In recent years investigations in the mm wavelength range of the electromagnetic spectrum have significantly contributed to our knowledge in all branches of astronomy. The two leading instruments for mm-astronomy, namely the IRAM 30-m telescope (Granada, Spain) and the IRAM Plateau de Bure interferometer are located in Europe, and the leading instrument on the southern hemisphere (SEST) is also operated by European organisations (European Southern Observatory, and Chalmers University, Sweden). In the future, European astronomers will also have access to a mm-array of 64 antennas in the Atacama desert. This Atacama Large mm- Array (ALMA) will be a global 500MEuro project with European (ESO, IRAM) USA and perhaps Japanese contribution. Although these instruments are open to any European astronomer, traditionally the main users come from centers with a radioastronomical background that offer students, a wide range of lectures and lab courses on mm- astronomy. We want to attract young astronomers from traditionally non-radioastronomical sites in Europe to become users of the existing and future mm-telescopes.
Single dish astronomy and interferometry are using quite different techniques. We therefore are planning two complementary lab courses for young researchers outside the mm-community. The first course will mainly deal with mm-wave spectroscopy; the second course with interferometry. Both courses offer a range of lectures, scientific highlight talks, observations with the leading telescopes and interaction with experts in the field.
The proposed LabCourses have three main goals: 1. To give the attendants the expertise to prepare an observing proposal, to perform observations, to reduce and interpret the data obtained; 2. To learn about the questions that can be answered by mm-wave observations, and the underlying physical and chemical background; 3. Finally we would like to stimulate their enthusiasm by highlighting the state of the art of mm- astronomical observations and important results.