PL EN


NEWS

2018.08.14

Registration reminder: SALT conference Nov 2018

Dear SALT community,

Thank you to all who have expressed interest in the November SALT conference thus far! We are looking forward to productive and interesting meeting.

This is a reminder that the registration deadline is almost upon us - if you have not yet done so, please sign up at http://salt-conference-2018.salt.ac.za by the end of day on * Friday 17 August *

For more information, see the original announcement below. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.
Kind regards,
Ros (on behalf of the LOC/SOC)


We invite the SALT community to join us for a conference “Advances with SALT”, to be held in Pretoria, South Africa, from 14 – 16 November 2018.

The conference will reflect on the recent scientific achievements enabled by SALT and look forward to new developments, providing an opportunity for SALT users and staff to gather together to discuss new results, upcoming projects, the strategic vision and plans for SALT’s future. In addition to keynote and contributed presentations, there will be practical sessions on making the most of SALT and dealing with data, less formal “unconference” sessions and discussions. We invite contributions on a broad range of science topics, instrumentation, SALT in outreach and other SALT-related themes.

For more information and to register, see the conference website: http://salt-conference-2018.salt.ac.za.

The conference registration fee, covering the cost of lunches and refreshments, the conference dinner and a t-shirt, is R2500. We particularly encourage students and emerging researchers that use SALT or have an interest in using it in future to attend! We expect to be able to waive the registration fee and provide a limited number of travel grants for students from both South Africa and the international SALT partners, thanks to financial support from the SA National Research Foundation and SALT. Please indicate on the registration form if you are a student applying for support.

Venue:
The conference takes place at the NRF’s Albert Luthuli Auditorium in Pretoria. Accommodation is available at the nearby Lynwood City Lodge, and should be booked before 15 September to take advantage of the group rate. Please see the website for more information.

Important dates:

Registration and abstract submission deadline: 15 August The programme will be announced and recipients of travel grants will be notified in early September.

Contact:
Please email us at conference2018@salt.ac.za if you have any questions.

Kind regards,
Ros Skelton and Encarni Romero Colmenero, on behalf of the LOC and SOC

SOC:
Matt Bershady (co-chair)
Encarni Romero Colmenero (co-chair)
Joanna Mikolajewska
Saurabh Jha
Brian van Soelen
Brent Miszalski
Ros Skelton

LOC:
Ros Skelton
Encarni Romero Colmenero
Christian Hettlage
Nhlavutelo Macebele
Lisa Crause
Nazli Mohammed
Surayda Moosa
and the SALT Astronomy Operations team

______________________________________________________________________
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2018.07.25

Second announcement: SALT Conference November 2018

Second announcement
--------------------

We invite the SALT community to join us for a conference “Advances with SALT”, to be held in Pretoria, South Africa, from 14 – 16 November 2018.

The conference will reflect on the recent scientific achievements enabled by SALT and look forward to new developments, providing an opportunity for SALT users and staff to gather together to discuss new results, upcoming projects, the strategic vision and plans for SALT’s future. In addition to keynote and contributed presentations, there will be practical sessions on making the most of SALT and dealing with data, less formal “unconference” sessions and discussions. We invite contributions on a broad range of science topics, instrumentation, SALT in outreach and other SALT-related themes.

For more information and to register, see the conference website: http://salt-conference-2018.salt.ac.za.

The conference registration fee, covering the cost of lunches and refreshments, the conference dinner and a t-shirt, is R2500. We particularly encourage students and emerging researchers that use SALT or have an interest in using it in future to attend! We expect to be able to waive the registration fee and provide a limited number of travel grants for students from both South Africa and the international SALT partners, thanks to financial support from the SA National Research Foundation and SALT. Please indicate on the registration form if you are a student applying for support.

Venue:
The conference takes place at the NRF’s Albert Luthuli Auditorium in Pretoria. Accommodation is available at the nearby Lynwood City Lodge, and should be booked before 15 September to take advantage of the group rate. Please see the website for more information.

Important dates:

Registration and abstract submission deadline: 15 August The programme will be announced and recipients of travel grants will be notified in early September.

Contact:
Please email us at conference2018@salt.ac.za if you have any questions.

