European ARC Newsletter
22 Mar 2019
ALMA from the air

Welcome to the European ALMA Regional Centre Newsletter!  

This Newsletter is a compilation of recent European ALMA Regional Centre Announcement items. Follow the links or visit the European ARC Announcements to read more. In addition to these Announcements the Newsletter informs you about various developments in the ALMA Programme, as well as about ALMA or ALMA-related meetings.

Up-to-date information about weather, configuration and scheduling can be found on the ALMA Status page.


ALMA Cycle 7 Call for Proposals in now open !

European ARC Announcements

ALMA Cycle 7 Call for Proposals is now open

19 Mar 2019:

The ALMA Director, on behalf of the Joint ALMA Observatory and the partner organizations in East Asia, Europe, and North America, is pleased to announce that the ALMA Cycle 7 Call for Proposals for scientific observations is now OPEN!

ALMA Cycle 7 is currently scheduled from October 2019 to September 2020. Users of any nationality or affiliation are invited to to submit proposals before the deadline of 15:00 UT on Wednesday 17 April 2019.

Read more

Vacancy Notice: Data Scientist

16 Mar 2019:

For its Data Management and Operations (DMO) Division within the Directorate of Operations at its Headquarters in Garching, near Munich, Germany, ESO is advertising the position of:

Data Scientist (Deep Learning)

The closing date for receipt of applications to be considered for the position is 31 March, 2019

Read more

Vacancy Notice: Observatory System Engineer

14 Mar 2019:

For the JAO Department of Science Operations (DSO) in Santiago and the OSF in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, the ALMA Observatory is opening the position of

Observatory System Engineer

The closing date for receipt of applications to be considered for the position is 8 April, 2019

Read more

Vacancy Notice: Astronomer - Department of Science Operations

14 Mar 2019:

For the JAO Department of Science Operations (DSO) in Santiago and the OSF in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, the ALMA Observatory is opening the position of


The closing date for receipt of applications to be considered for the position is 8 April, 2019.  

Read more

ERIS 2019

13 Mar 2019:

ERIS 2019: European Radio Interferometry School to be held 7-11 October 2019 in Gothenburg, Sweden

This school is the eighth of a series of summer schools supported by RadioNet. ERIS will provide a week of lectures and tutorials on how to achieve scientific results from radio interferometry.

Read more

ALMA long term configuration schedule

26 Feb 2019:

Long baselines only in Cycle 7 and 9: 

Starting from Cycle 7 there will be a longer term array configuration schedule indicating the anticipated configurations for the following three cycles, in this case Cycle 7, 8 and 9.

Read more

ALMA Programme News

ALMA 2019  

Registration has now opened for the next ALMA-wide science conference, to be held from 14-18 October 2019 in Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy.

The Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) is the world's most sensitive facility for millimeter/submillimeter astronomical observations, and will soon be fully operational in all of the originally planned bands. Since its first observations, ALMA has routinely delivered groundbreaking scientific results that span nearly all areas of astrophysics.

Following conferencences in Puerto Varas (Chile, 2012), Tokyo (Japan,2014), and Indian Wells (USA, 2016), the ALMA partnership is organizing the next ALMA Science Conference in Cagliari (Sardinia, Italy) on October 14-18, 2019.

At the conference we expect to discuss the full breadth of ALMA science, with special emphasis on results from the first rounds of ALMA Large Programmes, the long baselines and high frequency capabilities, the new Solar and VLBI modes, as well as the synergy between ALMA and other observatories. Science topics will include all fields of astronomy, from cosmology and galaxies in the distant Universe, nearby galaxies and the Galactic Center, interstellar medium and star formation in our Galaxy, astrochemistry, circumstellar disks, exoplanets, solar system, stellar evolution, and the Sun.

As in previous editions of the conference series, we expect to discuss the scientific priorities for the implementation of the ALMA Development Roadmap.

The meeting is sponsored by ESO, INAF, iALMA, and Radionet. In particular, this event has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 730562 [RadioNet].

Conference websites:

Important dates:

  • Registration opened: 13 March 2019
  • Abstract submission deadline: 15 May 2019
  • Deadline to request financial support: 15 May 2019
  • Notification of talk selection: 1 July 2019
  • Regular registration deadline: 31 July 2019
  • Late registration deadline: 13 September 2019

ALMA Development Workshop

Contribution: ESO Development Team

The next European call is expected to be issued in 2019. To optimally develop the ideas for new studies – especially in the context of the ALMA Development Roadmap, ESO is organizing a workshop in Garching from 3-5 June 2019. This builds on the on the success of the 2016 ALMA Developers’ Workshop.

Although the main goal will be how best to realize the goals of the ALMA 2030 Development Roadmap, we aim to provide a complete overview of all ongoing and planned development studies in all ALMA partners. We encourage all groups to participate and present their ideas, which will be selected based on the submitted abstracts. The programme will allow for sufficient time for discussions and interactions between the teams to foster possible collaborations.

Registration for the workshop will close on 2nd May 2019.

For more information visit the conference webpage.

Contributions from the ARC Nodes

UK ARC: ALMA reduction workshop

On the 23rd and 24th of January, George Bendo and Adam Avison from the UK ALMA Regional Centre Node conducted an ALMA data reduction workshop at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).  A total of 10 people attended the workshop, including 2 people from nearby universities.  The workshop started with a review of ALMA and radio interferometry basics along with hands-on work with the ALMA archive, but the primary focus was on data calibration and imaging.  Even though some of the more experienced people had published ALMA data before, everyone benefited from the workshop.

The presentations, data, and scripts from this workshop are available from the UK ARC Node website.   


ALLEGRO: Results from the VLBI campaign

Including the powerful ALMA into the VLBI network, we have found that the emission from the supermassive black hole Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*) at the center of our Galaxy comes from a smaller region than previously thought. Previously, a foggy cloud of hot gas has prevented sharp images of the supermassive black hole Sgr A* and cast doubt on its true nature. Observing at a frequency of 86 GHz with the technique of Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI), which combines many telescopes to form a virtual telescope the size of the Earth, successful mapping of the exact properties of the light scattering blocking our view of Sgr A* was made. The removal of most of the scattering effects has therefore produced a first image of the surroundings of the black hole.

The high quality of the unscattered image allowed many theoretical models for the gas around Sgr A* to be constrained. The bulk of the radio emission is coming from a mere 300 milllionth of a degree, and the source has a symmetrical morphology. This structure may indicate that the radio emission is produced in a disk of infalling gas rather than by a radio jet. Although, that would make Sgr A* an exception compared to other radio emitting black holes, and so an alternative could be that the radio jet is pointed almost toward us.



Because Sgr A* is located in the southern sky, thus the participation of ALMA is critical, not only because of its sensitivity, but also because of its location in the southern hemisphere. The resolution achieved was higher by a factor of two, compared with previous observations at this frequency and produced the first image of Sgr A* that is completely free of interstellar scattering - caused by density irregularities in the ionized material along the line of sight between Sgr A* and the Earth.

The paper, was led by the Nijmegen PhD student Sara Issaoun, is published in the Astrophysical Journal. For more information, please also see the Dutch press release from Radboud University.


ALLEGRO: Proposal Preparation Day

Prior to the deadline for the ALMA Cycle 7 proposal submission (April 17th), Allegro will host a Proposal Preparation Day. Bring in your proposals and we will assist you with the technical aspects and help you in exploring their feasibility, while you work on it during that day. Allegro staff will be there to provide tips & tricks and answer all your questions. Date: Thursday, March 28th, 2019 (9:30-17:00h), at: Niels Bohrweg 2, 2333 CA Leiden, the Netherlands — Huygens building — Room HL-111

You can register for the Proposal Preparation Day at the following link.

In addition to this proposal preparation day, remember you can always ask support from Allegro to help you with your proposals or ALMA related questions at any time.


IRAM Node: IRAM 30m Summer School

The 9th IRAM 30-meter Summer School on Millimeter Astronomy that will take place in September, 6-13 in the ski resort of Pradollano, in the Spanish Sierra Nevada, at only 15 minutes driving distance from the IRAM 30-meter telescope.  

The school will combine lectures on millimeter astronomy with observations using the 30-meter telescope. Lectures will be given by experienced scientists and 30-meter observers, covering a wide range of topics, from comets and planetary atmospheres in he solar system to the study of the chemistry of interstellar clouds, low and high mass star formation, in the Milky Way, in nearby galaxies, and in ultra-luminous objects at high-redshifts. These lectures will be complemented by lectures on instrumentation, observing techniques, and data processing.

In addition, the students, lecturers and technical assistants will form small groups, to work on one topic, preparing a science case, conducting the observations with the 30-meter telescope, reduce the data, and present first results on the last day of the school.

The school will run over one week from Friday to Friday, with six days of about 4 hours of lectures per day, leaving ample time for the observations and for the group work. Both Fridays are arrival and departure days (the final session on Friday morning will be devoted to work group presentations). The school is aimed at attracting news scientists to current and future single-dish millimeter and sub-millimeter facilities. The school is primarily meant for researchers with little previous experience in mm-astronomy. It is limited to about 40 students who will be selected on the basis of their interests, experience, and references. The selection criteria will take into account gender balance and other ethical considerations.


German ARC: Interactive Proposal Preparation Support

Enjoy ALMA outreach and proposal preparation support conveniently at your home institution and in your own time!

As a service to the local astronomical community, the German ARC node organizes a series of ALMA proposal preparation tutorials as well as video sessions using zoom, which the participants can join without charge and from a variety of platforms. The tutorials cater to astronomers with different levels of expertise, ranging from an introduction to the necessary terminology for non-radio astronomers to a concise overview of ALMA's capabilities in Cycle 7 for experienced ALMA users.

Prospective ALMA users are very welcome to follow up the tutorials in one-on-one chats with experienced ARC node staff during our virtual drop-in proposal clinic and/or by visiting the node for further face-to-face interaction and one-on-one help with their proposals.

For informal inquiries and/or notices of intent, please contact arc[at]


Upcoming ALMA or ALMA-related Meetings

  • Workshop on Polarization in Protoplanetary Disks and Jets
    20-24 May, 2019, Sant Cugat del Valls, Catalonia, Spain

    The study of the formation and evolution of protoplanetary disks around young stars saw a tremendous boost by the advent of ALMA and the development of new capabilities in the infrared and radio telescopes, thanks to the huge combined improvement in sensitivity, angular resolution, and image fidelity. However, the role of magnetic fields in the formation and evolution of disks around young stars is still a poorly understood topic. Are protoplanetary disks and protostellar jets magnetized? Polarimetric observations are the primary means to obtain information regarding the magnetic fields. However, this technique can be hampered by other polarization mechanisms such as dust self-scattering, radiation alignment of aspherical grains or anisotropic resonant scattering of linear polarization of molecular lines. The main goal of this focused meeting is to bring together observers and theoreticians interested in the study of magnetic fields in protoplanetary disks and protostellar jets as well as polarization mechanisms to review the current state of the research and explore effective means to probe magnetic fields.
  • IAU Symposium 352: Uncovering early galaxy evolution in the ALMA and JWST era
    3-7 June, 2019, Viana do Castelo, Portugal

    Thanks to deep observations in the last few decades with the Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope, and ground-based 8–10-metre class telescopes, we know more about the young Universe than ever before, having reached tantalisingly close to the dark ages and the formation of the first stars and galaxies. It is now well established that the rate of cosmic star formation rose rapidly from the epoch of reionization to a maximum at z~2. The first three billion years of cosmic time were therefore the prime epoch of galaxy formation. Characterising galaxies at this epoch, both observationally and theoretically, is thus crucial to achieve a major goal of modern astrophysics: to understand how galaxies such as our Milky Way emerged from the primordial density fluctuations in the early Universe and evolved through cosmic time. Recent major international investments in facilities such as the Atacama Large Millimetre Array and the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) promise to shed light on these questions
  • Nine Billion Years of Neutral Gas Evolution
    29-31 July, 2019, ESO, Garching, Germany

    This workshop aims to forge connections across wavelengths, among different ISM and IGM phases, and between observation and theory. The "nine billion years" to which the title of this workshop refers represent the fraction of cosmic time over which forthcoming surveys with new radio facilities will probe HI in galaxies. The twelve "wish list" topics identified by the SOC as priorities for the oral program (see the "Philosophy" tab on the website) include several that contact with the interests of the ALMA community, e.g., "How can we best – or most completely – characterise ISM mass at z > 1?", "At high redshift, how do HI emission-line and absorption-line observations relate to optical absorption-line and molecular emission-line measurements of cosmic gas reservoirs?", and "What aspects of multi-phase ISM physics are the sources of greatest concern in current simulations of galaxy formation?"
  • Improving Image Fidelity on Astronomical Data: Radio Interferometry and Single-Dish Data Combination
    12-16 August, 2019, Lorentz Center, Leiden, The Netherlands

    Many areas in astronomy require the combination of millimetre/radio interferometric and single-dish observations to recover scientific physical information over a large range of spatial scales. However, the combination process poses a number of severe technical challenges. In this workshop, we aim to understand, compare, and test the various methods of data combination. We will convene the leading experts in interferometry and single-dish combination techniques across the world, with participants with a wide range in experience with interferometry and single-dish data, and data combination. In addition to scientific talks, the workshop also includes technical talks covering the various techniques and a number of hands-on sessions to test and work on the different combination methods.
  • The physics and chemisty of the ISM
    2-6 September, 2019, Palais des Papes-Avignon, France

    CELEBRATING THE FIRST 40 YEARS OF ALEXANDER TIELENS' CONTRIBUTION TO SCIENCE: Xander Tielens has been driving research in the fields of interstellar physics and chemistry and the cosmic cycle of matter with outstanding contributions for 40 years. With this meeting, we wish to celebrate his scientific achievements and discuss future research directions opened up by his contributions. The meeting will focus on the fields strongly influenced by Xander involving the physical and chemical processes that control the interstellar medium and its life cycle. The meeting will consist of invited reviews, invited and contributed talks, and posters. We will especially emphasize future opportunities offered by the powerful telescopes at our disposal such as, for example, ALMA, SOFIA, and JWST.  
  • Views on the Interstellar Medium in galaxies in the ALMA era
    2-6 September, 2019, Bologna, Italy

    The advent of the power of the Atacama Large Millimeter Array and the upgraded capabilities of other sub-mm/mm facilities are now opening a complete new window of the baryon cycle. On one hand, local galaxies are exploited as 'laboratories' where the interstellar medium is studied down to molecular cloud scales and the physical processes can be investigated in detail. On the other hand, thanks to the unprecedented sensitivities of the new facilities, systematic surveys of the gaseous content in high redshift galaxies are starting to characterize the gas cycle throughout cosmic time. Dedicated observations have revealed gas in the most distant galaxies, all the way to the reionization epoch, and have started to dissect the interplay between luminous active galactic nuclei and their host galaxy. These new observational constraints are guiding the next generation of galaxy evolution models.
  • ESA/ESO SCIOPS 2019 - Working together in Support of Science
    19-22 September, 2019, ESAC, Madrid, Spain

    The upcoming ESA/ESO SCIOPS 2019 Workshop will take place at ESAC and will address the following areas: Collaboration between large scientific teams in the multi-messenger era; how space- and ground-based observatories communicate their transient and observational capabilities, and can prepare and adapt them to provide scientists with access to time and data for multi-messenger programmes; cultural and policy changes needed to enable multi-facility time allocation, prioritisation of observations, publication of information on upcoming observations and data sharing; tools, services and standards to support coordination between facilities for the selection and publication of targets by survey facilities, coordination and publication of follow-up observations among observatories, as well as for publishing, searching, analysing and visualising data; and tools and services to support collaboration between teams.