Calling all astronomers: e-MERLIN cycle 0 call for proposals now open!
It's finally here! The call for proposals for cycle 0 of e-MERLIN observations was issued in December and today the proposal submission tool went live. Astronomers have until January 29th to submit their proposals for observations on the upgraded and much-improved facility. Details of the technical capabilities are available on the e-MERLIN website. There are already many approved legacy programmes which will make use of large chunks of the available time over the next couple of years, but that still leaves time available for general observations. I'm putting together a couple of proposals myself, and will probably be involved with one or two others as well.
MERLIN had a bunch of tools for doing both the first-stage data processing, and a pipeline available as both a script which would generate a bespoke AIPS runfile based on user interaction or as an AIPS procedure which could be run as a task inside AIPS. Data output from the new e-MERLIN correlator is different and, although the data volumes are much larger, is simpler to process in that no processing is required before reading the data into AIPS.
I spent the summer of 2011 working at JBCA, helping with commissioning efforts, processing early-science datasets and helping out the odd early e-MERLIN user. While I was there, I started to play with ParselTongue (the Python interface to AIPS, nothing to do with Harry Potter) and by the end of the summer I had working scripts to take care of the initial loading and housekeeping procedures, and a functioning data reduction pipeline for simple datasets.
At the end of the summer I moved to the Netherlands to work for ASTRON. Unfortunately, due to a malicious attack on the Jodrell computer system not long after I left Manchester, the latest versions of the scripts are not situated at Jodrell at all (where they would be most useful!), but here on rigel instead. If you're an astronomer and you play with these scripts, please send me some feedback. Contact details are on the page with the scripts.