European Radio Astronomy Consortium

Newsletter Issue 1/2021


RadioNet came to an end on 31 December 2020, completing over 20 years of a remarkably successful series of EU-supported projects. During these years, RadioNet evolved into a widely recognized consortium offering competitive European infrastructures in the range from sub-mm to meter waves. RadioNet also fostered Europe-wide collaboration in innovative technical development and it helped to train numerous researchers in obtaining and interpreting their astronomical data. This has significantly increased and strengthened our community, and also firmly established the broad awareness about our infrastructures.

The presentations from RadioNet’s last Board meeting provide a comprehensive overview of our programme and achievements. It is evident that RadioNet has changed the European astronomical landscape as well as the astronomy community and the European Commission can be proud of all that our collaboration has achieved. Our sincere thanks and appreciation go to everyone involved!

We are looking forward to a continuation of our joint activities as we are now going forward, transforming RadioNet into a MoU based consortium, dedicated to maintaining our widely recognized brand and to exploring and pursuing new cooperative opportunities of common interest. Stay healthy and safe!

Anton Zensus (RadioNet Project Coordinator)


Life cycle of supermassive black hole revealed

Using both the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) and the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope (WSRT-Apertif), astronomers have measured the life cycle of a supermassive black hole. It is the first time that both radio telescopes of the Netherlands institute for radio astronomy (ASTRON) have been used to survey the same part of the universe at the same time. This proof of concept study, part of the LOFAR deep fields surveys, shows that a combined LOFAR/WSRT-Apertif survey can reveal in which phase of a cycle a supermassive black hole currently is. Read on.

Text © Mischa Brendel/ASTRON

Image © Raffaella Morganti/ASTRON


The 6th LOFAR Data Processing School

The school will introduce the LOFAR system to new members of the LOFAR community who will analyse both interferometric and high time resolution beamformed LOFAR data, as well as aspects of the LOFAR system from the capabilities of the basic station hardware to the software pipelines and their science products. Online material will also be provided for offline hands-on data processing sessions. Interaction and networking between participants and lecturers will be promoted. The school is appropriate for new users of LOFAR. Students, postdocs, and staff are invited to attend - registration deadline is February 19, 2021. Find more.


EAS goes virtual

European Astronomical Society (EAS) Annual Meeting (formerly known as EWASS, and earlier JENAM) has more than 25 years of tradition and it has imposed itself as the largest conference for European astronomy. This year´s meeting is scheduled for June 28 – July 2, 2021 as a virtual meeting. Registration and abstract submission are open! Stay tuned for more information.  

Next URSI General Assembly on August 28 - September 4, 2021 in Rome or online: call for abstracts is open

URSI GASS 2021 - call for abstracts

The next URSI General Assembly (URSI GASS 2021) will be organized on August 28 – September 4, 2021 as hybrid event – you can participate in Rome or online. The J04 session on Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) will be organized. Please note that the call for abstracts is open only until January 31, 2021. Author information here. More information, including templates here.

New website for ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope launched

News on ESO's Extremely Large Telescope

ESO's Extremely Large Telescope will be the world’s biggest eye on the sky. It will have a main mirror 39 m in diameter, made of 798 segments.

Since 2005 ESO has been working with its community and industry to develop an extremely large optical/infrared telescope. With ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) a revolutionary ground-based telescope was created that will be the largest visible and infrared light telescope in the world. Technical first light is planned in 2025. For all details visit the new ELT website.

Report on the Workshop on Dark and Quiet Skies for Science and Society available

Report on the Workshop on Dark and Quiet Skies for Science and Society available

The report from the online Workshop on Dark and Quiet Skies for Science and Society (5-9.10.2020) is now available online. It describes the impact of human activities on the visibility of the starry sky and the progress of the science of astronomy and it makes recommendations for actions that local governments can take to preserve dark and quiet skies. Next workshops on this issue will be the SATCON2 workshop in Spring 2021 and an in-person follow-up of the Conference “Dark and Quiet Skies for Science and Society” is scheduled for next autumn. Read the report here.


SKA Update:

• The Convention establishing the SKA Observatory (SKAO) entered into force on January 15, 2021, with the official launch of the new intergovernmental organisation scheduled for February 3-4, 2021 at the first SKAO Council meeting. This follows the ratifications of Portugal and the UK in December 2020.

