European ARC Newsletter
26 Jun 2023

Welcome to the European ALMA Regional Centre Newsletter!  

This monthly newsletter is a compilation of recent European ALMA Regional Centre news and announcements and showcases an exciting ALMA science result by European colleagues. 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". Upcoming ALMA and ALMA-related meetings as well as an entertaining social media post of the past month are highlighted at the end of the newsletter.

News and announcements Science highlight Meet the ARC
Poll of the month Did you know ALMA (related) meetings Social media highlight

European ARC News and Announcements

ALMA school pre-announcement

21 Jun 2023:

The European ALMA Regional Centre network is organising an ALMA School for ALMA users, hosted by the UK Node on 10th - 14th June 2024 in Manchester. The 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.

Read more


ALMA science highlight

Submillimeter detections of Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) quasars in the ALMA footprint
(left) The ALMA science target observation footprints (calibration fields not included). (right) Integrated flux per band as a function of redshift, for the four bands with the larger number of ALMA observations.

ALMA has been observing for more than 10 years now, producing science data with an average rate of 1TB per day. This data is available in the ALMA Science Archive (ASA), an unparalleled resource for original research. Given the growing potential of the ASA, the European ARC network launched the High-Level Data Products initiative, with the aim to develop science-ready data products derived from already published datasets and go beyond the formal ALMA deliverable.

As a first instance of this initiative, Wong et al. 2023 present a catalogue of 376 unique submillimeter detections of quasars from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Data Release 14 in the ALMA footprint. The detections, at or above 3.5σ, were extracted from all ALMA data in the ASA that were outside their proprietary time by 1 November 2022. The applied workflow is automated and repeatable. In the same work, all lensed, jetted and SDSS quasars with multiple submillimeter counterparts in the ALMA footprint are provided, as well as a catalogue of all the SDSS quasars in the same area of the sky with no reliable detections above 3.5σ.

The obtained integrated fluxes are a first step towards better constrained quasar submillimeter SEDs, leading to a better understanding of the physical processes behind the concomitant star formation and the accretion onto supermassive black holes in optically- and submillimeter-bright quasars.


Meet the ARC


Photo of Sebastien Muller

Dr. Sebastien Muller

Sebastien has joined and worked at the Nordic ARC node (Onsala, Sweden) since 2009. He is particulary keen to help astronomers make the best of their interferometric observations, at every stage from proposal preparation to data analysis. He feels very privileged to work with ALMA data, since almost every single ALMA dataset brings new surprises. He has prepared an I-TRAIN tutorial on "Fitting visibility data" and participated in the organization of the first two MAYA conferences, aimed at early-career astronomers.

Science-wise, Sebastien is interested in studying the molecular gas component in galaxies at large, but especially in absorption spectroscopy against background quasars. His favorite target for that purpose is the lensed quasar PKS1830-211 and its z=0.89 molecular absorber. He thinks that it is very exciting to use small molecules as powerful cosmological probes, for example to study the evolution of the cosmic microwave background temperature, the invariance of fundamental constants of Nature, or the evolution of isotopic ratios and chemical enrichment with cosmic times.

UK node

Group photo of the UK node

The UK Node of the European ARC is hosted by the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics (JBCA) located in the Alan Turing Building on the University of Manchester campus. The Node supports the local UK and Eire community of ALMA users, but is also open to other European users with UK Co-Is or those who may simply wish to utilise any specific skills held by the UK Node support personnel in their ALMA science exploitation. The main areas of scientific expertise within the support staff are Galactic and extragalactic star-formation, planetary formation, together with the role of dust in nearby galaxies. In addition, the UK Node particular technical skills also include wide-field mosaicking, polarisation calibration and imaging.

The UK Node has three dedicated user support staff members together with IT support personnel. The team provide face-to-face support within the User Support Centre on the Manchester University campus as well as remote support via Zoom and Teams. The type of support ranges from proposal preparation through submission to elements of Phase-2 support if required. In addition, help with weblog reviews and quality assurance of the data are provided as recent pipeline processed data are made available. Manual processing is also performed as required for non-standard programmes (e.g. for polarisation imaging). The UK Node staff can also assist with archival data access for programmes exploiting existing ALMA datasets.

The Node personnel provide regular CASA training workshops both in the Manchester User Support Centre and around the UK for new and intermediate ALMA users. A recent example is the UK ALMA hybrid workshop that was held in Manchester in February 2023. Next year, the Node is hosting a European ARC ALMA School in Manchester for ~100 new and intermediate ALMA users - planned for June 10 – 14 2024.

The Node provides access to substantial High-Power Computing (HPC) hardware at JBCA and on the Jodrell Bank Observatory (JBO) Galahad Cluster. The Node is also developing an open conduit (Percival) for enhanced access to HPC for large imaging tasks. UK Node staff also support and continue to develop the Observing Support Tool (OST) for ALMA programme simulation, and LUMBERJACK - a continuum-finder task.

Present (and retired) UK Node support staff are heavily involved with science extraction from a number of ALMA Large Programmes [ATOMIUM: (ALMA Tracing the Origins of Molecular In dUst-forming oxygen-rich M-type stars – Anita Richards), ACES: (ALMA Central Molecular Zone Exploration Survey – Dan Walker (Contact Scientist)), ALMAGAL: ALMAEvolutionary study of High Mass Protocluster Formation in the Galaxy – Gary Fuller), ARKS: ALMA survey to Resolve exoKuiper belt Substructures – George Bendo (Contact Scientist)). Large archival programmes are also run on the UK Node computers.

UK Node staff will be at the UK National Astronomy Meeting (03-07 July 2023; Cardiff, UK; website) – so if you are at the meeting please come down and see us, and if you want to know more about how to use ALMA for your research, please come to the ALMA School in June 2024 that the UK Node is hosting. We hope to see many of you soon!

ALMA poll of the month


How often do you use the Snooping Project Interface (SnooPI)?

Once per day.

Once per week.

Once per month.

Once per year.

What is SnooPI?

ALMA poll results May 2023


Poll results from May 2023



Did you know...

that you can visit the European ARC nodes for in-person or remote face-to-face support which includes the help with proposal preparation, data reduction and archival research? You can request face-to-face support at your local ARC node via the "Face to Face Support (EU)" department of the ALMA Helpdesk. Funding for these visits is available through the Opticon Radionet Pilot for ALMA Users with a European affiliation and can be requested at this page.


Upcoming ALMA or ALMA-related Meetings

ALMA school

ALMA School for ALMA users

The European ALMA Regional Centre network is organising an ALMA School for ALMA users, hosted by the UK Node on 10th - 14th June 2024 in Manchester. The 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.


Social media highlight

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