European ARC Newsletter
25 Oct 2021

Welcome to the European ALMA Regional Centre Newsletter!  

This Newsletter, which appears on a monthly basis, is a compilation of recent European ALMA Regional Centre announcements. In addition to these, 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

ALMA recounts of Cosmic Conundrums

15 Oct 2021:

The European ARC network is launching the new virtual talk series "ALMA recounts of Cosmic Conundrums". In every talk of this series a major astronomical question is discussed. The invited speaker will describe the context of the question and then focuses on the ALMA contribution to the field, past and future. The aim of the series is to highlight the unparalleled contribution of ALMA to the broader astronomical landscape and to provide an outlook towards the future. 

The first talk of this series will take place December 1 at 14:00 CET. The talks will be broadcast through the Youtube channel of the European ALMA Regional Centre network.  More information on the first talk will be included in the November newsletter.

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ALMA Cycle 8 2021 has started

04 Oct 2021:

ALMA is very pleased to share the news that on the evening of 1 October, the first observations for Cycle 8 2021 were successfully completed and observing has continued since then. The data sets are currently being quality-assessed and some data have already been delivered to the respective principal investigators.

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ALMA poll of the month













Join the online ALMA training events!

The European ARC Network is resuming the online training series of I-TRAIN. In the autumn we have scheduled tutorials on software tools to work with ALMA data as well as solar observations with ALMA:

  • 19th November - Solar observations with ALMA
  • 10th December - STATCONT, for statistical continuum determination  

You can find further details on our next session below. You can access or subscribe to the calendar of sessions at [calendar URL][iCal address]. 

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 links to YouTube videos from previous sessions, are available in the Science Portal.


I-TRAIN #10: Solar observations with ALMA

06 Oct 2021:

The European ARC Network invites users to an online training on solar observations with ALMA on November 19th, 11:00 CET [Zoom link]. In this tutorial you will learn a specific procedures for calibration & imaging of solar ALMA data downloaded from the ALMA Science Archive.  


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Meet the ARC

Dr. Miroslav Bárta

Miro joined the ARC together with the entire Czech node in 2009 and served there at various positions. He is responsible for European solar observations with ALMA – both from the science point of view (as contact scientist, scheduling coordination, assistance to AoDs, data reduction) and in further developments of the solar observations (currently as a PI of a starting ALMA Development Study). He also coordinates the solar QA2 procedures, their documentation, and development towards higher automation across all three ARCs.

Miro’s main research interest are solar flares: HPC simulations of the plasma processes underlying these spectacular phenomena, and their radio and mm/sub-mm diagnostics. In addition to ALMA imaging data he uses also dm/cm high-cadence spectra acquired by the local radio telescopes in Ondřejov.

Dr. Anna Miotello

Anna joined the ARC at ESO in 2019. Within the ARC she is the subsystem scientist of SnooPI, is currently the editor of the European ARC Newsletter, and is also involved in different activities, such as Phase 2 support, the OT, and QA2.

Scientifically, Anna is interested in protoplanetary disks in general, and in the study of gas in particular, trying to infer their physical structures thanks to molecular observations. She carries out such studies through a combination of physical-chemical models and ALMA observations.


ALMA science highlight

ALMA finds large organic molecules in proto-Solar Systems

Collage of large organic molecular emission in four planet forming disks targeted by the MAPS Large Program (bottom panels, Ilee et al. 2021), compared with the sub-mm dust emission from the same disks (top panels, Sierra et al. 2021).

Planets form and obtain their compositions in disks around young stars, and the outcome of this process is intimately linked to the disk chemistry and structure. The "Molecules with ALMA at Planet-forming Scales" (MAPS) is an ALMA Large Program (2018.1.01055.L) designed to expand our understanding of the chemistry of planet formation by exploring protoplanetary disk chemical structures down to 10 au scales for the first time (see Öberg et al. 2021 for an overview). MAPS targeted five protoplanetary disks with signatures of on-going planet formation.  The team has recently published a series of 20 papers on the first results from the project.

One aspect of disk chemistry that MAPS focused on was the prevalence of prebiotically-interesting large organic molecules in the planet forming disks.  MAPS IX (Ilee et al. 2021) searched for and characterised emission from cyanoacetylene (HC3N), methyl cyanide (CH3CN), and cyclopropenylidene (c-C3H2).  Multiple transitions of these molecules were robustly detected in four of the five target disks, and rotation diagram analysis was used to infer a radially-resolved column densities and rotational temperatures. Based on this, MAPS IX found significant reservoirs of these large organics in the inner 50-100 au of the disks, emitting from very close to the midplane. In addition, comparison of the ratio of small-to-large organic molecules in the disks suggests a similar composition to remote observations of comets.  

In combination, the results suggest that planets form in an environment rich with precursors of molecules important for life, and this material has a composition similar to our own Solar System.


Upcoming ALMA or ALMA-related Meetings

10th IRAM 30-meter School on Millimeter Astronomy - Virtual Edition  

The 10th IRAM 30-meter School on Millimeter Astronomy will be held on-line, on 15-19, 22 and 23 November 2021. On-line registration will open shortly.

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. In addition, the school will include lectures on instrumentation, observing techniques, and data processing.

The lectures will be complemented by practical work using the 30-meter telescope. Unlike previous schools, in this edition all observations will be conducted in remote mode.

The school is primarily meant for young researchers with little previous experience in millimeter astronomy. Due to the constraints imposed by the practices at the telescope, the school attendance will be limited to about 60 students who will be selected on the basis of their interests, experience, and references.

5th Netherlands ALMA Science Day  

Allegro is pleased to announce that on 29th November the 5th Allegro Science Day will take place at Leiden University. 

At the Science Day, the latest scientific results obtained with ALMA will be shared by the Netherlands astronomical community. Guest speakers this year will include Alice Booth (Leiden University) and Eva Schinnerer (MPIA Heidelberg), and the meeting will allow ample time to discuss user experience and other ALMA related topics. The meeting is expected to be in person; should the covid-19 regulations change, they will fall back to an online format.  

Following the Science Day, on Tuesday, November 30, 2021, Allegro will also host an introductory CASA training, which is also planned to be in-person. Allegro fellows will introduce CASA and ALMA data reduction, share tips & tricks, and offer extensive hands-on training in data imaging and analysis. For more information, and for registration, please visit this website

UK ALMA 2022 Hybrid Workshop

The UK ALMA Regional Centre Node is currently gauging interesting in offering a hybrid (in-person and online) workshop in early 2022. This will provide an introduction to ALMA and will cover such topics as proposal preparation, working with the ALMA archive, calibrating and imaging ALMA data.

Anyone who is potentially interested to participate can fill in this poll by 15 November. The schedule for the workshop will be finalized after that date.