Kind regards,
Ros Skelton and Encarni Romero Colmenero, on behalf of the LOC and SOC

SOC:
Matt Bershady (co-chair)
Encarni Romero Colmenero (co-chair)
Joanna Mikolajewska
Saurabh Jha
Brian van Soelen
Brent Miszalski
Ros Skelton

LOC:
Ros Skelton
Encarni Romero Colmenero
Christian Hettlage
Nhlavutelo Macebele
Lisa Crause
Nazli Mohammed
Surayda Moosa
and the SALT Astronomy Operations team


______________________________________________________________________
Subscribe - https://list.saao.ac.za/wws/subscribe/saltenews
Unsubscribe - https://list.saao.ac.za/wws/sigrequest/saltenews
Other SAAO Mailing Lists - https://list.saao.ac.za/wws/lists



2018.06.18

SALT Call for Proposals 2018-2

Dear Colleagues,

We would like to inform you that we are now accepting SALT Phase 1 proposals for the period 01 November 2018 - 30 April 2019 (2018 Semester 2).

The Phase 1 proposal deadline is Tuesday, 31 July 2018, at 18:00 SAST (corresponding to 16:00 UTC).

This proposal call is for SALTICAM, RSS, HRS, and BVIT. All details of the status of specific instrument modes are available in the Call for Proposals link below, including changes from previous semesters.

Please submit your proposal via the SALT Principal Investigator Proposal Tool (PIPT). Instructions, software, and other information about proposing for SALT can be found on the SALT website.

Call for Proposals, including link to information document: http://astronomers.salt.ac.za/proposals/

Instructions for submitting your proposal: http://astronomers.salt.ac.za/proposals/phase-i/

Download the PIPT software: http://astronomers.salt.ac.za/software/#PIPT

All questions regarding this proposal call should be addressed to: salthelp(at)salt.ac.za

Sincerely,
SALT Astronomy Operations


_____________________________________________________________________
Subscribe - https://list.saao.ac.za/wws/subscribe/saltenews
Unsubscribe - https://list.saao.ac.za/wws/sigrequest/saltenews
Other SAAO Mailing Lists - https://list.saao.ac.za/wws/lists



2018.05.25

First announcement: "Advances with SALT" Conference, Pretoria (South Africa), 14-16 November 2018

First announcement
---------------------------
We invite the SALT community to join us for a conference “Advances with SALT”, to be held in Pretoria, South Africa, from 14 – 16 November 2018.

The conference will reflect on the recent scientific achievements enabled by SALT and look forward to new developments, providing an opportunity for SALT users and staff to gather together to discuss new results, upcoming projects, the strategic vision and plans for SALT’s future. In addition to keynote and contributed presentations, there will be practical sessions on making the most of SALT and dealing with data, less formal “unconference” sessions and discussions. We invite contributions on a broad range of science topics, instrumentation, SALT in outreach and other SALT-related themes.

For more information and to register, see the conference website: http://salt-conference-2018.salt.ac.za/.

The conference registration fee, covering the cost of lunches and refreshments, the conference dinner and a t-shirt, is R2500. We particularly encourage students and emerging researchers that use SALT or have an interest in using it in future to attend! We expect to be able to waive the registration fee and provide a limited number of travel grants for students from both South Africa and the international SALT partners, thanks to financial support from the SA National Research Foundation and SALT. Please indicate on the registration form if you are a student applying for support.

Venue:
The conference takes place at the NRF’s Albert Luthuli Auditorium in Pretoria. We are looking into a hotel block booking at the Lynwood City Lodge - more details on the accommodation will be provided as soon as possible.

Important dates:

Registration and abstract submission deadline: 15 August The programme will be announced and recipients of travel grants will be notified in September.

Contact:
Please email us at conference2018@salt.ac.za if you have any questions.

Kind regards,
Ros Skelton and Encarni Romero Colmenero, on behalf of the LOC and SOC

SOC:
Matt Bershady (co-chair)
Encarni Romero Colmenero (co-chair)
Joanna Mikolajewska
Saurabh Jha
Brian van Soelen
Brent Miszalski
Ros Skelton


LOC:
Ros Skelton
Encarni Romero Colmenero
Christian Hettlage
Nhlavutelo Macebele
Lisa Crause
Nazli Mohammed
Surayda Moosa
and the SALT Astronomy Operations team



2017.12.21

SALT Call for Proposals 2018-1

Dear Colleagues,

We would like to inform you that we are now accepting SALT Phase 1 proposals for the period 01 May 2018 - 31 October 2018 (2018 Semester 1).

