European ARC Newsletter
24 Mar 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

Sixth European ALMA Regional Centre community assembly

23 Mar 2023:

The European ALMA Regional Centre invites European ALMA users to a virtual community assembly on April 17 at 11:00 CEST, in connection with the Cycle 10 call for proposals. At this meeting, we will provide more information on the procedures for Joint Proposals with other facilities, including the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope, the Space Telescope Science Institute's James Webb Space Telescope, and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory's Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array.

Read more

10 years of ALMA at the ALMA observatory site

On 13th of March 2023, ALMA celebrated its 10th anniversary since its inauguration in 2013. Over these ten years, ALMA has provided new insights into the formation of stars, planets and galaxies and has played a crucial role in obtaining the first image of a black hole. The scientific community has presented its ALMA results in over 3000 publications.

On ALMA's birthday, ALMA representatives, Chilean authorities, ambassadors, and local communities renewed the "Tribute to Mother Earth" ceremony, performed by a local community leader, and toured the observatory facilities together with scientists and engineers. An artistic light and sound show concluded this special day.

More information about the festivities as well as two exciting videos about 10 years of ALMA can be found on the ALMA observatory website.

Compilation of photos from 10 years of ALMA celebratory event

MAYA 2023

The second Meeting of ALMA Young Astronomers (MAYA 2023) was held online from March 6th to 10th, 2023. The conference was designed specifically for early career astronomers, including graduate students and junior postdocs, and provided them with a platform to present their research using ALMA data. There were 192 registrations and 69 submitted abstracts. The program comprised 51 live talks, including three invited talks, and featured a diverse range of topics, from solar physics to cosmology. The overall attendance was 30-60 participants in each session.

In addition to the presentations, the conference facilitated numerous activities that encouraged interaction and engagement among participants. These included discussions on ALMA-related topics, as well as a social evening complete with a quiz and games. As in 2022, MAYA 2023 was a resounding success, serving as an invaluable platform for early career astronomers to present their research, share knowledge, and engage in meaningful discussions.

Group photo of MAYA 2023

New targets for science verification of Band 1

Observations in Band 1 will be offered from Cycle 10. The science verification targets chosen for Band 1 are Orion KL and W51. The observations of these targets demonstrate the imaging and spectral scan capabilities in Band 1. The data are planned to be taken with about 20 antennas and will be released for public use. More information about the Band 1 science verification observations can be found here.

Photo of the Band 1 cartridge

Upcoming events at the Italian ARC node

17 April, online: Proposal Preparation Day. In symbiosis with the Community Event organised by ESO. Details will be sent to the Italian node community at a later date via mail.

12-14 June, Bologna: Fifth workshop on millimetre astronomy in Italy. Workshop for the Italian astronomical community.  Website: Registration deadline 28/5/23. The deadline for contributed talks has passed.

We are taking ALMA to the community, doing a seminar tour which brings us to Padova, Trieste, Milan, Florence and Bologna ("ALMA towards Cycle 10 and beyond").

Logo Italian ARC node


ALMA science highlight

Differences in brightness and size between coronal bright points within coronal holes and quiet Sun regions observed by ALMA
Coronal bright point in a quiet Sun region and within a coronal hole
Images of a coronal bright point in a quiet Sun region (upper row) and within a coronal hole (bottom row) visible as bright features in the ALMA single-dish Band 6 observation (left) and SDO/AIA extreme-UV observation at 193 Å (middle) overlaying black and white concentrations of opposite polarity photospheric magnetic field in the SDO/HMI magnetogram (right).

Coronal bright points (CBPs), being small-scale loops of plasma in the low solar corona connecting concentrations of opposite polarity photospheric magnetic field, are one of the most frequent phenomena in the solar atmosphere. Thanks to ALMA, we can observe and study the properties of legs and footpoints of these bright loop-like structures visible in the solar chromosphere.

Using the ALMA single-dish Band 6 observations, Matković et al. (2023) analysed the brightness and area of CBPs within five different coronal holes (CHs) and outside of them in the quiet Sun (QS) regions to find if those properties differ between the CBPs in different regions on the Sun. The analysis of the CBP properties shows that there is indeed a significant difference between the CBPs inside and outside of CHs regarding both of the measured properties. It is found that CBPs within CHs are on average less bright, but also smaller in size than the CBPs outside of CHs. For comparison, a similar analysis is done for the same CBPs visible in the extreme-UV emission observed by the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), which produced results similar to ALMA. Moreover, the analysis also indicates that smaller CHs or CHs with higher abundance of open magnetic field limit the average brightness and size observed by both ALMA and SDO for CBPs within CHs to lower values than those found in the QS regions.

