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Forthcoming Project Peer Review Panel meeting Summary - December 20

The December meeting of the Projects Peer Review Panel (PPRP) will take place virtually via Zoom. The presentation and Q&A session for the proposals are open to members of the science community to observe. The Panel will be reviewing three project proposals. Anyone who wishes to attend should contact Christopher Carlton who will send them the Zoom details for the meeting.

The proposals being reviewed, and time of review are as follows:

30 November 10.30 – 11.45 Next Generation MCAO System For Large Aperture Solar Telescopes

Large aperture ground-based solar telescopes address key science questions that are at the heart of the UK (and international) Solar Physics community's research programmes in solar dynamos, magnetic flux emergence, energy transport and magnetically-driven activity; the process that underpin space weather. They will provide revolutionary advances through their unprecedented spatial, spectra and temporal resolution, coupled with high spectro-polarimetric accuracy, enabling unprecedented studies of fundamental processes in the solar atmosphere.

Multiple Conjugate Adaptive Optics (MCAO) is a technology that will enable these telescopes to deliver the highest spatial resolution images of the surface of the Sun across fields of view up to an arcminute in diameter. However, the performance requirements imposed by the visible wavelength operation in strong daytime turbulence conditions are far more stringent than for equivalent night-time observing and the challenges of meeting the required spatial and temporal resolutions push

the boundaries of current camera technologies and data management.

This proposal investigates some of the key issues that will support the existing wide-field AO instrumentation development programs at the Daniel K Inouye solar telescope (DKIST) and the future European Solar Telescope (EST) with a strong focus on enhancing scientific productivity. Alongside the AO aspects that are critical to achieving the highest spatial resolutions it also seeks to address the related questions of filter and camera design that are required to meet the highest spatial and temporal scales, and the corresponding challenge of managing the associate data volumes. The proposal has been designed to target research topics that are currently not being investigated in depth by the EST and DKIST teams where the UK has world-leading research teams.

The Panel goes into closed session for the rest of the day.

7 December 11.15 – 12.45 LHCb Upgrade II: Maximising HL-LHC Discovery Potential

The LHCb Upgrade II proposal addresses the goal set out in the European Strategy for Particle Physics of exploiting fully the physics potential of the High Luminosity LHC.

The experiment is designed to exploit the high production rate of heavy flavoured (beauty and charm) particles in LHC collisions, enabling precision searches for physics beyond the Standard Model through loop processes. LHCb Upgrade II builds on the existing infrastructure of the LHCb experiment, with upgrades to all subdetector systems and new elements that will provide capability to resolve particles from different collisions in the same bunch crossing through the use of precision timing information.

Data will be recorded at much higher rates than currently possible, leading to a broad and exciting physics programme, unmatched by any other experiment.

This proposal is for a 3-year R&D project within the UK to develop specific, strategic technologies that will enable the physics goals of LHCb Upgrade II to be achieved.

The UK groups have particular interests in addressing challenges in vertexing and tracking, charged hadron identification and data processing by developing strategic technologies, and the project is structured into workpackages accordingly.

It has been agreed that the funding requests for this project be submitted and reviewed in two parts: the first covering bridging for the first year (Oct. 2020-Sep. 2021) was reviewed at the October 2020 PPRP. This meeting will review the remaining two years (Oct. 2021-Sep. 2023).

The Panel goes into closed session for the rest of the day.

8 December 10.30 – 11.45 New Robotic Telescope

The New Robotic Telescope (NRT) project aims to build the world's largest and fastest responding robotic telescope. It is a collaboration between astronomers and engineers in the UK, Spain and China and combines the expertise of the existing Liverpool Telescope (LT) in robotisation with that of the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) in segmented telescope mirrors, which are lighter weight than traditional mirrors and so easier to move around the sky quickly. Overall NRT will have both 4 times the sensitivity (light collecting area) and 4x quicker response time (slew speed between targets) than the LT.

NRT will give UK astronomers the opportunity to lead a broad base of science areas, especially by creating world-class capabilities for understanding the physics of transient objects detected by new survey telescopes. NRT will be co-located on La Palma (one of the best observing sites in the world) with the LT (which will transition to a wide field support and greater public outreach and education role). It will be operated as a national facility, with access to all UK professional astronomers as well as to astronomers in our partner countries.

The Panel goes into closed session for the rest of the day.

Last updated: 10 December 2020

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