The Phase 1 proposal deadline is Wednesday, 31 January 2018, at 18:00 SAST (corresponding to 16:00 UTC).

This proposal call is for SALTICAM, RSS, HRS, and BVIT. All details of the status of specific instrument modes are available in the Call for Proposals link below, including changes from previous semesters.

Please submit your proposal via the SALT Principal Investigator Proposal Tool (PIPT). Instructions, software, and other information about proposing for SALT can be found on the SALT website.

Call for Proposals, including link to information document: http://astronomers.salt.ac.za/proposals/

Instructions for submitting your proposal: http://astronomers.salt.ac.za/proposals/phase-i/

Download the PIPT software: http://astronomers.salt.ac.za/software/#PIPT

All questions regarding this proposal call should be addressed to: salthelp(at)salt.ac.za

Sincerely,
SALT Astronomy Operations



2017.12.06

Call for Proposals for semester 2018-1, which will be issued on the 20th December with deadline 31st January 2018 at 16:00 UT.


2017.12.06

SALT Newsletter - December 2017



2017.07.12

SALT Newsletter - July 2017



2017.06.23

SALT Call for Proposals 2017-2

Dear Colleagues,

We would like to inform you that we are now accepting SALT Phase 1 proposals for the period 01 November 2017 - 30 April 2018 (2017 Semester 2).

The Phase 1 proposal deadline is Friday, 28 July 2017, at 18:00 SAST (corresponding to 16:00 UTC).

This proposal call is for SALTICAM, RSS, HRS, and BVIT. All details of the status of specific instrument modes are available from the Call for Proposals link below, including changes from previous semesters. PIs should note that SALT will likely have a stand-down period of 4 weeks during March 2018 to install the new RSS guider, amongst other improvements.

Please submit your proposal via the SALT Principal Investigator Proposal Tool (PIPT). Instructions, software, and other information about proposing for SALT can be found on the SALT website.

Call for Proposals, including link to information document: http://astronomers.salt.ac.za/proposals/

Instructions for submitting your proposal: http://astronomers.salt.ac.za/proposals/phase-i/

Download the latest PIPT software: http://astronomers.salt.ac.za/software/

All questions regarding this proposal call should be addressed to: salthelp(at)salt.ac.za

Sincerely,
SALT Astronomy Operations



2017.02.28

SALT Newsletter - February 2017



2017.01.27

Reminder: SALT proposal deadline

Dear SALT users,

we wish to remind you of the imminent SALT proposal deadline on Wed Feb 1, 16:00 UT for Semester 2017-1. See http://astronomers.salt.ac.za/proposals/

Also, PIs of current 2016-2 proposals please note that there will be a scheduled shutdown period of SALT for March 1-28 for a tracker upgrade.

SALT Astro Ops



Reminder: SALT workshop in Poland 2017

Dear SALT Community,

We would like to kindly remind you that, if you wish to make an oral presentation during the workshop on:

"SALT among the constellations of very large telescopes"

Kazimierz Dolny, Poland
7-9 June 2017

the deadline for your title and abstract submission is 31 January 2017
(for details visit: https://salt2017.camk.edu.pl/).



Sincerely,

SOC & LOC



SALT Call for Proposals 2017-1

Dear Colleagues,

We would like to inform you that we are now accepting SALT Phase 1 proposals for the period 01 May 2017 - 31 October 2017 (2017 Semester 1).

The Phase 1 proposal deadline is Wednesday, 1 February 2017, at 18:00 SAST (corresponding to 16:00 UTC).

This proposal call is for SALTICAM, RSS, HRS, and BVIT. All details of the status of specific instrument modes are available in the Call for Proposals link below, including changes from previous semesters. A new development enhancing data quality of all instruments is the recent successful introduction of active mirror alignment on SALT.

Please submit your proposal via the SALT Principal Investigator Proposal Tool (PIPT). Instructions, software, and other information about proposing for SALT can be found on the SALT website.

Call for Proposals, including link to information document:
http://astronomers.salt.ac.za/proposals/

Instructions for submitting your proposal:
http://astronomers.salt.ac.za/proposals/phase-i/

Download the PIPT software:
http://astronomers.salt.ac.za/software/#PIPT

All questions regarding this proposal call should be addressed to: salthelp(at)salt.ac.za

Sincerely,
SALT Astronomy Operations



SALT Newsletter October 2016



SALT Call for Proposals 2016-2

Dear Colleagues,

We would like to inform you that we are now accepting SALT Phase 1 proposals for the period 01 November 2016 - 30 April 2017 (2016 Semester 2).

