2017 Call for 5 PhD Fellowships


The fourth call (2017) for 5 PhD Fellowships of the PhD::SPACE Program,

funded by the FCT PD Program initiative is open for applications to be submitted by the ***31st of March 2017***.

The details of the Call are provided at:


This program is offered by the Universities of Porto (www.up.pt) and Lisboa (www.ulisboa.pt), having as host the Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences (www.iastro.pt), with poles at Porto and Lisboa.

Further details can be found at the PhD::SPACE website at http://phd-space.iastro.pt/

and in the webpage for applicants


The list of PhD Topics available for selection in the 2017 Call are listed at


For further details, please contact the Program Director:
Mario J. P. F. G. Monteiro (mario.monteiro@astro.up.pt)

ALMA Starts Observing the Sun


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.

The damage that was inflicted by the fire in the 15 m Swedish-ESO Submillimetre Telescope.


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.


This ALMA image of an enormous sunspot was taken at a wavelength of 1.25 millimetres. Sunspots are transient features that occur in regions where the Sun’s magnetic field is extremely concentrated and powerful. They have lower temperatures than their surrounding regions, which is why they appear relatively dark. These observations are the first ever made of the Sun with a facility where ESO is a partner. They are an important expansion of the range of observations that can be used to probe the mysterious physics of our nearest star.

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.

ALMA Cycle 5 Pre-announcement

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.

Further details available in the ALMA website



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.

Young European Radio Astronomers Conference 2016

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.

Please, find more detailed information here.

2016 Call for PhD Studentships and Post-Doctoral fellowships

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.

More details in the IA announcement page.

Half a Decade of ALMA: pre-registration

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 hope to see you there!

ALMA Cycle-4 Proposal Submission Statistics

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.

ALMA Cycle 4 Call for Proposals

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.

Note the menu side bar where one will find key guiding documents and tools such as the Proposer’s Guide, the Proposal Templates, the Observing Tool, a web-based Sensitivity Calculator, or the always helpful ALMA Primer.

Should you need any help, do not hesitate to contact us by any of the available means. Also, stay up to date by subscribing to our mailing list (check bottom left corner in our homepace).

Good luck!

Portuguese ALMA Centre of Expertise