Sargent, Anneila I. California Institute of Technology "CARMA - Development of a Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-wave Astronomy"
This program will begin the process of merging two millimeter-wavelength radio astronomy arrays currently funded by AST's University Radio Observatories program into a single interferometer at a new site, to be called CARMA (Combined Array for Millimeter-wave Astronomy). The observatories are the Owens Valley Millimeter Array (6 x 10m telescopes) and the Berkeley-Illinois-Maryland Association (BIMA) Array (9 x 6m telescopes). The new array will be sited in the Inyo Mountains of central-eastern California, near the present Owens Valley site but higher in elevation. Improved atmospheric conditions at the new site will allow routine observations in the prime 1.3mm observing band. CARMA will be the world's premier millimeter-wavelength interferometer until the advent of ALMA. The scientific advantages of a combined array are many, including greater sensitivity, more usable days per year (because of the higher site), and far better image fidelity. The funds awarded will be used for long lead-time items such as broadband electronics, correlator (signal combiner) prototyping, and an antenna transporter. CARMA received the recommendation of the Astronomy Decadal Survey of the National Research Council as one of the Moderate-cost Initiatives to be constructed during 2000 - 2010. ***