The Phase 1 proposal deadline is Friday, 29 July 2016, at 18:00 SAST (corresponding to 16:00 UTC).

This proposal call is for SALTICAM, RSS, HRS, and BVIT. All details of the status of specific instrument modes are available in the Call for Proposals link below, including changes from previous semesters. A new development enhancing data quality of all instruments is the recent successful introduction of active mirror alignment on SALT.

Please submit your proposal via the SALT Principal Investigator Proposal Tool (PIPT). Instructions, software, and other information about proposing for SALT can be found on the SALT website.

Call for Proposals, including link to information document: http://astronomers.salt.ac.za/proposals/

Instructions for submitting your proposal: http://astronomers.salt.ac.za/proposals/phase-i/

Download the PIPT software: http://astronomers.salt.ac.za/software/#PIPT

All questions regarding this proposal call should be addressed to: salthelp(at)salt.ac.za

Sincerely,
SALT Astronomy Operations



SALT Newsletter May 2016



SALT Status January 2016

Dear SALT users,

please find our first SALT status update for 2016 attached. A text-only version follows below as well.

regards, SALT Astronomy Operations


Topics:

- Reminder of Phase-1 deadline for 2016-1: Friday, Jan 29th
- Updated PIPT manual
- Record breaking weather and seeing
- Polarimetry update
- Fabry-Perot update
- Upgrade projects and 2015-2 targets
- Laser Frequency Comb update
- Press release: Brightest ever Supernova
- Science papers


REMINDER OF PHASE-1 DEADLINE FOR 2016-1

All PIs are reminded of the deadline at 18:00 SAST (16:00 UTC) this Friday, Jan 29th. Please refer to the detailed information in the Call for Proposals: http://astronomers.salt.ac.za/proposals/


UPDATED PIPT MANUAL

We are currently updating the PIPT manual. The new version so far covers the general proposal creation process as well as the various phase 1 forms. The manual is available both as html (http://pysalt.salt.ac.za/pipt-manual/html/pipt-manual.html) and pdf (http://pysalt.salt.ac.za/pipt-manual/pdf/pipt-manual.pdf).


RECORD BREAKING WEATHER AND SEEING

As much of South Africa is grappling with drought, November and December of 2015 saw extremely good weather in Sutherland, astronomically speaking. The weather downtime of 21% at SALT in the month of December was the lowest ever since SALT records began. The seeing was also very good, the intrinsic V-band seeing at zenith occasionally staying sub-arcsec for hours at a time. The picture shows a field in the Large Magellanic Cloud taken during a SALTICAM science observation for Warner 2015-2-SCI-033 with approximately 1.2" sizes of stars on the detector.

The weather in January in contrast has not been very good. Nevertheless, at this point, with about 45% the semester 2015-2 behind us, nearly half of allocated P0-P1 time has been done, as well as about a third of all P2 time.


POLARIMETRY UPDATE

As described in the Call for Proposals, commissioning of the RSS Polarimetric modes has been progressing, and we accept proposals for 2016-1 for a limited mode: point-source or compact object targets for linear long-slit spectropolarimetry. PIs interested in other modes are encouraged to let salthelp know of their intentions for the purpose of prioritizing further commissioning.

However, we have recently uncovered a potential problem in the RSS detector (PDET) electronics making accurate polarimetric signal determination difficult below approximately 0.3% level. The problem is being investigated, and while we hope a solution is found before the start of 2016-1 Semester in May, users needing this accuracy should be aware of this potential limitation.

For now, we strongly recommend sticking with the Faint/Slow detector setting, and obtaining repeat measurements to assess systematic error.


FABRY-PEROT UPDATE

The dual-etalon High Resolution (HR) mode has been tested on-sky, but is still not in routine use due to instability in the relative alignment of the two etalons. We have now traced the drifts to changes with temperature. Further tests are underway, but unfortunately it is not clear at this stage when a successful fix will be ready. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience to all PIs affected in the current semester. You may contact your liaison astronomer if you have other options for your blocks, rather than wait for the fix.

