An artistic impression of the edge of Venus with an inset image showing phosphine Molecules.   Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser/L. Calcada & NASA/JPL/Caltech.
An artistic impression of the edge of Venus with an inset image showing phosphine Molecules. Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser/L. Calcada & NASA/JPL/Caltech.


ALMA starts the process of recovering the telescope array 

On the 1st of October, the Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) announced that ALMA is now scheduled to begin the process of recovering the telescope array.  This will begin with preparations of the ALMA Observations Support Facility (OSF, located at an elevation of 2900 m) for the return of staff and contractors.  Once the OSF is operational again, the plan is to restart work at the Array Operations Site (AOS, located at an elevation of 5000 m).  

The restart plan will take 80 days to reach the point where the antennas are powered up again.  This means that the earliest point in time at which enough receivers are functional for science observations will be January.  However, the JAO has emphasized that the exact timeline for these activities is highly uncertain and may be affected by various factors that are out of the control of JAO staff.  Also, the JAO anticipates that science observations will be suspended in February for annual maintenance activities during the Altiplanic winter.

More information is available from the statement on the ESO website.


e-MERLIN Invitation for proposals: Cycle-11

Deadline: 23:59:59 UT on 5 November 2020

e-MERLIN requests proposals from the international astronomical community for observations to be made during Cycle-11. Proposals are competitively peer-reviewed under standard STFC rules by the PATT e-MERLIN Time Allocation Committee. Allocation will be made on the basis of scientific merit and technical feasibility alone. During e-MERLIN operations ~50% of observing time has been allocated to large legacy projects and the remaining formal time will be allocated via PATT to standard proposals solicited prior to each observing semester.

The full detailed call with current capabilities and proposing guide can be found at .


CARTA v1.4 released

CARTA (Cube Analysis and Rendering Tool for Astronomy) v.1.4 has recently been released and is available from the CARTA homepage. CARTA has streamlined features that are crucial for the visualisation of astronomical data cubes, and it is designed for performance with substantial decreased loading times for large images and cubes compared to other visualization programs. The v1.4 release includes capabilities for visualisation of multiple datasets with world coordinate and spectral alignments, catalogue support, shared region analytics, moment map generation and spectral line queries.

CARTA is available from .


Update on the UK ALMA 2020 Virtual Workshop for New Postgraduate Students

The ALMA 2020 Virtual Workshop for New Postgraduate Students (9-13 Nov 2020) is now at capacity. In light of this, the UK ARC Node have opened a waiting list for anyone still interested in attending, in case a space becomes available. The waiting list will also act as an expression of interest in a future workshop of this nature to be held in the early 2021.

This workshop will be conducted by staff from the UK ALMA Regional Centre (ARC) Node with the purpose of helping new students get started with their ALMA research. Topics which are to be covered will include, an introduction to ALMA, calibrating and inspecting data from the ALMA archive and imaging ALMA data.

Further details about the upcoming meeting, including a link to join the waiting list, can be found on the meetings web page, which can be found here.


Continuing to support our UK ALMA Users

While remote working remains the norm for the majority of astronomers in the UK and beyond, the UK ARC Node would like to make our users aware of our continued availability to support your work with ALMA data. We are able to provide remote / electronic support to any UK ALMA users who require our assistance at this time.

As such, if you require user support for your PI lead or ALMA archival data processing and analysis in the coming weeks and months, we are contactable via the usual means (contact details below) and can provide a range of electronic support options to help you meet your goals. We also encourage our users to make use of the data available in the ALMA Archive (more details in the next article) at this time.

Further information on the status of operations at Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics (home of the UK ARC Node), Jodrell Bank Observatory and the e-MERLIN National Facility can be found here.


ALMA Archive Use

While the operations at ALMA remain suspended, the UK ARC Node would like to remind the community about the wealth of data available in the ALMA Archive and encourage its use. ALMA has been in science operations for almost 9 years, and as a consequence, ALMA data are publicly available for a huge number of astrophysical objects. The archive can be accessed at and contains the following downloadable data products:

  • Archival image products, suitable for some science cases and as a first look at the programs observations.
  • Raw data that can be reprocessed using by the user with the associated scripts from the archive.

Upon request from UK ALMA users, the UK ARC Node can provide fully calibrated measurements sets for entire or parts of ALMA projects that can then be used for creating new images. These products can be hosted in Manchester and can be made available for an amount of time agreed upon between the ARC Node and the user. Assistance with imaging ALMA data is also available from the UK ARC Node upon request. Please also see the news item on the UK ARC Node's current remote support provisions.

Alternately, the EU ARC at ESO provides, upon request, a service to create and stage fully calibrated ALMA data of individual measurement observation unit sets (MOUSs), with up to 10 MOUSs per request. An MOUS is a single execution of a projects scheduling block. This webpage provides instructions on accessing the service.