European ARC Newsletter
27 Sep 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. 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". You can also connect with the European ALMA Regional Centre via social media!

News and announcements Science highlight Meet the ARC
Did you know Meetings Social media highlight

European ARC News and Announcements

CalMS Service unavailable during European ARC cluster downtime

25 Sep 2023:

The European ARC CalMS service ( will be unavailable from 16 - 30 October 2023.

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Development study on integrated system on a chip low noise amplifiers kicks off

25 Sep 2023:

On September 25th, 2023, representatives of the ESO ALMA development study program and the European Science Advisory Committee (ESAC) met at the University of Manchester (UoM) with researchers from both UoM's Advanced Radio Instrumentation Group and the Science and Technology Facilities Council's Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL), kicking off a key ALMA study aiming to provide more integrated and scalable approaches to building the low noise amplifiers and mixers at the heart of ALMA receivers. 

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ALMA and ESO fellowship opportunities in Chile and Garching

25 Sep 2023:

The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) is offering a postdoctoral fellowship position to join the ALMA science operations group in Santiago, Chile. The goal of this fellowship is to offer young scientists the opportunity to enhance their research programs through involvement in science activities and interactions with experienced staff at the world's foremost observatory for sub-mm astronomy. The application deadline is 31/10/2023.

The European Southern Observatory (ESO) invites applications for the ESO Fellowship Programme 2023/2024. The Programme is designed to help early career scientists to develop their independent research programmes and successfully reach the next step of their scientific careers. The application deadlines are 15/10/2023 for the ESO-Chile and ESO-Germany Fellowship Programmes, respectively.

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Release of Band-to-Band High-Frequency Long-Baseline ALMA Test Data Taken in 2021

25 Sep 2023:

ALMA is releasing data acquired as part of the Extension and Optimisation of Capabilities effort (EOC). These data were taken as part of the High-Frequency Long-Baseline Campaign (HF-LBC-2021) during Cycle 7, which was organised to test the calibration and imaging capability of ALMA at high-frequencies (397 - 908 GHz, Band 8-10) and using long baselines (~16 km).

One main priority was to make a final validation of the band-to-band (B2B) phase referencing observation mode in Bands 8, 9, and 10. This technique allows the calibration of high-frequency observations by using a phase calibrator observed at a lower frequency, e.g. pairing Band 10 target observations with a Band 7 phase calibrator.

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ALMA Science Helpdesk downtime

25 Sep 2023:

The ALMA Science Helpdesk will be unavailable due to essential maintenance for two days starting October 9, 13:00 UT. During this time users and staff will not have access to their tickets and will be unable to create new tickets. Principle Investigators of Target of Opportunity programs who may want to trigger observations during this timeframe should contact their Contact Scientist prior to the downtime.

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ALMA Announces Observatory Projects for Configurations 8 and 9

25 Sep 2023:

The ALMA Observatory announces five filler programs that have been approved on the main array by the ALMA director. The programs are designed to fill the gaps in the 12-m Array observing schedule at low frequencies in Configurations 8 and 9, based on input  from scientists at the Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) and the ALMA Regional Centers (ARCs). The proposed programs were reviewed by the Observatory Scientist and the Department of Science Operations head, and approved by the ALMA Director.

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Development study on wideband low noise amplifiers kicks off

21 Sep 2023:

To reach the ambitious goal of the ALMA Wideband Sensitivity Upgrade (WSU) to quadruple the instantaneous bandwidth from 4 to 16 GHz a wide range of receiver components need to be upgraded including the junctions, the intermediate frequency (IF) hybrids and the Cryogenic Low Noise Amplifiers (CLNA). The latter component has a critical role, as its location early in the analogue part of the signal chain means it has a substantial contribution to the overall receiver noise and affects the quality of sideband separating receivers. Moreover, the IF bandwidth of the CLNA is often the limiting factor for the overall receiver bandwidth, making the CLNA one of the key components to upgrade for the WSU. The same CLNA can be installed in most upgraded receivers.

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Development study on streaming visibility processing kicks off

15 Sep 2023:

A new development study, led by ASTRON in Dwingeloo (The Netherlands) will investigate the possibility of implementing initial processing steps of ALMA raw data from the correlator in a streaming process of the visibilities. This study builds synergies with the LOFAR and SKA telescopes, where similar processes will be applied by the software engineers at ASTRON. In particular, the Default PreProcessing Pipeline (DP3) is a modular framework that can be adapted to be used on ALMA data.

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ALMA science highlight

ALMA observations unveil the complex nature of a massive, highly star-forming galaxy in the Epoch of Reionisation
The [CII] spectrum of REBELS-25
The [CII] spectrum of REBELS-25 showing a double-peaked primary component and a fainter secondary component at positive velocities. The data is shown with a black histogram with yellow shading and the error on the data is shown with grey shaded bars. A model fitted to the data, which represents a central galaxy and merging companion is shown as a solid blue line. The model is composed of two Gaussians (dashed green and dotted pink lines) fitted to the main [CII] component and a third Gaussian (dot-dashed red line) fitted to the secondary component. The residual between the model and the data is shown as a blue histogram in an inset panel above the data.

