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Revision History
Revision 1.72018 Mar 15jbs
Changes recommended by ATUC, including clarification of NAPA/ToO policies, and of what is expected during unattended observing.
Revision 1.62017 Jun 01jbs
Changes relating to the rapid response mode
Revision 1.52016 Sep 14jbs
Changes relating to the RFI surveys at 4cm and 15mm
Revision 1.42016 May 31jbs
Changes relating to the ATCA alarm Twitter feed
Revision 1.32016 May 9jbs
Changes relating to the new 1934-638 high-frequency flux density scale
Revision 1.22016 Apr 26jbs
Revert a change after a fix to vis
Revision 1.12016 Apr 21jbs
Add a section that can be updated with the latest changes
Revision 1.02014 May 31jbs
Initial Docbook revision

1. Read this First

This manual describes how to apply for observing time, make a schedule file, and carry out an observation with the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA).

This manual is a reference guide: you do not need to read all of it to use the ATCA. Chapter 1 describes the telescope and what you need to know before proposing to use it. Chapter 2 can be read after getting observing time on the ATCA. It describes how to prepare for your observations. Chapter 3 deals with the online software and all the details of how to actually do your observations. Chapter 4 goes into detail about what to do with your data after it has been collected. The appendices provide additional details above and beyond what will usually be required for routine observing.

In 2014 April there was a major overhaul of this manual: the presentation of the document on the web and in print was improved, and the content was significantly updated. Copies of this manual and other ATNF documentation can be obtained from the ATNF webpages.

If you find that any part of the Compact Array doesn't work as described in any of our documentation, please email the ATCA Users Guide (ATUG) editorial team at , or start a conversation at the ATCA Forum.

Comments on documentation are especially welcomed.

If you can't find the information you require in this Users Guide and would like to ask our expert users how to do something, please visit the ATCA Forum website.You can also start or participate in conversations about your experiences with the ATCA, as well as find out about any issues that can affect your data and how to deal with them.

If you are completely new to radio interferometry, the following reading is recommended:

  • Remind yourself about Fourier theory — an appropriate summary can be found in Chapter 1 of Bracewell (1978, 1986, 1999).

  • Review the principles and techniques of radio-astronomy, e.g., Kraus (1986); Christiansen & Hogbom (1985); Thompson, Moran & Swenson (1986, 2001). The latter is probably the best single book on the subject of radio interferometry.

  • Read the introductory chapters of one of the NRAO Synthesis Imaging Summer School lectures in Perley, Schwab & Bridle (1989) or Taylor, Carilli & Perley (1999).

  • Perhaps also look at Galactic and Extragalactic Radioastronomy by Verschuur & Kellermann (1988) if you are not already familiar with the field.