SCUBA-2 is a second generation, wide-field submillimetre camera under development for the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope. With over 12,000 pixels, in two arrays, SCUBA-2 will map the submillimetre sky up to 1000 times faster than the current SCUBA instrument to the same signal-to-noise. Many areas of astronomy will benefit from such a highly sensitive survey instrument: from studies of galaxy formation and evolution in the early Universe to understanding star and planet formation in our own Galaxy. Due to be operational in 2006, SCUBA-2 will also act as a "pathfinder" for the new generation of submillimetre interferometers (such as ALMA) by performing large-area surveys to an unprecedented depth. The baseline design, projected telescope performance and scientific impact of SCUBA-2 are discussed in the paper.
Ground-based submillimetre astronomy is beset by high extinction caused by water vapour. To ensure maximum scientific return and efficiency of operation it is critical to ensure that the scientific requirements are matched to the prevailing atmospheric conditions. This means that flexible observing is a requirement. The James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) has been undertaking scientifically prioritised, queue-based flexible observing for the past four years and this paper describes the experience and lists the lessons learned. It is absolutely clear that the JCMT and its user community has benefited enormously from the experience. The recent introduction of the Observing Management Project (OMP) will bring fully automated software solutions to bear that will ensure maximum efficiency is brought to the process for both the facility and the users.
The Submillimeter Common-User Bolometer Array (SCUBA) is one of a new generation of cameras designed to operate in the submillimeter waveband. The instrument has a wide wavelength range covering all the atmospheric transmission windows between 300 and 2000 micrometer. In the heart of the instrument are two arrays of bolometers optimized for the short (350/450 micrometer) and long (750/850 micrometer) wavelength ends of the submillimeter spectrum. The two arrays can be used simultaneously, giving a unique dual-wavelength capability, and have a 2.3 arc-minute field of view on the sky. Background-limited performance is achieved by cooling the arrays to below 100 mK. SCUBA has now been in active service for over a year, and has already made substantial breakthroughs in many areas of astronomy. In this paper we present an overview of the performance of SCUBA during the commissioning phase on the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT).