European ARC Newsletter
29 Jan 2021

Welcome to the European ALMA Regional Centre Newsletter!  

This Newsletter, which appears on a bimonthly basis, is a compilation of recent European ALMA Regional Centre Announcement items. In addition to these Announcements the Newsletter provides an inside look into ALMA operations, showcases some of the exciting science carried out with ALMA by our European colleagues, and informs you about ALMA or ALMA-related meetings.

European ARC Announcements

Array Recovery Status Update

25 Jan 2021:

While the COVID-19 pandemic persists all around the world, ALMA staff at the JAO and in the regions continue to work towards bringing the array back online, with the ultimate goal to resume science operations and deliver high-quality science data to our users. At this moment, the ALMA antennas are in the process of being powered up and inspected after having been stowed for about 300 days. 

Read more

Calibrated data available to all European users

19 Jan 2021:

The European ARC CalMS service provides Calibrated Measurement Sets (MSs) for ALMA archive data for all users who request them. All European users are encouraged to make use of this service that has succesfully provided more than 500 MSs since October 2019.

Read more

ALMA Cycle 8 2021 Pre-Announcement

17 Dec 2020:

The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) is planning to start the observations for Cycle 8 2021 in October 2021. A Call for Proposals (CfP) with detailed information on the new cycle is anticipated to be issued in March 2021 and the deadline for proposal submission will be in April 2021. The purpose of this pre-announcement is to highlight aspects of the CfP to assist with early planning. It also contains information related to the proposal review process. 

Read more

Discover the new improvements and features of the ALMA Science Archive

24 Nov 2020:

The recent software releases brought several new features and improvements in the ALMA Science Archive (ASA) which are now ready to be discovered.

Read more

Join the online ALMA training events

We present the continuation in 2021 of the I-TRAIN series with the European ARC Network, a regular series of Interactive Training in Reduction and Analysis of INterferometric data. 

The events in February and March are described below. Future topics for the series to be covered after the ALMA Cycle 8 2021 Call for Proposals from May onwards include self-calibration, polarization and use of software tools. Please contact us by submitting a ticket to the ALMA HelpDesk (Department "General Queries) if you wish to provide your feedback on I-TRAIN. 

Information on the I-TRAIN sessions, including legacy materials and link to YouTube videos from previous sessions, are available in the Science Portal I-TRAIN.


I-TRAIN #4: How to inspect your ALMA data quickly and reliably

15 Jan 2021:

The I-TRAIN session in February will serve as a tutorial on the inspection of ALMA WebLogs. The session will be held online on Friday February 19, 2020, 11:00 CET [Zoom link][Calendar (.ics)]. WebLogs are produced by the ALMA pipeline and contain diagnostic information on data calibration and imaging.  This session will teach users how to interpret the WebLog information and how to use it to guide re-imaging ALMA data.

Read more

I-TRAIN #5: Simulating ALMA Observations with the OST

14 Jan 2021:

The European ARC Network is offering an online training on simulating observations with the ALMA Observation Support Tool (OST) on Thursday March 11, 2021, 11:00 CET [Zoom link][Calendar (.ics)]. The OST allows users to test the effect of differing array configurations, frequency tunings, pointing strategies and weather conditions on imaging (2D or 3D) a sky-model of their choosing. 

Read more

ALMA2030 Development Studies


ALMA2030: Development study to check the feasibility of upgrading Band 7 kicks off

10 Dec 2020:

A new development study, led by the Institut de Radio Astronomie Millimétrique (IRAM) in Grenoble, will investigate the feasibility of upgrading the ALMA Band 7 receivers.

Read more

ALMA 2030: Development Study on Bayesian Adaptive Interferometric Image Reconstruction Methods

09 Dec 2020:

The ESO internal ALMA development study "Bayesian Adaptive Interferometric Image Reconstruction Methods" officially started with a kickoff meeting in December 2020. This study investigates the feasibility of artificial intelligence methodologies to refine the CASA package in view of the ALMA 2030 roadmap.

Read more

ALMA2030: Development study to develop new SIS process kicks off

03 Dec 2020:

A new development study, led by the Group for Advanced Receiver Development (GARD) at Chalmers University in Gothenburg, will develop new processes to fabricate small size Superconductor Insulator Superconductor (SIS) junctions, which are at the heart of the ALMA receivers

Read more

ALMA2030: Development study to design a wideband 200-400 GHz cold cartridge demonstrator kicks off

02 Dec 2020:

A new development study, led by the Group for Advanced Receiver Development (GARD) at Chalmers University in Gothenburg, will complement the SIS process study to investigate the impact of a significant increase in the IF bandwidth on all the receiver components. 

Read more

Meet the ARC

Dr. Daniel Tafoya

Daniel served as the ALMA Single-Dish CASA and Pipeline Subsystem Scientist at the East Asia ARC in Tokyo Japan from 2017-2019. From April 2019 he joined the Nordic ARC node as part of the observation support team at the Onsala Space Observatory in Sweden. One of his duties is supporting astronomers of the Nordic countries to reduce and analyse data obtained with interferometers, mainly ALMA. As a radio astronomer he is interested in anything that can be observed with a radio telescope, but he has focused his research on the study of the circumstellar material of evolved stars to understand how the interstellar medium is replenished with dust and gas.  

Dr. Gergö Popping

Gergö joined the ARC at ESO in September 2019. Within the ARC he is the coordinator of the European ARC nodes Network and the European member of the ALMA Helpdesk working group. His scientific interests include the properties of dust and gas in high-redshift galaxies, which he studies through a combination of simulations and ALMA observations. Gergö especially enjoys the day-to-day interaction with the many Network scientists that support the European community with their exciting ALMA science.


ALMA science highlights

Distant colliding galaxy dying out as seen by ALMA

Multiwavelength spectra of ID2299. Panel a, b, d, e, show the CO(2–1), CO(5–4), [CI](2–1) and CO(7–6) spectra of the source from ALMA. Panel c shows the [O II]3729 spectrum from DEIMOS. The narrow and broad components represent the emission associated with the galaxy and the ejected gas respectively.

The physical processes responsible for the sudden termination of star formation in massive galaxies have not been clarified yet. Feedback-driven winds from star formation or active black holes are thought to be responsible for expelling the gas and quenching the growth of massive galaxies. However, direct observations of massive gas ejections, demonstrating the impact of such winds on the host galaxy star formation are still lacking.

Thanks to the sensitivity of ALMA, a galaxy in the act of quenching was observed (Puglisi et al. 2021). The galaxy ID2299, at a redshift of z=1.4, displays a prominent broad component in the CO(2-1) spectrum (Panel a in Figure), a proxy for the molecular gas reservoir. The spectral analysis suggests that 46 +- 13 % of the molecular gas is being ejected from the galaxy and the galaxy will stop forming stars in a few million years. This was a serendipitous discovery since the galaxy ID2299 was observed as part of an ALMA survey, designed to study the properties of the molecular gas in more than 100 galaxies at cosmic noon. Ancillary ALMA observations of higher-J CO/[CI] transitions (Panels b,d,e in Figure) were essential to study the physical properties of the gas and obtain clues on the mechanism causing this ejection, the major merger between two massive galaxies.

The discovery of this massive molecular gas ejection provides important indications on how galaxies die, and shows that mergers have a crucial role in the evolution of galaxies by expelling large quantities of gas from galaxies, shutting down star formation and affecting galaxy growth.


Upcoming ALMA or ALMA-related Meetings

Proposal Preparation Virtual Workshop - 22-26 March 2020                                                                                                                                              

The UK ARC Node will host a Virtual Workshop on 22-26 March 2021. Its purpose is to help new ALMA users get started with their research, with a particular emphasis on proposal preparation for Cycle 8. The workshop will be conducted virtually using Zoom by staff from the UK ALMA Regional Centre (ARC) Node.

Although this event is aimed at UK researchers, participants from other countries are welcome to join. The workshop will be scheduled as a series of half-day sessions running an entire week and will cover the following topics:

  • Introductions to ALMA and radio interferometry
  • ALMA proposal preparation
  • Using the ALMA Archive
  • Calibrating and imaging ALMA data

At the end of the workshop, UK ARC Node staff will be available to help with any questions related to participants' specific research or to provide further assistance with proposal preparation. To participate in the workshop, please register here by the 17th of March.

Exploring the high-redshift Universe with ALMA   


The aim of this virtual symposium, which will take place on 28-29 June 2021, is to bring together the observational and theoretical high-redshift ALMA communities in order to discuss the most recent results in the rapidly evolving field of galaxies at redshift z~4 and above. This symposium also aims to explore future synergies between ALMA and the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT), one of the future flagships of European Astronomy, for high-redshift science. The deadline for abstract submission is March 2, 2021 and more information about the Symposium can be found here.