Though we are hopeful, we cannot guarantee observations until commissioning is finalized. We will accept new FP/HR proposals for 2016-1, but the PIs should understand the uncertainty. In the Call for Proposals we suggest including a back-up plan, if possible. We will update the FP users and the TACs in late February during the technical reviews of proposals about the dual-etalon status.

As described in the Call of Proposals, the FP/LR and TF modes are in normal use, while MR is currently off-line and is not offered for 2016-1.


UPGRADE PROJECTS AND 2015-2 TARGETS

There are many ongoing technical upgrade projects at SALT. The most recent SALT schedule has the active primary mirror alignment system (SAMS) integration and testing happening March onwards, an RSS service with up to 4 weeks of telescope downtime in July/August during 2016-1, and a tracker upgrade during 2016-2. Especially exciting is to see what SAMS will do for SALT image quality.

The SAMS work does not involve significant telescope downtime, while we had originally scheduled a 4 week shutdown during the current 2015-2 semester. Since progress with science programs has also been good, it is possible that gaps will develop in the queue in March and April. We thus encourage users whose science allows it, to update lists of optional targets in a given time allocation for the latter half of 2015-2, or replace targets which have set with ones still visible.


LASER FREQUENCY COMB UPDATE

As reported in our previous status update and described in http://www.salt.ac.za/news/laser-frequency-comb/ we will likely be doing HRS on-sky tests using a prototype laser frequency comb (LFC) in the middle of this year. These instruments provide an incredibly precise method to calibrate spectroscopy using tens of thousands of lines with well known wavelengths. While the test is mainly an engineering project, it may be possible to do some limited science observations. No separate proposals are called for this purpose, but anyone within the SALT collaboration with interest and ideas on how to make use of the capability on HRS in the short time period the LFC is available, is encouraged to contact us at salthelp@salt.ac.za, preferably by the end of February.


SALT HELPS TO UNVEIL A RECORD-BREAKING COSMIC BLAST

Saurabh Jha, from Rutgers University, obtained spectroscopic observations of ASASSN-15lh with SALT that led to it being identified as the most luminous supernova ever seen! At a redshift of z = 0.2326, ASASSN-15lh reached an absolute magnitude of Mu,AB = -23.5 ± 0.1. The results were reported by Dong et al. in a recent Science paper, and the story has been mentioned in several major media outlets.

For further reading:

Science paper: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/351/6270/257
Press Release: http://www.salt.ac.za/news/record-breaking-cosmic-blast/
LA Times article: http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-huge-supernova-20160114-story.html


SCIENCE PAPERS

The total number of refereed papers using SALT continued to climb, reaching 36 for the calendar year 2015. The full list is available at http://astronomers.salt.ac.za/data/publications/

We strongly encourage SALT users to inform us of their papers making use of any SALT data, and to please adhere to the Acknowledgements policy found under the link above. It will make keeping track of the papers much easier. The SALT Board has also requested that authors using SALT data make an effort to make the source of their data as visible in their papers, e.g. by mentioning SALT in the title, if appropriate, or in the abstract.

SALT papers found from ADS after the previous SALT update sent in late October are listed below. These articles include the first one which has used published HRS data.

Chernyakova et al. and van Soelen et al have monitored the 2014 periastron phase of the binary system PSR B1259-63/LS 2883 using SALT data as well as SAAO 1.9m and X-ray data.
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2015MNRAS.454.1358C,
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2016MNRAS.455.3674V

Childress et al. measure the Nickel masses produced by type Ia Supernovae.
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2015MNRAS.454.3816C

Gvaramadze et al. describe the evolution in spectra of a new massive star MN44 in the luminous blue variable phase between 2009 and 2015.
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2015MNRAS.454.3710G

Kangas et al. observed the bright type II supernova 2013fc in the circumnuclear ring of a luminous infrared galaxy and describe its origins.
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2016MNRAS.456..323K

Kessler et al. describe the pipeline to search for transients in the Dark Energy Survey, some of which were confirmed with SALT.
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2015AJ....150..172K

Kollatschny et al. use multi-wavelength data to study the peculiarities of the extremely X-ray weak quasar PG0043+039.
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2016A%26A...585A..18K

Miszalski et al. report the discovery of an eclipsing dwarf nova in the peculiar, bilobed nova shell Te 11.
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2016MNRAS.456..633M

Ninan et al. present a detailed study on the outbursting protostar V899 Mon; the data used include the first HRS dataset to be published in a refereed paper.
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2015ApJ...815....4N