Call for Proposals

Call for proposals 2015b

The Chile Observatory of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) solicits observing proposals for the Mopra 22m single dish telescope. The main purpose of this opportunity is to maximize the science output of ALMA by sharing Mopra time to the East Asian science community. Located in Australia, Mopra allows access to the southern sky, and shares similar frequency coverage with Band 3 of ALMA. Mopra frequency coverage extends down to 12 mm (16 - 27 GHz) and 7 mm (30 - 50 GHz) bands. Proposal handling and user support will be provided by the East Asian ALMA Regional Center (EA-ARC) in Mitaka. Students and young astronomers are particularly encouraged to apply.

Important notes for 2015b

  • This will be the last call for Mopra proposals from NAOJ
  • The available time is expected to be ~1000 hours for 2015b.
  • Proposers are welcome to submit large projects (> 200 hours per semester).
  • We continue to use the web-based proposal submission system.
  • Proposers must use the proposal template for proposal preparation.


March 20, 2015, 9:00 am (JST) 

Time Available and Large Projects

A total of 1000 hours (mainly allocated in July - September, 2015) is available for this call for proposals.  We continue to welcome requests for large projects (> 200 hours per semester).  A Large Project must be based on a strong scientific argument and has a potential of leading to strong ALMA proposals in the future.  In principle, large projects will be evaluated according to the same guidelines and criteria as standard proposals, but the PI is required to include a paragraph describing the science management plan.  The management plan must describe who on the team will carry out the observations, data reduction, data analysis, and write publication.  The management plan will also be evaluated by the TAC, in addition to the scientific merit and technical feasibility.  


Researchers affiliated with Japanese, Taiwanese and Korean institutes.

Proposal Preparation

The proposer should consult this webpage for technical description of the instruments before proposal preparation.
  Please consult us directly for the VLBI mode.

(a) Basics of the Mopra Telescope

  • 22m diameter
  • Resolution from ~ 35"@100GHz to ~130”@20GHz
  • 3 receivers
  • Single pixel detectors
  • Fully remote operation
  • Mapping capabilities : OTF mapping, scanning observations, single pointing observations
  • Capable of pointed observations with position switching
  • Elevation limit is 20 deg (hard limit), and an effective limit at 3mm is 30 deg.

(b) Strengths of Mopra

  •  Unique large single-dish telescope in 3 - 7 mm in the Southern hemisphere

The 22‐m diameter Mopra radio telescope is located near the town of Coonabarabran in New South Wales. Several upgrades in recent years made the Mopra Telescope as a world‐class facility and is the only single‐dish telescope for open use in the Southern Hemisphere operating at wavelengths of 3 and 7 mm.

  •  Broad-band backend

Mopra's strength lies in its large diameter as well as the broad band backend. One can simultaneously image 16 molecular lines at high spectral resolution and sensitivity with a bandwidth up to 8 GHz, which will provide a wealth of information about for e.g., molecular clouds and star formation. The Mopra telescope is largely used for Galactic studies of molecular clouds and star formation, with some additional studies of the Magellanic Clouds and other galaxies. Several large Galactic surveys are currently underway.

  •  Stable remote operations

Mopra's ability to map large areas, especially in the southern sky is a substantial contribution to the wider community; especially as ALMA science observations have recently commenced. The telescope is operated fully remotely and requires little maintenance. Most 3‐mm observations have been carried out between May and October. 12‐mm observations can be undertaken at any time. The telescope usually has less than 5% unscheduled downtime as a result of equipment failure, and time lost due to weather of ~15% in the past few years.

(c) Weaknesses of Mopra

  •  Observing conditions due to Australian weather

Since Mopra provides a wide range of observing frequencies, the telescope has been used efficiently throughout the year. Nevertheless, it is recommend to observe in the 3mm during the winter seasons because of the better sky conditions. Continuum observations are generally difficult, nearly impossible in the 3mm range due to the atmosphere.

  •  Baseline ripples

Please see this page.  In particular please consult the section “Mitigating the baseline ripple” for the current status of baseline ripples and how to mitigate.

  •  Polarization observations

While mopra observes orthogonal polarisations, the leakage terms are not easily characterised, therefore observers should be extremely cautious when using Mopra to conduct polarization experiments.

Proposal Template

Proposers must use this template for the science and technical justifications. No other formats are accepted.  The scientific and technical justification, including figures, tables and references, must fit within 3 pages.  The traditional cover-page is now replaced by the online form, which is accessible from the “Proposal Submission” tab at the top of this page, or from here.

Proposal Rules

  • Proposal must be written in English
  • Proposal must have a short paragraph describing the proposal's relation to ALMA
  • For Large Projects, a management plan, describing who on the team will carry out the observations, data reduction, data analysis, and writing for publication must be presented.  A timeline of these activities must also be included.
  • Proposals must be submitted through the online submission form, which is accessible from the “Proposal Submission” tab at the top of this page, or from here.  We do not accept proposal resubmission before and after the proposal deadline unless it is properly justified.

Proposal Evaluation

The proposals will be evaluated by an expert group of external referees, and the final time allocation will be made at the Time Allocation Committee.  It is advised that the proposers clearly state the science value, uniqueness/originality, and the proposal’s connection to ALMA.

Proprietary Period

Data taken with the Mopra telescope will be archived in the Australia Telescope Online Archive (ATOA), with a proprietary period of 18 months from the date of observations.

Source Duplication Rules

The proposer is strongly encouraged to query the ATOA to check whether their sources have been observed before at the proposed frequencies.  If the target has been observed before, we ask the proposer to justify the re-observation.

Observation and Data Reduction Support

All users are required to carry out their approved observations and subsequent data reduction. A dedicated remote observing tool on the web will be used for observations, and all observations will be carried out remotely. NAOJ does not guarantee time lost due to bad weather, and observations will be provided at best effort basis. Experienced users can operate the telescope from their home institute. Users who are not accustomed to Morpa observations are required to visit the EA-ARC for observational support, at least during the first few days of observations. Details of this support will be notified to the PIs with approved proposals. 

We ask all users to carry out their own data reduction, and this is different from the model adopted by ALMA where we provide full support of data reduction by providing the calibrated and imaged final data cube.  Please use the native Mopra reduction software ASAP for position switched observations and Livedata/Gridzilla for OTF.  Documentation for the use of these software are nicely summarized in the "Data Reduction & Calibration" section of the Mopra homepage. We do have some limited resources to answer questions that may arise during data reduction, and we would like to ask users to send their questions to mopra-info --at-- (they will be answered in the order they are received).   Unfortunately, since these software are not developed by us, our support will be limited to basic usage of the software.  We apologize for the inconvenience that this may cause.

NAOJ Chile Observatory