European ARC Announcements

European ARC Announcements are provided by ESO and the European ALMA Nodes that together make up the European ALMA Regional Centre Network.

2020 August Status of ALMA

Published: 27 Aug 2020

Dear colleagues, 

The COVID-19 pandemic still continues to impact our lives in many ways around the world. The situation in Chile has slightly improved in the Santiago area but not yet improved in the northern area where the ALMA telescope is located. ALMA operations thus remain suspended and the timeline of resuming observations unfortunately remains uncertain. Detailed plans for the safe return to operations have been developed and regular reviews to consider starting the re-opening process of the Observatory have now started. ALMA is currently still in the Caretaker phase with small teams maintaining the safety of the ALMA equipment and infrastructure. As always, the top priority is the health and safety of all our staff.

The ALMA Regional Centers (ARCs) continue to provide support for PIs and users of archival data. The ARCs in particular assist the reduction and analysis of existing data through virtual face-to-face (f2f) support in addition to usual Helpdesk interactions. If you have any questions, want to sign up for a virtual f2f visit, or have comments or concerns related to the situation at ALMA, please contact the ALMA Helpdesk at https://help.almascience.org.

2020 July Status of ALMA

Published: 09 Jul 2020

Dear colleagues,

At this time, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the lives of ALMA staff and users around the world. Although in some of the ALMA regions the situation is slowly improving, in other regions, including Chile, the evolution of the outbreak remains highly uncertain.

Because of the on-going situation in Chile, ALMA operations unfortunately remain suspended. ALMA staff continue to monitor the situation very carefully and work on the development of detailed plans for the return to operations, which will be initiated when the situation allows. We will keep updating the user community on the developments. 

Northern Chile was recently hit by a magnitude 6.8 earthquake. Fortunately this caused no injuries to ALMA staff and no serious damage at the ALMA site. This was followed by extremely high winds, that led to some minor damage at the OSF.

As always, the ALMA Regional Centres provide support to their respective communities, and can assist in the analysis of your data and help with archive research projects. If you have any questions on this, or comments or concerns related to the situation at ALMA, please contact the ALMA Helpdesk at https://help.almascience.org

We wish you, your families and colleagues continued good health and safety.

Continued support in the European ARC Network during the COVID-19 pandemic

Published: 07 Jul 2020

During the COVID-19 pandemic all ALMA staff within the European ARC Network have been working from home. As the situation in Europe is now slowly improving, staff at some of the different nodes and centre of expertise are slowly starting to work from the office again.

While visitors are not yet allowed to enter the premises of the respective nodes, the nodes continue to offer face-to-face user support through virtual means. Users that require assistance with data calibration and imaging or archival research projects may contact the ALMA Helpdesk at https://help.almascience.org to schedule a virtual meeting with their node.

The European ARC Network wishes you, your family, friends and colleagues the very best of health and stay safe!

ARI-L images are now available in the ALMA Archive

Published: 29 Jun 2020

The first ARI-L continuum images and data cubes generated by the Additional Representative Images for Legacy (ARI-L) ALMA development project are now available for download in the ALMA Science Archive (ASA).

The project aims to increase the legacy value of the ASA by bringing the reduction level of ALMA data from Cycles 2-4 close to the level of the more recent Cycles processed with the ALMA Imaging Pipeline. In three years, the ARI-L project will produce and ingest into the ASA a uniform set of full data cubes and continuum images covering at least 70% of the data from Cycles 2-4. These cubes will complement the much smaller QA2-generated image products, which cover only a small fraction (< 10%) of the observed data for those cycles. The complete set of ARI-L imaging products will be highly relevant for many science-cases and enhance the possibilities of exploitation of archival data.

Job Advertisement at the UK node in Manchester: postdoctoral research associate position

Published: 17 Jun 2020

The UK ARC Node at the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics invites applications for a postdoctoral research associate position to work as a support astronomer for UK users of the Atacama Large Millimeter/sub-millimeter Array (ALMA). The application is open till the 13th of July.

The UK ARC Node is funded by STFC to support the UK astronomical community to exploit the UK's investment in ALMA and is a member of the European ALMA Regional Centre network coordinated by the ESO. You will spend 75% of your time as part of the ARC Node team supporting astronomers planning ALMA observations, acquiring and processing data as well as contributing to the continued development of ALMA. You will undertake your own independent research program focused on ALMA science for the remaining 25% of their time.

For more information please follow this link.

Continued Update on the Status of the ALMA Observatory

Published: 28 May 2020


The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the global community, including ALMA users and staff. 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 https://help.almascience.org. This newsitem is also available on the ALMA Science Portal.

Approval for upgraded ALMA Observing Tool (OT)

Published: 27 May 2020

We are pleased to announce that approval has been given for the development of an upgraded ALMA Observing Tool (OT). This comes after the successful completion of a two-year study to investigate the feasibility of converting the OT to a web-based application. The current desktop tool began development nearly twenty years ago and so the upgrade will also bring it up to date in terms of the technologies used, bringing both user enhancements and easier maintainability. However, the core functionality of the OT will not change and it will continue to work with projects made with the current tool. Development will be based at the UK ATC in Edinburgh and is expected to last about three years.

ALMA2030: Development study to upgrade the ALMA digital electronics from digitization to correlation kicks off

Published: 27 May 2020

A new development study, led by the Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Bordeaux, will examine solutions to upgrade the ALMA digitization system. This study follows one of the key recommendations of the ALMA Development Roadmap, which is to increase the instantaneous bandwidth of the observatory by a factor of two or more. Importantly, the precursor study by the Bordeaux group identified a new digitizer that can cover an instantaneous bandwidth of up to 20 GHz per sideband.  At the same time, these new devices would increase the quantization efficiency by more than 10%, increasing it to about 96 %, which would directly improve ALMA’s sensitivity. The performance of this digitizer will now be verified aiming at series production of around 100 devices. The study will also look into an upgrade of the optical transmission between antennas and correlator, which might in the future be located at the OSF building, as well as digital signal processing in order to cope with the higher data rates that will result from the upgrade.

 

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