Radio images of Antares with ALMA and the VLA.  Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), E. O’Gorman; NRAO/AUI/NSF, S. Dagnello.
Radio images of Antares with ALMA and the VLA.
Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), E. O’Gorman; NRAO/AUI/NSF, S. Dagnello.


ALMA Status Update from the Joint ALMA Observatory

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the global community, including ALMA users and staff. The decisions taken regarding the status of Cycle 7 and Cycle 8 are as follows:

  • The start of ALMA Cycle 8 has been postponed until 2021 October. It is anticipated that the Cycle 8 Call for Proposals will open again in 2021 March.
  • ALMA Cycle 7 will continue through 2021 September, with currently non-completed projects ranked A, B and C remaining in the observing queue.

While ALMA operations remain suspended, we have been working actively on plans to restart operations at a time that it is feasible. In these unprecedented circumstances, ALMA’s first priority is the health and safety of all our staff, many of whom travel long distances by bus and plane to reach the remote ALMA telescope site in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. At this time, and given the current evolution of the COVID-19 outbreak in Chile, it is unclear when a ramp-up to start operations could begin, or when a restart of science operations will be possible. ALMA is working on guidelines and considerations for the restart of operations and will provide a next update to the community in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, Caretaker teams continue to maintain the safety of the ALMA equipment and infrastructure in both Santiago and in San Pedro, while all other staff continue to work remotely from their homes. The Regional ARCs continue to provide support to their communities. If you have any questions, comments or concerns related to the situation at ALMA, please contact the ALMA Helpdesk at


Press Release: Supergiant Atmosphere of Antares Revealed by Radio Telescopes

A team of astronomers including staff from the UK ARC Node have made the most detailed map ever of the atmosphere of the red supergiant Antares. Using observations from both ALMA and the JVLA telescopes, the team has revealed the properties of Antares's atmosphere, starting just above its surface and extending out to the wind it drives.

The size of Antares's chromosphere extends to approximately 2.5x the star's radius and was found to have a temperature lower than previous estimates based on optical and ultraviolet observations. The study of massive stars' stellar atmospheres at the ends of their lives is crucial to understanding how they drive their prodigious winds and seed the interstellar medium with heavy elements. Such observations have only recently become possible as a result of the resolution and sensitivity of a new generation of telescopes such as ALMA.

More information is available from both the press release and the science article in Astronomy & Astrophysics.


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.


CASA VLBI Workshop

02-06 Nov 2020

JIVE Headquarters

Dwingeloo, The Netherlands


The CASA data processing package is growing in its use for Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI). In the last years, VLBI functionality in CASA has significantly expanded and improved, and this has been advertised globally in meetings, schools and tutorials. To educate new and existing VLBI astronomers in the use of CASA for data processing, JIVE is hosting a second CASA-VLBI workshop at the JIVE headquarters. This will take place from 2-6 November, in Dwingeloo, the Netherlands. For full details and registration please see the meeting's website.