PACE participation to the European Astronomical Society annual meeting

PACE Members attended the EAS virtual meeting planned in Leiden from 29th June to the 3rd of July and moved to a virtual conference due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In particular, António Dias and Israel Matute presented the project “Better science through an enhanced user interface with the ALMA Archive” in the special session 13:  “Eight years of ALMA ground-breaking results: A joint venture between the ALMA user community and the ALMA Regional Centres”.

A 50m telescope with PACE participation approved for design study

A design study for a ground-breaking radio telescope has been recently approved by The European Commission, through the Horizon 2020 program. The international consortium is led by the University of Oslo, with scientists at the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)’s UK Astronomy Technology Centre (UK ATC) in Edinburgh

The Atacama Large-Aperture Submillimeter Telescope or AtLAST, for short, could provide astronomers with everything from a comprehensive catalogue of the chemicals constituents of galaxies in the earliest Universe – taking a ‘molecular fingerprint’ of primaeval galaxies.

It could be operational in the 2030s and will be a single dish submillimeter telescope, measuring 50m in diameter – enabling new discoveries that cannot be achieved with any current or planned astronomical facilities. It will complement the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), and for this reason, since the beginning of the project, PACE scientists have been involved in different activities aiming to raise the attention of the international community on such a project.

Six working groups will now consider different aspects of the design requirements, making a long-term plan for the financial and governmental structure of AtLAST.

ALMA Cycles 7 and 8

On behalf of the ALMA Director, with support from all Executives and the ALMA Board, the recent 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.

PACE continues to provide support to the Portuguese community and is available for any clarification needed.

Take care

ALMA Cycle 8 Call for Proposals Suspended due to COVID-19

The COVID-19 crisis has continued to affect the global community, including ALMA users and staff. ALMA operations remain suspended, as announced on March 20. Under these difficult and unprecedented circumstances, the ALMA Director, with support from all Executives, has decided to suspend the submission of Cycle 8 proposals until further notice.

We appreciate the community has worked hard on new science ideas for Cycle 8, even under such difficult conditions. We also realize the work the community has done in generating an exciting Cycle 7 observing program. At this time, our first priority is the health and well-being of the global community.
New timelines for Cycle 7 and Cycle 8 will be announced on the Science Portal in the coming weeks as the global situation evolves.

These times offer unprecedented stress and challenges for our community members and their families. Our thoughts go out to all those affected by the current situation. The PACE will continue to provide support to the Portuguese community. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

Delay of the ALMA Cycle 8 Proposal Submission Deadline

As everyone is aware, the novel coronavirus COVID-19 continues to impact the global community.  As such, the ALMA Director, along with the regional partners, has decided to delay the proposal deadline for the ALMA Cycle 8 Call for Proposals to NO EARLIER than 15 UT on 19 May 2020.

PACE is prepared for the Cycle 8 Call and, as of now, can provide support to the Portuguese community.  Please contact us with any questions or concerns regarding the ALMA Cycle 8 Call or any other issues.
As we continue to monitor the conditions worldwide, we will assess the feasibility of this deadline and provide additional updates to the community as needed.  The next update to the community will be provided NO LATER than 21 April 2020 on the status of the call and the support for the scientific community at the ARCs.
We realize these are challenging and uncertain times.  We want to continue to hear your concerns (please submit Helpdesk tickets) and will take the appropriate action to address them.  It’s important now to consider the health and well-being of yourself and those around you – that should be the primary focus as we navigate through these stressful times.
Take care.

PhD Fellowship in Portugal

The Portuguese national science foundation, Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT) has opened a call for Ph.D. fellowships, from the 2nd up to the 31st of March 2020.
The Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço (IA) welcomes pre-applications to support selected candidates for documents, administrative tasks, and related activities.
The IA is the most prominent research unit in the field of Astrophysics in Portugal, integrating researchers from the Universidade of Porto and the University of Lisbon, and is responsible for a major fraction of the national productivity in international ISI journals in this area. The research and development effort at the IA includes most of the topics at the forefront of research in Astrophysics and Space Sciences, complemented by work on instrumentation and systems with potential use in Astronomy and Astrophysics.
For more information please check:


the IA dedicated webpage:

We are currently looking for strong candidates to support in this call, in particular for research with ALMA. If you know of promising students, please let us know!

PACE for the 100 years of IAU

The IAU (International Astronomical Union) celebrates its 100 years. The association Ciência Viva joined the celebrations receiving on its space an exposition, “Acima e mais alem”. In this context, PACE members participated in the round tables about the future of Astronomy, discussing with high school students about the possible development of science in the next 100 years.
Great success and above all a great motivation to pursue our work, after the incredible interest these students showed for space sciences.

Call for Research Contracts in Portugal

The national Portuguese Research Council (FCT, Fundação Ciência e Tecnologia) is opening a call for research contracts within different areas of research for different profiles: Junior, Assistant, Principal, and Coordinating researcher. The positions are up to 6 years and the candidates need support from a host institution in Portugal.
The Institute of Astronomy would be very keen to support candidatures, providing full support to the potential candidates. Deadline 26th of February 2020.
The details are here:

PACE at the All-Hands meeting 2019

In the first week of November, PACE participated in the annual meeting of the European ALMA Network, hosted this year by the German ARC Node of Bonn. With the magnificent view of the Rhine valley in Konigswinter, representatives of different European Institutions discussed the status and future plans for ALMA development. After the successful ALMA meeting in Cagliari and with new ideas in mind, the meeting has planned future development for ALMA up to 2030, assuring its role at the forefront of astronomical research.

Group Picture at the Konigswinter garden.

ALMA Director visited PACE

The new ALMA director Dr. Sean Dougherty, appointed in February 2018, visited the Portuguese ALMA Center of Expertise at the end of October.

Dougherty is a renowned radio astronomer, former director of the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory, and Canada’s national radio astronomy facility. He also led the construction and delivery of the WIDAR correlator for the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (JVLA) and is currently leading the international consortium designing the correlator-beam former for the Square Kilometer Array (SKA).

During his visit PACE members had the opportunity to show our current activities and a brief summary of the past achievements and future challenges. In the afternoon the Director gave a plenary talk at the Faculty of Science of the University of Lisbon, explaining to the audience the successes and the new science opened in the last 10 years by this fantastic facility.

The ALMA Director Dr. Sean Dougherty just behind some of the array antennas in Atacama.

Portuguese ALMA Centre of Expertise