Issue 10/2018


NOEMA completed the first construction phase

The completion of NOEMA (NOrthern Extended Millimetre Array) phase 1, the first phase of the NOEMA project was officially celebrated on 19 September 2018. IRAM and its partner institutes have completed the first, decisive step towards one of the most important German-French-Spanish initiatives in astronomy: developing the most powerful and most sensitive telescope at millimetre wavelengths in the Northern hemisphere. Four years after the inauguration of the first NOEMA antenna consists of ten 15-m dishes.

The second project phase will last until 2021 and foresees, besides antennas 11 and 12, the extension of the track system, which will allow to place the antennas at a distance of 1.7 kilometres, increasing tenfold the sensitivity of measurements compared to what has been possible until now. The full press release here.

Image © IRAM, F. Gueth

HI/Story of the Nearby Universe

HI/Story of the Nearby Universe

A three-day (10-12 Sep 2018) conference on the “HI/Story of the Nearby Universe” was hosted by the University of Groningen and NWO-I/ASTRON. This conference brought together astronomers to review the state of our understanding of galaxy evolution, particularly with an emphasis on the role of neutral hydrogen and neutral hydrogen observations to probe the many physical processes which drive evolution: gas accretion and removal and the connection with star formation past and present. The conference honoured the career and many on-going contributions of Dr. Thijs van der Hulst.

Image © RUG/ NWO-I/ASTRON, K. M. Hess

MKSP 2018

MKSP 2018

The annual meeting of the LOFAR Magnetism Key Science Project in 2018 (MKSP) was held on 10-14 September 2018 in Cracow/PL. The participants (43) discussed the latest results of studying the galaxy magnetism with LOFAR, especially those connected to the newest survey project - Two Metre Sky Survey. The most important were the discussions on future plans, especially the collaboration with the IMAGINE project (Interstellar MAGnetic field INference Engine – a Bayesian platform made to explore the multi-dimensional likelihood space with the use of robust statistical methods) and the work with the LoTSS data (the LOfar Two-metre Sky Survey, an all-northern sky survey at the frequency of ~150 MHz). The Busy Days concentrated on the implementation and caveats of the newly designed software, as LOFAR is now upgrading.

Image © UJ Krakow, B. Nikiel-Wroczynski

CESRA 2018

CESRA 2018

The CESRA summer school 2018 took place on 10-14 Sep 2018 in Brussels, at the Royal Observatory of Belgium. This summer school made 17 trainees from Europe, Russia, Brazil and India aware of the existence and value of solar radio astronomy as a unique or complementary tool for the study of the Sun’s activity. The school provided basic knowledge in solar radio astronomy: physics, instrumentation and techniques. Emphasis was put on new or recently renovated facilities used in solar physics such LOFAR and ALMA. Lectures were given by experts from different European solar radio groups.

Image © STCE, C. Marqué

Interferometric Data Processing Workshop for eMerlin & ALMA

This workshop provided information to astronomers about two of the interferometers supported by the University of Manchester: e-MERLIN and ALMA. Knowledge of these two telescopes in particular, which both can achieve resolutions of tens of milliarcsecond and which combined cover wavelengths from the sub-mm to centimetre, gave the 14 participants a broad overview of scientific applications and interferometry techniques in this frequency range and also the potential to exploit these instruments alone or in combination with other submillimetre, millimetre, and radio facilities.

The workshop focused primarily on hands-on data processing activities using the CASA software, and additionally included a review of both telescopes current capabilities; the general principles and techniques of interferometry and image analysis.

Image © UMAN, A. Avison

5th LOFAR data processing school

5th LOFAR data processing school

The Fifth LOFAR Data Processing School took place on 17-21 September 2018 at NWO-I/ASTRON in Dwingeloo/NL. LOFAR is delivering unique scientific data in the relatively unexplored spectral window below 200 MHz. At the present time, 51 operational stations are part of the LOFAR array. In parallel, several data processing pipelines have been developed and are able to generate science ready data products. These go to the benefit of users who have obtained observing and processing time through the observing Cycles or want to make use of public LOFAR data.

The school introduce the LOFAR system to new members of the community who will analyse both interferometric and high time resolution beam formed LOFAR data. Hands-on sessions have played a crucial role during the school giving 47 trainees an opportunity to gain experience with real LOFAR data.




EC seeks for independent experts

The European Commission is seeking for external experts – for evaluation of proposals and monitoring of actions. Especially female scientists are encouraged. The 40% quota of female experts is still not achieved. Experts are expected to have high-level of expertise in the relevant fields and to be available for occasional, short-term assignments. For the registration follow the link.

NEW - Funding & Tenders Opportunities

The European Commission launched its new portal „Funding & Tenders Opportunities“ on 27 September 2018. It will replace the Participant Portal, which will be available parallel to it until the end of the year 2018. The new access portal combines all the information and management functions for both centrally coordinated EU funding programmes and EU procurement contracts / tenders. The new portal got a new design, with an improved keyword and context search, which works much better than the one of the old participant portal.

An interim assessment of Horizon 2020 published

In the short report "From Horizon 2020 to Horizon Europe", the European Commission presents the numbers of the first 4.5 years of the funding programme Horizon 2020 and compares it to the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). Furthermore, the EC provides an outlook for “Horizon Europe”, the follow-up project of Horizon 2020. The analysis covers applications and participation of institutions of the different participating countries. In total, since the start of Horizon 2020, more than 19000 projects have been funded, and the amount of about 33 billion Euro of funds has been distributed to more than 88000 project partners. Currently, 27355 organizations participate in Horizon 2020. With so far 530000 submitted applications for support, the average yearly demand is more than double as high as in the FP7. Participation has increased in all EU member states.



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e-MERLIN requests proposals from the international astronomical community for observations to be made during Cycle-8. Proposals are competitively peer-reviewed under standard STFC rules by the PATT e-MERLIN Time Allocation Committee. Allocation will be made on the basis of scientific merit and technical feasibility alone. During e-MERLIN operations >50% of observing time has been allocated to large legacy projects and the remaining formal time will be allocated via PATT to standard proposals solicited prior to each observing semester along with additional technical development programmes.

During Cycle-8: All proposals should be justified assuming the current available bandwidth of 512MHz. K-Band observations are also offered on a best-efforts basis.

Cycle-8 e-MERLIN Observations: Quarters 1 and 2 - 2019
Deadline for Receipt of Proposals - 23:59:59 UT on 15th November 2018

Observing frequencies available:
L-Band: 1.23GHz to 1.74GHz
C-Band: 4.5GHz to 7.5GHz
K-Band: 21GHz to 24GHz



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supported by RadioNet

• Planet-forming disks in the ALMA and SPHERE Era on 4 March 2019

• Multi-messenger astronomy with SKA precursors and pathfinders, a capacity building workshop on 3 April 2019

• Zooming in on star formation on 10 June 2019

Astrochemistry: From Micrometers to Megaparsecs on 24 June 2019

Links to these and to other related events are in our Calendar.



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