European ARC Newsletter
25 Feb 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

Fifth European ALMA Regional Centre community assembly

19 Feb 2022:

The European ALMA Regional Centre invites European ALMA users to a virtual community assembly on March 24 at 11:00 CET, in connection with the Cycle 9 call for proposals. At this meeting, we will update you on the current and upcoming observing cycles and on the support from the European ARC network. In the dedicated Q&A session you will have the opportunity to ask your questions. The meeting can be accessed at this link.

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February Maintenance Period

18 Feb 2022:

Also in 2022, as in previous years, ALMA is in shut-down mode during the month of February. This period is used for maintenance purposes and operations are expected to restart on 1 March 2022. More information about the configuration schedule can be found on the ALMA Science Portal.

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Vacancy Notice: Astronomer/Software Engineer at UK ATC

17 Feb 2022:

The UK Astronomy Technology Centre (UK ATC) is looking for an experienced astronomer/software engineer to join the ALMA software development team. The initial role will be to join the international teams designing and implementing software for the ALMA data processing pipeline and the ALMA Observing Tool. The deadline is on 20 March 2022 and more information can be found at the UK ATC recruiting page.

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The ARI-L project has reached its main goal

15 Feb 2022:

The Additional Representative Images for Legacy (ARI-L) ALMA development project has already delivered to the ALMA Science Archive (ASA) 132100 complete images. These are continuum images and cubes at native resolution for all targets and calibrators of more than 2300 Cycle 2, 3 and 4 datasets. This correspond to more than 70% of the datasets of those cycles processable with the ALMA imaging pipeline. The ARI-L image products can be retrieved from the ASA as "Externally delivered products" on the Request Handler download page directly listed below the ALMA data.

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ALMA Science Archive previews

15 Feb 2022:

The ALMA Science Archive now features fully interactive previews (zoom & pan) which can be accessed directly from the result table of the ALMA Science Archive interface. For each spectral window, the main FITS file is identified and its preview displayed, if available. The previews show the continuum image, the peak-flux (also called moment 8 image), and - if strong lines exist - the moment 0 and moment 1 image of the strongest line.

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Upcoming ESO call for ALMA development studies

10 Feb 2022:

The next call for ESO ALMA development studies is expected to be announced in November 2022, with a provisional deadline in January 2023. In this call, ESO will solicit proposals for external development studies to upgrade a broad range of ALMA systems. Studies that follow the scientific priorities outlined in the ALMA 2030 roadmap are particularly encouraged, such as upgrades of the IF bandwidth by a factor up to 4 compared to the current system.

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ALMA poll of the month


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Join the Cycle 9 proposal preparation workshops

In the context of the upcoming Cycle 9 Call for Proposals, the European ARC Nodes are organising a series of events in order to support ALMA users in their proposal preparation.

Allegro ARC Node - Proposal Preparation Day

The Allegro ARC node will host an ALMA Cycle 9 proposal preparation workshop on Monday 28 March 2022. The purpose of the workshop is to give an overview of the Cycle 9 capabilities, to give support to new and more experienced users on their proposals, to demonstrate how to run archive searches, simulations, etc. We will also showcase some typical galactic and extragalactic science cases.  

The workshop is aimed at the Netherlands ALMA user community and will be held in person at Leiden Observatory. Remote participation will be possible online for those who are not able to travel to Leiden. More information and registration can be found here.

Nordic ARC Node - Proposal Preparation Events

The Nordic ARC node is organising a series of upcoming online events: 

  • 10 March 2022, 10:30 CET: Introduction to Interferometry and ALMA (aimed at newcomers) [Zoom link]
  • 28 March 2022, 15:00 CET: Nordic ARC proposal preparation event I (overview of Cycle 9 updates, proposal writing & reviewing aspects) [Zoom link]
  • 30 March 2022, 10:30 CET: Nordic ARC proposal preparation event II (overview of Cycle 9 updates, proposal writing & reviewing aspects) [Zoom link]

All the events will be hosted online and are listed in the public calendar [URL][iCal]. The duration of the events will be about one hour and Nordic ARC staff will remain available online for further questions. Beside these specific events, the Nordic ARC will remain available anytime during this proposal preparation period, for help and support. Please contact us at your earliest convenience. Sign up for the Nordic ARC mailing list to not to miss our news and announcements.

German ARC Node - Proposal Preparation Support

In view of the ongoing pandemic, the traditional all-day community event will be replaced by a series of pre-recorded video tutorials that can be watched conveniently at any time and location of choice. The tutorials will cater to astronomers with different levels of expertise, from introductory tutorials for scientists new to ALMA to a concise update for experienced ALMA users.

