Operational Support at the German ARC node

Quality Assurance

Each ALMA data set undergoes a series of quality assurance (QA) processes. Initial QA of the data is determined by quick checks at the ALMA site. The German ARC contributes to QA testing in the second level, called QA2. QA2 analysts manually process the data to ensure that the calibration is correct, and that the observational setups and requested target sensitivity/beam-size are achieved. If the data match the characteristics requested in the proposal, they are declared "QA2 pass" and the products are delivered to the principal investigator (PI).

Phase 2 and Project Tracking

As soon as an ALMA observing proposal is approved, a contact scientist (CS) is assigned the responsibility of supporting the PI throughout the project life-cycle. The affiliation of the PI determines which ARC node supports the project. Before ALMA observing commences, the CS helps the PI with verifying the setups so that the project's scheduling blocks pass the phase 2 checks and can be declared ready for observations. The CS also works as the interface for a PI and the ALMA operations when other issues arise, for instance providing OFF-source positions for total power measurements. In addition, a constant check is made by the CS on the status of each scheduling block in a project.

Commissioning and special expertise

In the framework of the technical developments done at the German ARC node, the staff also supports the commissioning of new modes, the definition of calibration schemes and best practices and other operational aspects of non-standard observing modes.