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e-MERLIN and EVN in the SKA era

Workshop II, Jodrell Bank Observatory 11-12th September 2017

e-MERLIN telescopese-MERLIN
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Workshop motivation:

This will be the second of a series of open meetings and workshops to allow the astronomical community to discuss and contribute to the future developments and operations of the UK's National Radio Astronomy Facility, e-MERLIN and the European VLBI Network (EVN). This follows on from the first highly successful meeting held in September 2016 at JBO (JBO in SKA era). The main purpose of the meeting will be to inform the community of the existing and upgraded capabilities of e-MERLIN and the EVN and discuss the scientific and technical priorities for these facilities in the coming years.

The UK is taking a global leadership role in the SKA project. The HQ of the SKA Organisation will be based in the UK at Jodrell Bank, and the UK is leading the international investment in the SKA.

e-MERLIN, the UK's National Radio Astronomy facility, and the 76-m Lovell Telescope constitute major radio astronomical facilities providing sub- arcsecond resolution imaging capabilities and state-of-the-art pulsar time- domain capabilities. These existing facilities already provide an instrument of comparable to SKA1-mid in terms of frequency coverage, resolution and bandwidth. In addition to these capabilities we are currently developing a range of exciting, cost effective, new upgrade possibilities which will increase the frequency coverage, angular resolution, sensitivity along with state-of-the-art developments in software and analysis techniques. These opportunities will both provide a world-class scientific facility in the UK and substantially strengthen the UK's ability to maximise its scientific return from the SKA.

The European VLBI Network (EVN) is a world-leading instrument and one of the most sensitive VLBI arrays over a broad range of frequencies available with a wide range of science and technical capabilities. The UK is one of the founder members of the EVN and e-MERLIN/JBO telescopes are a major component of this facility. On-going technical and capability improvements to the EVN, including the integration of e-MERLIN telescopes as a 'short-spacing' component, the incorporation of new large telescopes (e.g. 64-m Sardina and Shanghai telescopes), increased real-time and broader-band operations continue to enhancing the EVN's capabilities. As part of a Horizon-2020 supported programme a wide community exercise to outline the role of VLBI in the scientific landscape of the next decade. As part of this meeting there will be a first opportunity for the community to contribute to the initial stages of this wider process.

The combination of e-MERLIN, the EVN and the Lovell telescope are unique and world-class facilities providing a powerful European suite of scientitic instruments.

We invite the astronomical community to this second in a series of open workshops to discuss the science results, capabilities and future developments of these radio facilities within the global context of radio astronomy.

The full programme including presentations here

Past meeting programmes and presentations

This meeting in part of a regular series of meetings held at JBO for the e-MERLIN science community.

Meeting 1: September 2016
Meeting 2: September 2017


The meeting is centred on talks by invited speakers but we encourage anyone interested in the project to join in with discussion. Please use this form for registration.

We are grateful to the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, the e-MERLIN National facility and The University of Manchester for sponsoring this meeting.

The University of Manchester is committed to creating an environment where diversity is celebrated and everyone is treated fairly regardless of gender, disability, ethnic orgin, religion or belief, sexual orientaton, marital status, age or nationality. Participants are requested to abide by the JBCA Code of Conduct and the university's policy on equality and diversity

There will be no registration fee for attendees at this meeting. Lunches and coffee on all days, and transport to and from the recommended hotel will be provided.

Science Topics:

  • Galaxy Evolution
  • Deep galactic and extragalactic radio surveys
  • Lensing and Cosmology
  • High resolution radio imaging
  • Planet and star-formation astrophysics
  • Pulsar and time-domain astrophysics
  • Transients and variability

Technical developments and proposals:

  • Software developments: implementation and deployment of the full SKA1 data processing pipeline on e-MERLIN and the support of tailored algorithm development
  • Deployment of new low-noise broadband receivers covering the 2-4GHz frequency range on all e-MERLIN telescopes.
  • Deployment of new low-noise broadband receivers, based on the SKA1-Mid design covering the 8-16GHz frequency range on all e-MERLIN telescopes.
  • Fully integrated Lovell and e-MERLIN operations Phased Array Feed for the Lovell telescope - factor 4 increase in survey speed and the development of broadband cyrogenic (1.4-4GHz) Phased-array feeds.
  • Increased bandwidth data transmission, via new digital upgrades - for increased sensitivity and band coverage
  • Replacement of the Defford telescope with an SKA1-mid dish to enhance high frequency capabilities
  • Rapid trigger for transient and variable observations
  • Tied-array operations for time-domain astrophysics
  • Fully integrated combined EVN/e-MERLIN arcsecond-to- milliarcsecond imaging
  • Future EVN developments
  • Advanced imaging and non-imaging analysis techniques A UK test-bed for SKA science and technology

Workshop programme:

The full programme available here

The workshop will combine updates from the facility on planned developments and contributed science talks with extended discussion regarding the proposed development plans and future key science programmes. This will provide the opportunity for the community to contribute to the direction of this development plan and the future usage of the facilities

To facilitate participant travel the workshop will begin on the Monday 11th September at around lunchtime and run till the end of Tuesday 12th September.

