European ARC Newsletter
21 Dec 2023

Welcome to the European ALMA Regional Centre Newsletter!  

This monthly newsletter is a compilation of recent European ALMA Regional Centre news and announcements, showcases an exciting ALMA science result by European colleagues and announces upcoming ALMA and ALMA-related meetings and I-TRAIN sessions. In the "Meet the ARC" section, the work of ARC personnel and the services and expertise areas of an ARC node are highlighted. Every month, you can learn an incredible ALMA fact in "Did you know" and give your opinion about a particular ALMA matter in the "Poll of the month". You can also connect with the European ALMA Regional Centre via social media!

News and announcements Science highlight Meet the ARC
I-TRAIN Poll of the month Did you know Social media highlight

European ARC News and Announcements

Announcement for early proposal planning for Cycle 11

20 Dec 2023:

ALMA is making the following information available to assist with early proposal planning for Cycle 11.

Key dates (anticipated) for Cycle 11:

  • 21 March 2024: Release of the ALMA Cycle 11 Call for Proposals and Observing Tool, and opening of the archive for proposal submission
  • 25 April 2024: Proposal submission deadline
  • October 2024: Start of Cycle 11 observations, spanning 12 months

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Development study on advanced waveguide component technologies kicks off

19 Dec 2023:

A new development study, led by the Group of Advanced Receiver Development (GARD, Chalmers University, Sweden) started on 19 December 2023. The study aims to improve the sensitivity of ALMA receivers by developing a new low-loss construction technique for the waveguide components. 

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Registration and abstract submission now open for the workshop "The promises and challenges of the ALMA Wideband Sensitivity Upgrade"

19 Dec 2023:

As previously announced, the workshop 'The promise and challenges of the ALMA Wideband Sensitivity Upgrade' will take place at ESO - Garching from the 24th to the 28th of June, 2024. This upgrade constitutes the top priority of the ALMA 2030 roadmap. It consists of an increase of the instantaneous spectral bandwidth by as much as a factor of four, while retaining full spectral resolution over the entire bandwidth, thus resulting in increases of the spectral scan speed up to a factor of 50 for the highest spectral resolution. In addition, an upgrade of the full signal chain of ALMA — from the receivers and digitizers, all the way through to the correlated data — will result in increases in sensitivity for all observations. 

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Restart of the Cycle 10 antenna relocations

18 Dec 2023:

ALMA is pleased to announce that, following the successful repairs of ALMA transporter Otto, antenna relocations towards completing Configuration 7 started on November 25. In order to catch up with the original configuration calendar announced at the start of Cycle 10, almost continuous antenna relocations are envisaged up until December 28. As a consequence, the first visits to Configurations 6, 5, 4 and 3 will be shorter than originally planned. However, these configurations will be revisited later in the cycle.

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I-TRAIN #21: Introduction to VLBI: Science and Proposals (Part I)

17 Dec 2023:

The European ARC Network invites users to an introduction to Very Long Baseline Interferometry with ALMA (Part I) on January 19th, 11:00 CET [Zoom].

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First European ALMA school

23 Oct 2023:

The European ALMA Regional Centre network is organising the first European ALMA School that will be hosted by the UK ARC Node on 10 - 14 June 2024 in Manchester. This school is designed to provide training on a broad range of aspects related to ALMA, including interferometry, data calibration and imaging, the ALMA archive, analysis techniques, ALMA science, and future ALMA developments. For more details and registration please visit the meeting website: The deadline for registration is 31 December 2023.

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ALMA science highlights

Molecular inventory of 17 oxygen-rich evolved stars observed with ALMA
ALMA channel maps of the SO_2 line in R Aql
ALMA channel maps of the SO2 line at 244.254 GHz in the relatively high mass-loss rate star R Aql, showing a shell-like distribution and the peculiar "rose petals" also seen in other molecules around this star.

ATOMIUM is the first ALMA Large Program in the field of Stellar Evolution, and aims to study a sample of 17 oxygen-rich cool evolved stars at high angular resolution (0.02"-0.05") and complementary lower resolutions up to 1.4". A range of molecular transitions were targeted, and have now been catalogued in Wallström et al. 2023. We detect a total of 291 transitions of 24 different molecules and their isotopologues. This includes first detections in oxygen-rich asymptotic giant branch (AGB) and red supergiant (RSG) stars of several vibrationally excited transitions such as PO v=1 and high-energy transitions of H2O.

While more extensive studies of the spatial data are still to come, we have categorized the spatial distributions of SO and SO2, which are found to be consistent with previous results showing a centralized distribution in low mass-loss rate sources and a shell-like distribution in high mass-loss rate sources, such as R Aql (Fig. 1).

Calculated isotopic ratios of Si and S are also generally in line with previous results, except for an anomalously high 29Si/30Si ratio in the RSG VX Sgr, which may provide another clue to its puzzling nature.

We calculate correlations between the molecular content of different sources, finding the pairs of molecules which tend to occur together. Some pairs are expected, such as the chemically related SO and SO2, while other pairs were surprises such as CS and AlF. This initial analysis lays the groundwork for future work deriving molecular abundance profiles using radiative transfer modeling, which will provide more rigorous tests for chemical models.

ATOMIUM value-added data products are available via the ALMA archive interface (select lp_decin under collections in Explore and download).



Dutch astronomers prove last piece of gas feedback-feeding loop of black hole
Artist's impression of filaments of gas flowing toward the accretion disk of 3C 84
Artist's impression of filaments of gas flowing toward the accretion disk of 3C 84. (c) Luca Oosterloo (

Three Dutch-based researchers - Tom Oosterloo (ASTRON and University of Groningen), Raffaella Morganti (ASTRON and University of Groningen) and Suma Murthy (JIVE) - have proven that gas that was previously heated near a supermassive black hole and flowed to the outskirts of the galaxy and cooled down, is moving back towards the black hole. While there had been indirect evidence for this theory, this is the first observational confirmation of the cooled gas moving back toward the black hole. The researchers made their discovery when they used a new calibration technique to examine archival data from the ALMA observatory science archive. The new technique allowed them to image areas near the black hole three times more sensitive, and led to the discovery of cooled gas flowing back. This also demonstrates the great potential for new discovery through the publicly accessible ALMA archival data, even for previously published data. They shared their findings in Oosterloo, Morganti & Murthy 2023


Meet the ARC


Photo of Reinhold Schaaf

Dr. Reinhold Schaaf

Reinhold has been an integral part of the German node in Bonn since its establishment. He oversees technical aspects, particularly in computer and storage systems. With a professional background in astronomy, specifically line formation in molecular outflows, his focus shifted to software development for scientific purposes after years in the industrial sector.

Reinhold has made significant contributions to Observatory Control Systems for radio telescopes, including APEX, Effelsberg, and CCAT-prime. Additionally, he contributed to the ARTIST project, which allows the simulation of the formation of molecular lines - including linear polarization - in three dimensions in arbitrary geometries.


Join the online ALMA training events!

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

  •  Introduction to VLBI: Science and Proposals (Part I) - 19th January 2024

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 #21: Introduction to VLBI: Science and Proposals (Part I)

17 Dec 2023:

The European ARC Network invites users to an introduction to Very Long Baseline Interferometry with ALMA (Part I) on January 19th, 11:00 CET [Zoom].

Read more


Did you know...

that ALMA does not stop observations over the holidays? Three astronomers-on-duty and three operators per day make sure that ALMA keeps taking the most wonderful images of the Universe, even during the holidays!

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