Happy New Year from the UK ARC Node!

The UK ARC Node would like to wish all the UK ALMA Community a happy, prosperous and successful 2019! As ever, we are here to help the community get the most out of the ALMA telescope and we look forward to working with you in the coming year.


ALMA Cycle 7 pre-announcement

Shortly before the December break, the Joint ALMA observatory issued the ALMA Cycle 7 pre-announcement. Cycle 7 observing will run from October 1st, 2019, and the Call for Proposals is expected to commence on March 19th with a deadline of April 17th.

The new capabilities available in Cycle 7 will include the following:

  • Band 7 observations in array configurations C43-9 and C43-10 (max baselines of ~14km and 16km respectively).
  • Solar observations in band 7 with array configurations C43-1 and C43-2.
  • Solar observations in band 3 with array configuration C43-4.

In addition, Band 7 observations with arrays including baselines greater than 5km will become standard mode (subject to the availability of nearby phase calibrators), and the data rate limitation from previous cycles will be relaxed to allow using high spectral resolution tunings with long baseline arrays.

The pre-announcement lists the full technical capabilities and key dates.


UK ALMA Community Days 2019

The UK ARC Node plans to host one or more ALMA Community Days this spring to help the UK astronomical community take advantage of the new capabilities available during ALMA Cycle 7 (as listed above). There will be a focus on long baseline and solar observing as well as proposal preparation and data simulation for these new capabilities.

The venue(s) and the exact date(s) of the Community Day(s) have not yet been decided. If you would like to host an event at your institute, please let us know by contacting us. Events can also be hosted in Manchester at the UK ARC Node itself.

Additionally, we are also happy to organise ALMA training events at your institute focused on areas of local interest, including subjects not specifically related to new ALMA capabilities.


CARTA v1.0 released

The CARTA (Cube Analysis and Rendering Tool for Astronomy) consortium are please to announce the release of version 1.0 of the CARTA software. CARTA will serve as the main visualization tool for astronomical images and data cubes obtained by ALMA, VLA, and SKA pathfinders and can also be used with data from other telescopes in FITS, MIRIAD, and HDF5 image formats.

When all of CARTA's capabilities are implemented, it will replace CASA's image viewer. The initial CARTA's v1.0 release has the following capabilities:

  • fast loading of cubes and calculation of cube statistics for setting colour ranges
  • various colour maps and scaling options
  • image zoom and resize options
  • cube animation
  • blinking of images
  • spectral and spatial profiles, including saving the graphs as png or graph values as ascii
  • value tracking
  • switching between different coordinate systems
  • adjustable layout options for images
  • saving images as png
  • flexible GUI arrangements and themes

Region support, contour images and image overlays, multi-panel view, and scriptability will be available in the next few months.

The software runs on Linux and macOS and can be downloaded from its GitHub page.


3mm VLBI in ALMA Cycle 7

It is expected that ALMA will take part in some GMVA observations during the period between Oct 2019 and Sept 2020. The ALMA array is expected to include 43 antennas, and those within a 0.5km radius will be phased up for use in VLBI observations. Any GMVA proposal requesting phased ALMA during Cycle 7 must be submitted via the NRAO PST at the February 1, 2019 deadline.

For all requirements for proposing please refer to the announcement.