ALMA Discovers Cold Dust Around Nearest Star

Astronomers using ALMA have detected dust around the closest star to the Solar System, Proxima Centauri. These new observations reveal cold dust in a region between one to four times as far from Proxima Centauri as the Earth is from the Sun. The data also hint at a cooler outer dust belt and may indicate the presence of an elaborate planetary system. These structures are similar to the much larger belts in the Solar System and are also expected to be made from particles of rock and ice that failed to form planets. See the ESO press release (used as the source for this news item) or the paper in the Astrophysical Journal Letters by Guillem Anglada et al. for more information.


AENEAS Astronomical Facilities User Community Survey

As part of its H2020 program, The European Commission has established the AENEAS project to develop a design for the large-scale analysis infrastructure astronomers will need to extract scientific results from SKA data. This infrastructure is currently envisioned to be organized in the form of a global network of SKA Regional Centres. The ultimate ambition is to open the ability to access and use SKA data products to the widest range of researchers instead of just experts and traditional radio astronomers. Input from the international astronomical community will be a crucial part of developing the requirements and design for these Regional Centres.

Members of the astronomical community are asked to fill in this questionnaire. Through this survey, AENEAS would like to understand the ways in which astronomers currently interact with astronomy data and how astronomer see this changing in the future. AENEAS will use this information to guide recommendations for the design of a European SKA Regional Centre. All responses will be kept strictly confidential.


Upcoming ALMA-Related Meetings

ALMA Data Processing Workshop

05-07 December 2017

Portuguese ALMA Centre of Excellence, Institute of Astronomy and Space Sciences

Lisbon, Portugal


The Portuguese ALMA Centre of Excellence is organizing this workshop on ALMA data processing for both the Portuguese astronomical community and the overall European astronomical community.  This workshop will focus on data processing, but depending on the needs of the participants, may also include either introductory material or more advanced imaging and analysis.  Students wishing to obtain financial support to attend this conference must register before 5th November 2017. More information is available from the conference website.


Atacama Large-Aperture Submm/mm Telescope

17-19 January 2017


Garching, Germany


From the meeting website:

The Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) is currently the world’s most sensitive telescope operating at 0.3 to 3 mm (and will soon be extended to 10 mm). However, as an interferometer, its mapping speed for large areas is limited, while the largest angular scales it can access are limited to < 1 arcminute at 3 mm. This limit is even more stringent at shorter wavelengths. Further, existing submm/mm single dish facilities are not expected to remain competitive beyond 2030. The organizers of this meeting have therefore begun a two-year effort concerning the scientific merit for – and technical implementation of – an Atacama Large Aperture Submm/mm Telescope (AtLAST).  More information is on the meeting website.


European Week of Astronomy and Space Science (EWASS 2018)

03-06 April 2018

Arena & Convention Centre (ACC)

Liverpool, United Kingdom


The European Week of Astronomy and Space Science (EWASS, formerly JENAM) is the annual meeting of the European Astronomical Society (EAS). With more than 25 years of tradition, it has imposed itself as the largest conference for European astronomy. In addition to plenary sessions and the award of prestigious prizes, the conference hosts many symposia held in parallel, as well as special sessions and meetings.

Of potential interest to UK ALMA users are the following sessions:

  • Galaxy formation through cosmic time: synergising theory and observations in the era of large facilities
  • The formation of stars and planets
  • Complex organic molecules in the Universe: current understanding and perspectives

See the conference website for more information.


Tracing the Flow: Galactic Environments and the Formation of Massive Stars

02-06 July 2018

Lake Windermere, UK


Developing a comprehensive understanding of the varied and complex processes associated with the formation of massive stars requires connecting a wide range of environments and physical size scales from galactic disks down to individual massive sources. We can now map the flow of material from galactic environments through clouds to protostars by combining large scale surveys of our galactic plane with sub-arcsecond ALMA images in the millimetre and sub-millimetre. Increasingly these observations probe not only the structure and kinematics of regions but also their chemistry and magnetic fields. Wide field surveys also help to place massive star formation in the wider context of the environment of our galaxy as well as other more extreme galaxies.

Pre-registration now open. For more information please see the meeting website.