The video tutorials will be complemented by an online community meeting on 7 April 2022, and by individual one-on-one help. For details on the tutorials and the one-on-one support, please refer to the Proposal Preparation homepage.


Talk series: ALMA Recounts of Cosmic Conundrums

The European ARC network is presenting the 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 fourth talk of this series will take place March 2nd at 14:00 CET. The talks are broadcast through the Youtube channel of the European ALMA Regional Centre network and will remain available on the same channel afterwards.


ALMA recounts of cosmic conundrums: How are the building blocks of life formed?

21 Feb 2022:

The next talk of the series "ALMA recounts of cosmic conundrums" will be presented by Izaskun Jiménez-Serra (Centro de Astrobiología), on March 2 at 14:00 CET, who will address the question: How are the building blocks of life formed? The talk will be broadcast on theYoutube channel of the European ALMA Regional Centre network.


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Join the online ALMA training events!

The European ARC Network invites you to the next appointment of the online training series I-TRAIN, which will be:

  •  Writing & Reviewing ALMA proposals - 18th March 2022

You can find further details on this 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 #13: Writing & Reviewing ALMA proposals

26 Feb 2022:

The European ARC Network invites users to an online training on good practices for writing and reviewing ALMA proposals on March 18th, 11:00 CET [Zoom link].

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Meet the ARC

Dr. Marcella Massardi

Marcella is the Italian ARC Node Manager in Bologna since 2011, contributing to support, training and development of the user community. In the recent years she has devoted most of her activity in improving the user experience in the exploitation of the ALMA Science Archive: for this reason she proposed and is leading the Additional Representative Images for legacy (ARI-L) development project. She is also contributing with her expertise to other instruments as, for example, to the definition of the SKA Regional Centres system.

Her scientific interest is mostly in galaxy evolution and extragalactic populations characterization. She likes bridging and mixing theory, observation and technology and loves sharing it with her students and the ARC users.

Dr. Enrique Macias

Enrique recently joined the ESO ARC in November 2021 as an ARC Astronomer. Before joining the ARC Network he was an ALMA/ESO Fellow at the JAO in Chile, where he supported the daily science operations of the observatory. At the ESO ARC he is mainly involved in Quality Assurance as a member of the EU Data Reduction Managers (DRM) team.

Enrique’s research is mainly focused on the characterization of the dust content in protoplanetary disks. He is also interested in protoplanetary disk evolution and dispersal. For his research he makes use of (sub-)millimeter and centimeter observations taken with ALMA and VLA.



ALMA science highlight

Top-heavy Core Mass function revealed by ALMA-IMF: a challenge to the IMF universality

The W43-MM2&MM3 protocluster cloud, as imaged at 1.3 mm by the ALMA 12 m array. White ellipses outline the size of the 208 compact cores of few thousand AU size extracted by the core extraction algorithm getsf.

The ALMA-IMF Large Program aims to answer the longstanding question on whether the Initial Mass Function (IMF) inherits its shape from its core content, and more precisely the Core Mass Function (CMF). To do that, ALMA-IMF has targeted and imaged 15 high-mass star-forming regions in the nearby Milky Way (d≥6kpc).  In a recently accepted paper (Pouteau et al.,2022), the team has used high-resolution, ~ 0.5 arcsec, Band 6 (1.3 mm) and Band 3 (3 mm) data to detect and extract ~200 peaked cloud structures of few thousand AU, called cores, in the W43-MM2&MM3 protocluster cloud (see figure). The authors find that, unlike what was found for several decades, the CMF of this cloud - qualified as mini-starburst  - is top-heavy, i.e. it has an excess of high-mass cores compared to low and intermediate cores. In detail, the slope of the high-mass end α=-0.95 ± 0.05 cannot be represented by the canonical slope of the IMF, α=-1.35 followed by the CMF of low-mass star-forming regions. Moreover, fragmentation scenarios applied to the observed CMF predict a top-heavy IMF, that could be a signature of starburst events. The authors conclude that the IMFs emerging from starburst events could inherit their shape from their parental CMFs and remain top-heavy, thus questioning the IMF universality.


Upcoming ALMA or ALMA-related Meetings


Building bridges: The lifecycle of dust and gas in the Milky Way with ALMA and SKA

The in-person Symposium 7 at the EAS Meeting 2022 in Valencia (Spain) will take place on 30 June and 1 July. The aim of this meeting is to build bridges between groups studying events of similar nature in the life cycle of dust and gas, but at different astronomical scales and in different environments. More information can be found at

Abstract submission can be done using this link by 1 March. Registrations to the EAS 2022 are open and very early registration is possible until 20 February. The full conference program can be found at this link.