ALMA observations have revealed a massive, IR-bright, highly star forming galaxy (REBELS-25) at a redshift of 7.31, in the Epoch of Reionisation. Hygate et al. (2023) presented an analysis of REBELS-25 using ALMA observations of singly ionised carbon, [CII], line emission and ∼158μm dust continuum taken as a part of the REBELS ALMA large programme. These observations indicate that the galaxy has a large molecular gas reservoir and a significant infrared luminosity that would qualify the galaxy as an ultra-luminous infrared galaxy (ULIRG). This is particularly interesting as ULIRGs have been predicted to make a significant contribution to the obscured star formation rate during the Epoch of Reionisation, but have so far proven difficult to detect.

The galaxy exhibits complex morphology, with clumps that were observed in the rest-frame UV with HST being offset from the centroids of the dust and [CII] emission by ∼3 kpc. This suggests either a merger or that there are UV-bright star-forming clumps located in a dusty host galaxy. Intriguingly, the [CII] spectrum exhibits a double-peaked primary [CII] component as well as a fainter secondary [CII] component offset in velocity from the main component. The double-peaked main [CII] line and its observed kinematics are consistent with disc rotation. However, other velocity structures smeared by the beam (such as a merger) could produce the same velocity structure when observed at the current low resolution. The fainter secondary component suggests the presence of a merger or an outflow.

The analysis also presents a simple, conservative model for the galaxy's evolution that assumes an exponentially declining star formation rate. This model shows that REBELS-25 could potentially evolve to have a stellar mass consistent with that observed for the population of high-mass quiescent galaxies observed at redshift ∼4 without the need for mergers or gas inflow to add to the [CII]-derived molecular gas mass already present at redshift 7.31.


Meet the ARC


Photo of Hannah Stacey

Dr. Hannah Stacey

Hannah joined the ESO ARC in Garching as an ALMA Astronomer in September 2023. Her duties at the ARC involve quality assurance, data reduction and user support. She was previously a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics and obtained her PhD from the University of Groningen in 2020. 

Her research interests are gravitational lensing, galaxy evolution, dark matter and the high-redshift Universe. She mainly uses interferometric facilities, including ALMA, VLA, e-MERLIN. Her recent work has involved using ALMA and gravitational lensing to investigate molecular gas kinematics in quasar host galaxies.


Photo of Ko-Yun (Monica) Huang

Dr. Ko-Yun (Monica) Huang

Monica joined the Allegro ARC node in Leiden as a postdoc in September 2023. She will support the ALMA user community via serving as a contact scientist for PIs with ALMA time and offering general services including the face-to-face support for the Dutch ALMA community such as in proposal preparation and data handling.

As an observer, Monica's research interest has been in characterizing both chemical and physical properties in the shocked environments of nearby galaxies. She is also interested in studying the interstellar magnetic field properties via polarization observations at sub-mm wavelength.


Did you know...

that you can find ALMA's current configuration schedule here and that the linked observing reports give you an overview of the projects that have been observed per week of the schedule? The reports include information about the start and end time of the observations, the project code, the scheduling block name, the project title, the PI name, the executive, the array and the band.


Upcoming ALMA or ALMA-related meetings

ALMA Workshop 2024

UK ALMA 2024 Hybrid Workshop

This workshop will provide an introduction to ALMA and instructions on how to work with data from the observatory and will include sessions on preparing proposals, downloading data from the ALMA archive, calibrating and imaging ALMA data, and using advanced ALMA-related tools.

The workshop will be conducted in a hybrid format with participants having the option of either attending the workshop in person at the University of Manchester or joining online.  More details will be provided later.  While the workshop is aimed primarily at novice ALMA users, particularly from the United Kingdom, other users with higher levels of experience or from other locations are also welcome to attend.

To sign up, go to

The workshop will take place from 19-21 February 2024 and registration will close on 15 December 2023. For more information about the workshop, see the workshop's webpage at

Richard Hills

Raising the veil on star formation near and far: a conference in honour of Richard Hills

Abstract submission is now open for the conference "Raising the veil on star formation near and far: a conference in honour of Richard Hills", with a deadline of the 30 November 2023.

This conference will bring together scientists from multiple areas to discuss the recent developments in understanding star formation both in our Galaxy and across the cosmic epochs, with focus on its elusive and obscured components. It will also be an occasion to commemorate the fundamental contribution in these areas by the late Richard Hills, about two years after his passing. Richard guided the development of instrumentation and observatories that have shaped our understanding of the cold and dusty Universe over the last 50 years, both through his insightful technical understanding and his broad scientific knowledge of multiple areas of astrophysics.

The conference will take place on the 22-26 April 2024 at the Kavli Institute for Cosmology, Cambridge, and online. Registration for in-person attendance will be limited to 100 participants. For more information visit the conference website at


Views on the multi-phase interstellar medium in galaxies

This international conference will focus on the latest developments in the theory of the ISM, state-of-the-art numerical studies, and most recent observational results from JWST, ALMA and other facilities, to investigate the interplay between the ISM, star formation, and black holes in the life of galaxies from the local Universe to the highest redshifts.

The conference will take place on 9-13 September 2024 in Bologna, Italy, in the historical venue of Aula Prodi, within one of the oldest universities in the world. The conference is a natural follow-up of the ALMABO19 event we held in 2019.

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