European ARC Newsletter
28 Oct 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

Call for Proposals for development studies

28 Oct 2022:

ESO is pleased to announce the Call for Proposals for development studies for ALMA upgrades, with a deadline for proposal submission on 24 January 2023 at 20:00 CET. Interested parties are encouraged to visit this page to request the proposal submission package. Studies can cover a wide range of topics. Proposals following the scientific priorities outlined in the ALMA 2030 roadmap are particularly encouraged, such as upgrades of the Intermediate Frequency (IF) bandwidth by a factor up to 4 compared to the current system. Proposals for new advanced data products are also solicited in this call.

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Cycle 9 has started!

19 Oct 2022:

Cycle 8 2021 was closed on 30 September 2022, and Cycle 9 observations successfully started later that same day. Cycle 8 12-m array data acquisition was the second highest in ALMA history, exceeding the total time of science observing of the pre-pandemic Cycle 6, despite having significantly more weather downtime than at that Cycle. For more information on the ALMA status and the Cycle 9 configuration schedule please visit the ALMA Science Portal.

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Discover the ALMA Science Archive version 1.0

13 Oct 2022:

The ALMA Science Archive (ASA) has reached a major milestone which we call version 1.0. The most recent addition is a Virtual Observatory Server-side Operations for Data Access (SODA) service at each ARC. This service allows astronomers to generate image or cube cutouts of smaller spatial or spectral regions of the data they are interested in on-the-fly. A detailed description of the current state of the ASA and this achievement can be found in the corresponding ESO Messenger article.

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ORP funding available for face-to-face visits

11 Oct 2022:

ORP (Opticon Radionet Pilot) funding is available for travel to one of the European ALMA Regional Centre nodes in Europe, for ALMA users who need face-to-face support for their ALMA projects. Users wishing to apply for ORP funding should fill out the form in addition to submitting a Helpdesk ticket that is required to arrange the ARC node visit. Face-to-face visits to ARC nodes can be arranged for assistance with data calibration and analysis, proposal preparation, and archive research projects.

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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:

  •  Introduction to tclean - 25th November 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 #17: Introduction to tclean

22 Oct 2022:

The European ARC Network invites users to an online training on tclean on  November 25th, 11:00 CET [Zoom link].

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Meet the ARC

Dr. Abhijeet Pramod Borkar

Abhijeet joined the Czech ARC Node in 2016 where he is involved in many activities, including quality assurance, user support, training activities and outreach. Recently, he has focused on improving the user experience in the exploration of the ALMA Science Archive, where he is leading and contributing to the projects developing high level data products. He is also involved in the effort to improve EU ARC network visibility and contributes to workshops organization. Finally, he has recently joined the CASA Users Committee.

Abhijeet’s main research interest is in Active Galactic Nuclei. His work explores the physics of black hole accretion across the mass scale, how the AGN gets fed, and the effects of feedback on the interstellar medium in the galaxy.

Dr. Alex Hygate

Alex joined the Allegro ARC node in Leiden in 2020. There he works on supporting the user community in a number of ways, including acting as a contact scientist, assisting PIs with the preparation of ALMA proposals and helping them with the processing and analysis of the data. Alex also maintains a repository of ALMA-related software for Allegro and he is involved with the other activities such as organising training workshops. In addition, Alex participates in the data reduction efforts for the calibrator survey and cone search that are co-ordinated by JAO.

Alex’s main research interest is understanding the properties of galaxies at high redshift, by combining ALMA observations of the cool gas and dust continuum with data at other wavelengths.


ALMA science highlight

Feeding Molecular Gas to Supermassive Black Holes in Nearby AGN-host Galaxies

 Molecular gas in the starburst AGN-host galaxy Fairall 49, from CO(2-1) observations with the ALMA 12 m array. The gas distribution (left panel) and kinematics (right panel) are well described by a rotating disk with a net radial inflow motion, allowing a direct measurement of the mass of the supermassive black hole and the gas accretion rate. In the inset on the left, the white contours show the submm continuum emission.

The mm-Wave Interferometric Survey of Dark Object Masses (WISDOM) aims to shed new light on the co-evolution between nearby galaxies and their supermassive black holes (SMBH). To achieve this aim, WISDOM uses ALMA observations at high angular resolutions to study the distribution and kinematics of molecular gas in galaxy centers, probing the gravitational sphere of influence of SMBHs and thus measuring their masses with high accuracy.

In a recently published paper, Lelli et al. (2022) investigate a nearby starburst galaxy, called Fairall 49, which hosts a bright active galactic nucleus (AGN). They find that the CO gas forms a regularly rotating disk (see figure) suggesting weak feedback on the cold gas from both AGN and starburst activity. The observed rotation curve implies a SMBH mass of about a hundred million solar masses, which posits this starburst galaxy on the same SMBH mass - stellar mass relation as passive early-type galaxies. In addition to regular rotation, the gas disk of Fairall 49 displays a radial inflow motion at radii smaller than about 400 pc, which implies a gas accretion rate of a few solar masses per year. Most likely, the molecular gas inflow has been triggered by a past interaction and is feeding both the SMBH and the starburst activity.

This work demonstrates the potential of using high-resolution ALMA observations to estimate, in addition to SMBH masses, gas inflow rates in nearby galaxies to constrain theoretical models of SMBH feeding and growth.


Upcoming ALMA or ALMA-related Meetings


Disks and Planets across ESO Facilities

The workshop will take place at the ESO Headquarters in Garching (Germany) from November 28 to 2 December, 2022

The formation and evolution of exoplanets can now be explored with instrumentation and observational techniques covering multiple physical scales and wavelengths. This workshop aims to provide an overview of the state of the field, to explore the synergies provided by ESO's current and future facilities (ALMA/ELT/VLT/VLTI/La Silla telescopes/CTA), and synergies with other space and ground-based observatories.

Registrations are open and Abstracts can be submitted here until 10 November 2022.


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.