not yet used ALMA.

The need for a submm telescope with excellent sensitivity, high mapping speed, and good angular resolution was recognized in the strong recommendation of an LST by the Astro2010 Decadal Survey, and by the continued efforts of the North-American, European, and Japanese communities to push such a next generation submm telescope. The ESO community has advocated for such a telescope in its 2020’s workshop. Now is a crucial time to begin preparing and organising more concretely to realise the ALMA 2030 development vision.

In recent years, the science case for an LST has been made on numerous occasions and by numerous projects, most notably CCAT/CCAT-prime, the Caltech-led CSST, and the Japanese-led LST. In 2015, ESO commissioned a working group to assess the science cases and critically map them onto existing and possible future telescopes. The ESO Submm Single Dish Scientific Strategy WG Report concludes that existing single dish facilities will be very unlikely to remain competitive in the late 2020s, motivating the construction of a 25 to 50 metre submm-telescope that would “allow the ESO community to address effectively (and uniquely) a variety of compelling science goals well into the era of an upgraded ALMA.”

We intend to establish working groups on science and technology aspects, and host a community workshop, supported by RadioNet and ESO's Director of Science. We aim to build a partnership that might ideally map directly onto the current ALMA partnership.

Science and technology working groups

The working groups will conclude the study by the end of 2018 with publically available white papers discussing the scientific and technical advantages of such a facility. Possible topics to be covered by the WGs and some initial thoughts on WG members:
  1. Site selection -- Carlos De Breuck, Angel Otarola, Jürgen Stutzki, Marc Sarazin, Simon Radford,
  2. Telescope Designs (surface accuracy, field of view) -- Peter Hargrave, Kotaro Kohno, Ryohei Kawabe, Simon Dicker, Mike Niemack, Sunil Golwala, Urs Graf
  3. Instrumentation (first light and beyond) -- Tony Mroczkowski, Omid Noroozian, Gordon Stacey, Matt Bradford, Urs Graf, Victor Belitsky, Akira Endo, Jochem Baselmans, Pamela Klaassen, Wayne Holland, Ben Mates, Johannes Hubmayr, Vincent Desmaris
  4. Operational model for AtLAST (need at least concept of operational model as it will generate hardware and software requirements) -- Remo Tilanus, Carlos, Wouter?, John C?
  5. Synergies with ALMA (i.e. will it be fully part of ALMA, and run as part of ALMA operations? Will it be used in e.g. ALMA long baseline or VLBI campaigns? And if it’s not part of ALMA directly, how do we unify the international community?) -- Dominik Riechers, Stefanie Muehle, Leonardo Testi, Pamela Klaassen, Sandra Burkutean, John Carpenter, Martin Zwaan, Tony Mroczkowski, Luca Cortese, Wouter Vlemmings, Alwyn Wootten, Remo Tilanus
  6. Complementarity with other major observatories in the 2020’s (e.g. ELT, Athena, JWST, OST, UVOIR, Lynx, STARX, eROSITA, SOFIA, and SKA, to name a few). -- Etienne Pointecouteau, Tony Mroczkowski, Luca Cortese, Evanthia Hatziminaoglou, Alwyn Wootten
  7. New/unique science cases -- Review existing science cases and add necessary calculations. Some possibilities: high-z galaxies, Galactic star formation / ISM, stellar evolution, large scale structure / clusters / cosmology, planetary science, local galaxies, Galactic center -- Pamela Klaassen, Jim Geach, Liz Humphreys, Gary Fuller, Claudia Cicone, Etienne Pointecouteau, Tony Mroczkowski, Luca Cortese, Wouter Vlemmings, Alwyn Wootten

Workshop “Perspectives on a Large Submillimeter Telescope”

Wednesday 17 - Friday 19 January 2018, ESO Garching

We intend to host a community workshop along with colleagues working on similar initiatives in the East Asian, Chilean, and North American ALMA communities. Previous workshops on LST science and technology were held in Cologne and Osaka in 2011, in Boulder and Tokyo in 2012, and in Tokyo in 2015.

The workshop will be a crucial forum to collect insights and feedback to shape further evaluation and the final WG report. As an outcome of the workshop, our study will collect and critically review the existing science cases, identify possible technical designs and their instrument / development options, assess operational and technological ties with ALMA and explore science synergies with both ALMA and future survey missions at other wavelengths such as E-ELT, Subaru, eROSITA, WISH, SPICA, and SKA. We will use the workshop to review the status, science cases, and capabilities of current (e.g. APEX, ARO, ASTE, 100-meter GBT, IRAM 30m, LMT/GTM, Nanten2, NRO 45m,) and planned (e.g. Green Land Telescope, CCAT-prime, Caltech Submm Survey Telescope, and the Japanese Large Submm Telescope, LLAMA) mm/submm telescopes. About one third of the workshop will be dedicated for discussion and planning for study reports.

We have sought and obtained a modest amount of monetary support from RadioNet (up to 2500€ to support travel for under-funded and under-represented astronomers) and expect further support by ESO.
● Fee waivers: We would like to keep the registration fee low for all attendees. The exact amount will be determined once we know the support allocated by ESO.
● Student/postdoc support: In addition to the modest RadioNet support, it would be ideal to provide additional support based on need.
● Organised lunches and social events: We plan to cater light lunches (sandwiches) and possibly a finger food reception, but no expensive lunches or dinners will be provided.

The workshop is open for all who wish to contribute to the technical case for a large submm telescope for ALMA.


Related papers and presentations:
Kawabe et al SPIE paper on the LST 50-meter.