Workshop objectives:

At this second workshop, the wide astronomy community is invited to contribute ideas and visions for the strategic development of the UK's National radio astronomy facility. To facilitate open discussion, this initial workshop will be limited to approximately 40 attendees. It will be hosted at Jodrell Bank Observatory, and sponsored by the University of Manchester and the e-MERLIN National Radio Astronomy Facility.

For further information please contact Rob Beswick (robert.beswick@manchester.ac.uk)

Local Organizing Committee:

Rob Beswick, Simon Garrington, Tom Muxlow, Javier Moldon, Nick Wrigley, Jane Cox, Laura Knighton


If you need an invitation letter to obtain a Visa to enter the UK please get in touch with Rob Beswick (robert.beswick@manchester.ac.uk)


We have held rooms at the Wilmslow Lodge on the Sunday and Monday nights for delegates to book. Should you wish to stay there on one or both nights, please call them directly and quote “Jodrell Bank” as a reference when you book. Their phone number is 01625 532 300 and further information can be found on their website here

Other options for local hotels include De Trafford Arms, Alderley Edge, Premier Inn, Wilmslow

During the meeting we will provide bus transport between the Wilmslow Lodge and Jodrell Bank Observatory. If you book a different hotel in Wilmslow you will need to make your own way to the pick up point. We can ask for an additional pick up at the De Trafford Arms, Alderley Edge. If you will need this, please let us know by 4 September 2017. To book your space on the bus, please email Laura Knighton

Travel and directions

The meeting is taking place at Jodrell Bank Observatory, located 20 miles south of Manchester. Ample car parking is available in the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre car park. The meeting will be held in the Discovery Centre buildings (Wolfson Auditorium, Star Pavilion)

By Aeroplane

The closest airport is Manchester International Airport.

By Train

Transport by train can best be arranged by using the National Rail Enquiries website.

Wilmslow train station is a 10 minute walk from the Wilmslow Lodge. We could ask the bus to make an additional pick up at Wilmslow train station if needed. You would need to be arriving at Wilmslow train station by 12 noon on Monday and by 8:30 on Tuesday for this to be possible. Please email Laura Knighton to request this.
The closest train station to Jodrell Bank is Goostrey, which is a small local stop on the Crewe/Manchester line. We would not advise walking from Goostrey station as the country roads do not have pavements or any pedestrian safety measures. If you need help arranging transport from Goostrey station to Jodrell Bank, please email Laura Knighton.

By Taxi

If you wish to take a taxi from the airport, then we recommend using Arrow Cars rather than a black cab as they are considerably cheaper. You can find the Arrow Car desk inside the terminals at the airport or you can book them online.

Minibus times

The minibus between the hotels and Jodrell Bank has been booked and is provided by Bullocks coaches. The times for stops are:

Monday 11 September
11:50 - Wilmslow train station pick up
11:55 - The Wilmslow Lodge pick up
12:10 - The De Trafford Arms pick up
12:30 - Arrive at Jodrell

20:00 - leave Jodrell after conference dinner

Tuesday 12 September
08:20 - Wilmslow train station pick up
08:25 - The Wilmslow Lodge pick up
08:40 - The De Trafford Arms pick up
09:00 - Arrive at Jodrell

16:30 - leave Jodrell

Please note if you are taking the Jodbus back to Manchester, that leaves Jodrell at 17:00

If you have any questions or need any assistance with transport or accommodation arrangements, please email Laura Knighton (laura.knighton@manchester.ac.uk) who will be happy to help.

Radionet Support

Some limited financial support for travel and/or accommodation will be available. This will primarily be used to support early career participants and is generously provided by RadioNet. If you require financial support please contact the LOC as soon as possible for more details. RadioNet is an European Union Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under grant agreement No 730562.

Radionet logo EU flag

This event has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 730562 [RadioNet]

Rob Beswick