The results obtained by Matković and his collaborators clearly show that CBPs are not the same everywhere on the Sun, but rather their appearance is influenced by physical properties of the surrounding region where this influence can be seen in both the solar chromosphere and corona.


Meet the ARC

Photo of Wenjuan Liu

Dr. Wenjuan Liu

Wenjuan joined the Czech ARC Node in 2016. She has been heavily involved in contact scientist support, data quality assurance and testing of software tools. Recently, she focuses on solar ALMA observations which were taken in early March this year.

Wenjuan's main research interest is in solar physics. In her studies, she investigates the physics of solar flares, how a flare occurs, how the magnetic energy built up in the solar atmosphere is suddenly released and transferred in a flare, and what we can learn about a flare from multi-wavelength observations.

Photo of Marta de Simone

Dr. Marta de Simone

Marta recently joined the ESO ARC in Garching as an ESO fellow in January 2023, after obtaining her PhD at the Grenoble University in France. As part of her duties, she is involved in the ARC in the quality assurance through weblog reviews, in astronomer-on-duty shifts and in participating in the phase rms study aimed to investigating the weather conditions of ALMA observations.

Marta's research focuses on the chemical characterisation of Solar-type protostars and their outflow. She mainly uses emission lines of interstellar complex organic molecules in the centimetre and millimetre range using interferometric facilities, such as VLA, ALMA and NOEMA. In her research, she stressed out the crucial role of the combination of cm and mm wavelengths to correctly study hot corinos, chemically rich planet forming zones.

Nordic node

Group photo of the Nordic ARC node

We are the people who work at the Nordic ARC node, from left to right: Tobia Carozzi, Sebastien Muller, Daniel Tafoya, Michael Olberg, Carmen Toribio, Simon Casey and Sabine König. The Nordic ARC node is based at the Onsala Space Observatory, in Sweden, and our mission is to promote and support the use of ALMA within the astronomical community of the Nordic and Baltic countries.

Among the activities that we do to promote ALMA use, every year during the Call for Proposals we organise Proposal Preparation events to inform the astronomical community about the new capabilities of the telescope. At these events, we support newcomers, also exchange ideas on the feasibility of the proposed observations and on how to make proposals more competitive. Throughout the year, we stay in contact with the user community by paying visits to research institutes and by organising a Summer Barbecue at the observatory, where we discuss science results and future projects using ALMA. 

Our support to the user community includes project follow-up, data reduction and analysis, as well as access to archives. We have high capacity data links for downloading archival data and high performance computer facilities to support ALMA data reduction. We offer personalised face-to-face visits, which can be done in person or remotely. At the Observatory, there is ample dormitory and guest room accommodation for visitors and to host small workshops.

The expertise of the Nordic ARC node covers areas in astrometry, self-calibration, multi-frequency synthesis, deconvolution algorithms, visibility fitting, polarisation and single dish data calibration. In addition, the node maintains several advanced data analysis packages.

We are also enthusiasts of collaborating within the European ARC network. During the hard times brought on by COVID-19 we developed the idea of the series of online training I-TRAIN to help users in working with interferometric data by bringing the expertise at the ARC nodes to the whole European and global ALMA user community. Furthermore, we actively participate in other EU ARC Network activities such as schools, the yearly Meeting of ALMA Young Astronomers, the High Level Data Products group and the Social Media group.

Contact us for support or feedback and join our mailing list if you would like to receive ALMA news from the Nordic ARC node!


Did you know...

that you can request the release of any QA0 PASS or SEMI-PASS raw data as a PI or Data Delegee of any active ALMA project before the delivery of the full QA2-assured products? More information about this policy and the procedure can be found here.



Upcoming ALMA or ALMA-related Meetings


Resolving the Extragalactic Universe with ALMA and JWST

We wish to advertise this conference to be held November 6-10, 2023. It will focus on the latest scientific results on the high-redshift universe with the ALMA and JWST telescopes. A website and registration form will be forthcoming. Please fill out this short form to show your interest.


Social media highlight

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