European ARC Newsletter
20 Dec 2022

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 announces Joint Proposal agreements for JWST, VLA, and the VLT

20 Dec 2022:

The ALMA observatory is pleased to announce that it has entered into Joint Proposal agreements with the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the European Southern Observatory (ESO) for the Very Large Telescope (VLT), and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) for the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA).

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Restart of ALMA Cycle 9 observations

19 Dec 2022:

ALMA has resumed performing PI science observations following the cyber-attack. The end-to-end data acquisition and processing workflow and software were successfully re-tested prior to the restart. ALMA is currently taking observations in configuration C-3. User services are also now back online, including access to ALMA user profiles, SnooPI, and the Cycle 9 DDT submission server. As previously announced, ALMA's most compact configurations (C-1 and C-2) will not be visited again in Cycle 9.

Some Scheduling Blocks (SBs) requiring configuration C-2 were already observed in the days prior to the cyberattack. Projects with SBs in nominal configurations C-1 and C-2 that can still be observed in configuration C-3 will remain in the observing queue. As per usual ALMA policy, incomplete Cycle 9 Grade A projects will carry over into Cycle 10.

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Vacancy Notice: ALMA Regional Centre Astronomer

07 Nov 2022:

For its ALMA Regional Centre at the Headquarters in Garching near Munich, Germany, ESO is opening the position of:

ALMA Regional Centre Astronomer

The closing date for receipt of applications to be considered for the position is 10 January, 2023. For more information, please see the full vacancy announcement on the ESO Recruitment Portal website.

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Meet the ARC

Dr. Sabine König

Sabine joined the Nordic ARC node in Sweden in 2015. There, one of her roles is to coordinate, and take part in the face-to-face support effort, i.e., to help ALMA users calibrate, image and analyse their data. She is also a contact scientist for ALMA projects, involved with the assurance of the quality of ALMA data, and contributes to the trainings and workshops organised by the Nordic node to help users prepare their ALMA proposals and to handle their data after observation.

Sabine's research interest generally lies in the physical properties of the ISM in nearby galaxies. She is particularly curious about the connection between molecular gas, star formation, and AGN activity in close-by minor mergers and deeply embedded galaxy nuclei.

Dr. Tom Muxlow

Tom Joined the UK ARC Node in October 2008 at its inception as the ARC Manager. He is involved in many ARC-related activities including direct user support, training activities and workshops, outreach, and ARC Node development.  His interferometry skills cover a wide range of telescopes including the VLA, e-MERLIN, EVN/VLBI and ALMA across both centimetric- and mm-wave bands. He is involved in the projects to develop high level data products and has recently ensured that the UK Node has the HPC provision for hosting both UK- and EU-based large ALMA programmes together with planned future extensive data-mining projects from the ALMA archive.

Tom's main research interest is in extra-galactic star-formation ranging from high-resolution imaging of the starburst within M82 to deep wide-field studies of the history of star-formation across cosmic time and how AGN feedback impacts the star-formation processes within such high-redshift systems.


ALMA science highlight

ALMA resolves for the first time an optical/NIR dark strongly lensed galaxy

Left: ALMA Band 8 (640 μm) continuum emission of HATLAS-J113526.2-01460 Center: Map of the HST image; white contours display ALMA band 8 continuum emission at 9,7,5 x σ. Right: Comparison between the source reconstructed emission of ALMA continuum at 640 μm and the spectral emission of the CO(8-7) and C[II] lines. Contours are displayed at 9,7,5,3 x σ, filled circles represent the position of the peak for each emission.

ALMA has recently unveiled unprecedented details of an optical/NIR dusty star-forming galaxy. The targeted object - HATLAS-J113526.2-01460 - was first discovered in the Gama 12th field of the Herschel-ATLAS survey and classified as a candidate strongly lensed galaxy at redshift ~ 3.1. ALMA observations confirmed the lensed nature of this object and shed new light on the features of this peculiar lensing system, showcasing a lack of optical/NIR emission for both the lens and the background object.
The high-quality ALMA data enabled Giulietti et al. (2022) to fully reconstruct the un-lensed morphology of the background source, and to resolve the compact (~500 pc) star-forming region and the gas distribution (~ 1 kpc)
from the C[II] and CO(8-7) spectral line emission. The analysis of the Spectral Energy Distribution revealed that the galaxy is a massive, young and compact Eddington - limited dusty starburst, still growing its stellar mass content. These results are compatible with an object facing a “compaction” stage, as predicted by modern in-situ co-evolutionary models of galaxy formation and evolution.

These results highlight the capabilities of ALMA in the investigation of strong gravitational lensing events. This offers the unique opportunity of studying the morphology and the Interstellar Medium content in elusive objects such as the most obscured high-redshift Dusty Star-Forming Galaxies, which are impressive laboratories to test galaxy formation and evolution models.


Upcoming ALMA or ALMA-related Meetings


Observing the Universe at millimetre wavelengths

The third edition of the mm Universe conference series will be held at LPSC in Grenoble from 26th to 30th June 2023.

This international conference will bring together the scientific community working on science related to millimetre observations. It includes both theoretical and observational topics related to the mm Universe, from stellar to cosmological scales. As multi-wavelength analysis is a key approach to understand astrophysical processes and cosmological issues, the conferences series is of course opened to results and observations at other wavelengths. 

The registration and call for abstracts are now open.


ALMA at 10 years: Past, Present, and Future

To commemorate its first decade of science operations, the ALMA partnership is organizing a conference that will take a look back at the observatory accomplishments, highlight its latest results and look forward to future technical developments. The conference will be held in Puerto Varas, Chile on 4-8 December 2023. More information will be posted on the conference web page as it becomes available. Registration for the conference will open in early 2023.