A strong effort has been necessary to protect the antennas from the heat, but in the end they succeeded: ALMA started the observations of the Sun.
The lesson has been learned in the hard way: the Swedish–ESO Submillimetre Telescope (SEST) had a fire in its secondary mirror assembly after the telescope was accidentally pointed at the Sun.
However, this time things went very well, and this week have been released by the ESO a series of images that show the power of this new ALMA capability.
Scientists focused their attention into a well known sunspot, which was observed at 1.25 and 3 millimetres.
These observations probed different layer of the chromosphere, and opened a new frontier in the study of our precious star. For further details you can read the official press release of the ESO where other interesting images are available.
On 16 December 2016 the ALMA website released a pre-announcement of the Cycle 5. The proposal deadline will be on 20 April 2016. The observing Cycle will start on October 2017 span 12 months.
The Cycle will offer 4000 hours on 12-m Array time and 3000 hours on the Atacama Compact Array (ACA). Cycle 5 will offer the same proposal types as in Cycle 4.
Some anticipation about the capabilities:
At least ten (10) 7-m antennas (for short baselines) and three (3) 12-m antennas (for making single-dish maps) in the ACA;
Receiver bands 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 (wavelengths of about 3.1, 2.1, 1.6, 1.3, 0.87, 0.74, 0.44 and 0.35 mm, respectively);
Maximum baselines for the 12 m antenna configurations will vary from 0.15 km to 16 km;
Single field interferometry (all bands) and mosaics (Bands 3 to 9) with the 12-m Array and the 7-m Array;
Single dish spectral line observations in Bands 3 to 8
The opportunities offered for the first time are:
1. Band 4 polarization: Proposals will be accepted for Band 4 observations in all available polarization modes.
2. Band 5 observations: Proposals will be accepted for spectral line (12-m, 7-m and Total Power arrays) and continuum (12-m and 7-m arrays) observations in Band 5. Proposals will be accepted for Band 5 observations in all available polarization modes.
The annual European meeting of the ARC nodes and CoE this year will be held in the Costa de Caparica Hotel.
More than 50 scientists from the different ALMA nodes in Europe will attend this meeting to discuss the strategic lines for the future of ALMA, and the technical improvements of the official data reduction pipeline of the instrument.
The Portuguese Alma Center of Expertise (PACE) will guest the event in collaboration with the ESO-ALMA Headquarter of Garching.
This year’s YERAC will be organized and sponsored by the MPI for Radioastronomy in collaboration with its IMPRS for Astronomy and Astrophysics. As in most years since 1968, early stage radioastronomers (i.e. PhD candidates and postdocs) will meet, discuss and network in a relaxed atmosphere. Each participant is given the opportunity to give an oral talk.
The Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT) will open a call for PhD and Post-Doctoral fellowships, from 15th June to 15th July 2016. The positions are for up to 4 and 6 years, respectively for PhD and Post-Doctoral applications (tuition fees are covered in the case of PhD fellowships). The selection is done by FCT.
The Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço (IA) welcomes pre-applications until June 30th, 2016.
Five years passed so quickly, and half a decade seems a lot in correspondence to the amount of great science ALMA has enabled thus far. As a result, the conference “Half a Decade of ALMA: Cosmic Dawns transformed” will be held on 20th-23rd September 2015 in Indian Wells, California (USA).
A list of invited speakers and topic they will cover is already online, as well as the preliminary programme layout.
Note that a pre-registration and abstract submission are now open.
We are happy to note the increased interest ALMA has on the portuguese astronomical community. The latest Call for Proposals closed on the 21st April 2016, and resulted in over 1600 proposals from all over the world, with almost 60 being PI’ed or co-I’ed by researchers working in Portugal. These proposals are distributed over the Science Categories “Cosmology and the high redshift universe”, “Interstellar medium, star formation and astrochemistry”, and “Circumstellar disks, exoplanets and the Solar system”.
This is a robust increase over the submission for Cycle 3, which resulted in 8 proposals with a portuguese participation being accepted.
We will be on the lookout for the outcome of the review process in August.
Allegro, the Netherlands node of the European ALMA Regional Centre (ARC) at Leiden Observatory, invites applications for a postdoctoral support position. As part of the European ARC network, Allegro supports ALMA users and ALMA operations and development.
The ALMA Cycle 4 Call for Proposals is now open until 21st April 2016. This cycle will run from October 2016 to September 2017. Check the call webpage for more detailed information including new array capabilities.
The call for 1mm Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) proposals to use phased ALMA at Band 6 in Cycle 4, in collaboration with the Event Horizon Telescope Consortium (EHTC), will be released to coincide with the ALMA Cycle 4 Call for Proposals in March 2016. The EHTC is expected to comprise the Submillimeter Array, the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope, the Submillimeter Telescope, the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment, the South Pole Telescope, the Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano, the IRAM 30m telescope, and an antenna from the Northern Extended Millimeter Array.
The same scientific justification must be submitted in response to the ALMA and VLBI network calls. NRAO will facilitate this for the 1mm VLBI call by having proposers submit a copy of their ALMA Cycle 4 proposal in response to the 1mm VLBI call, approximately one week after the ALMA proposal deadline in April.
Further details, along with technical information for phased ALMA and the EHTC, will be made available with the 1mm VLBI Call for Proposals. It is expected that observing will take place in March or April 2017, when ALMA will be in a compact configuration suitable for efficient phasing.