Astronomy and Astrophysics from Antarctica SRP Planning Group of SCAR 

First meeting

9:00 - 11:00 am, May 11, 2009 

Frascati, Italy 

Draft minutes prepared by ML Peronne


1. Welcome and Introduction

2. Discussion of how to achieve the program objectives, which are to:

3. Presentation on Antarctic data management.

4. Establishment of the four Working Groups, and suggestions for potential members.

The Working Groups are:

A. Site testing, validation and data archiving.

B. Arctic site testing.

C. Science goals.

D. Major new facilities.

5. Arrangements for Rio de Janeiro meeting in August

6. Any other business




1. Welcome and introduction.

J. Storey, chairman of the AAA Scientific Research Programme Planning Group, welcomed those present.  He outlined the structure of SCAR, and directed members to the SCAR we page at

SCAR is a Scientific Union charged with the initiating, developing and coordinating high quality international scientific research in the Antarctic region, and on the role of the Antarctic region in the Earth system. The scientific business of SCAR is conducted by its Standing Scientific Groups, which represent the scientific disciplines active in Antarctic research and report to SCAR (cf. web SCAR).

Standing Scientific Groups (SSG):

The conduct of science in Antarctica is one cornerstone of the Antarctic Treaty System. Antarctic Science is interdisciplinary, multinational, globally relevant, complex, and politically important.

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) became a union member of SCAR in July 2008 at the Delegates meeting in Moscow. At the same meeting, the Astronomy and Astrophysics Scientific Research Program (SRP) was approved, and a Planning Group formed to prepare for the commencement of the programme at the beginning of 2010. This will make it one of five SRPs.

This research programme has a budget of 15,000 USD per year for 4 years. The chairman of AAA said that he looked forward to strong support from the newly elected President of the SCAR, M.C. Kennicutt (Texas A&M University).

2. Discussion of how to achieve the program objectives

A brief discussion followed.

3. Data management (presentation by Phil Anderson from BAS, on behalf of Helen Campbell)

Note : this PowerPoint presentation is available here.

The Antarctic Treaty (section III.1.c) says, "Scientific observations and results from Antarctica shall be exchanged and made freely available."

The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) and the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programmes (COMNAP) established the Joint Committee on Antarctic Data Management (JCADM) in 1997 to manage Antarctic data. In December 2008 the formal linkage with COMNAP ceased and JCADM became SCADM (Standing Committee on Antarctic Data Management) from January 2009 (cf. web SCAR).

SCADM helps facilitate co-operation between scientists and nations with regard to scientific data. It advises on the development of the Antarctic Data Management System and plays a major role in the International Polar Year data system (IPYDIS).

Members of SCADM are usually managers of the National Antarctic Data Centres, or a relevant national contact. Helen Campbell is Deputy Chief Officer of the SCADM.

Antarctic Data management system:

1. The National Antarctic Data Centers (NADC) ensure long term archiving of all data collected in Polar areas.

2. The Antarctic Master Directory (AMD) directory of data set provides descriptions to enable discovery of data for interdisciplinary use.

3. Data management activities should be done in conjunction with the work of the International Virtual Observatory Alliance.

4. Establishment of the four Working Groups.

The chairman explained that the activities of AAA would be conducted by the four Working Groups, which are:

A. Site testing, validation and data archiving

B. Arctic site testing

C. Science goals

D. Major new facilities

He called for volunteers who would be expert members of these working groups, and asked that those present also nominate potential members.

The heaviest workload will probably fall on Working Group A, especially the data archiving aspects.

5. Arrangements for Rio de Janeiro meeting in August

The second meeting of the AAA SRP Planning Group will be held on Friday 7 August 2009, 1430 hrs at the Centro de Convencoes SulAmerica, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This meeting is being held to coincide with the IAU General Assembly XXVII, and will follow the SpS3: Astronomy in Antarctica session.

6. Any other business

N. Epchtein informed the meeting that atmospheric studies are among the targeted thematics that will be supported in the forthcoming call for I3 by the European Union.

The meeting closed at 11:00am

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