• Registration is open for the 2021 SKA science conference due to take place online from March 15-19, 2021.

• The latest issue of the SKA magazine, Contact, is out.

• SKA is looking to fill two Telescope Director positions to establish & lead operations in Australia & South Africa.



EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement

After intensive negotiations, the European Commission has reached on December 24, 2020 an agreement with the United Kingdom on the terms of its future cooperation with the European Union. This agreement came into force on January 1, 2021. The draft Trade and Cooperation Agreement consists of three main pillars:

• A Free Trade Agreement: a new economic and social partnership with the United Kingdom

Among other things, this enables the UK's continued participation in a number of flagship EU programmes for the period 2021-2027 (subject to a financial contribution by the UK to the EU budget), such as Horizon Europe.

• A new partnership for our citizens' security

• A horizontal agreement on Governance: A framework that stands the test of time

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement covers a number of areas that are in the EU's interest. It goes well beyond traditional free trade agreements and provides a solid basis for preserving our longstanding friendship and cooperation. Find full information here.


European Union and African Union join forces to empower a new generation of African research talents

The European Union has launched the “African Research Initiative for Scientific Excellence” (ARISE) Pilot Programme with a contribution of €25 million. ARISE is inspired by the successful approach of the European Research Council (ERC) an it is in line with the long-standing EU cooperation with the African Union under the High-Level Policy Dialogue on Science, Technology and Innovation.

This programme will enable early career African scientists in delivering cutting-edge research across Africa. The programme will be implemented by the African Academy of Sciences with the strategic direction of the European Union and the African Union.

A total of 40 young and emerging African research talents, early career scientists and their ideas for science and research will find attention and be offered grants for further development. Find the full press release here.



European VLBI Network Call for Proposal  with a deadline on February 1,  2021 16:00:00 UTC is open. A PDF of the Call for Proposals can be found here.


Image© P. Boven (boven@jive.eu). Satellite image: Blue Marble Next Generation, courtesy if Nasa Visible Earth (visibleear5th.nasa.gov)

GMVA Call for VLBI proposals for observing at 3mm wavelength (86 GHz) using the VLBA, GBT, EFFELSBERG, PICO VELETA, NOEMA, ONSALA, METSAEHOVI, YEBES and KVN telescopes is open. Submission deadline is February 1, 2021. Full information here.

The Green Bank Observatory (GBO) invites scientists to participate in the 2021B Semester Call for Proposals for the Green Bank Telescope (GBT). The submission deadline for Semester 2021B proposals is February 1, 2021.The entire proposal call can be found here.

Image© Green Bank Observatory

The 100-m radio telescope of the Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie Call for Proposals - Deadline February 3, 2021 (15:00 UT). Details here.

 Image© Norbert Tacken

Max Planck Society Call for APEX Proposals - This years’ first MPIfR 2021 call for APEX Proposals is open. Deadline for submission February 19, 2021. Full call here.

Image© ESO

The Westerbork Apertif Long Term Archive (ALTA) is a brand new facility offering to the world-wide astronomical community free virtual access to data and scientific products produced from all sky surveys of the Northern sky that will be conducted with the new Apertif frontend of the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope (WSRT), as well as tools to query, further exploit and perform data mining of these products adaptable to diverse research goals.



• ESO - IT Specialist, Operations Staff Astronomer, HR Policy and Employee Relations Coordinator positions

• IRAM - Postdoc Research Position

• JIV-ERIC - Support Scientist (postdoc), near-field VLBI Support Scientist (postdoc) and Science Communications Officer positions

• MPIfR - two postdoctoral / research staff positions

• Uni. Manchester - Data Centre Infrastructure Management (DCIM) Network Engineer position

• SKA – Telescope Directors in Australia & South Africa


Check also EURAXESS



• 43rd COSPAR Scientific Assembly - January 28 - February 4, 2021 – virtual

• 2021 SMA interferometry school - March 14-19, 2021 – virtual

• A Precursor View of the SKA Sky - March 15-19, 2021 – virtual

• 6th LOFAR DATA Processing school - March 22-26, 2021 – virtual

• GBT@20 – The Celebration - April 21, 2021 - virtual

• 6th Workshop on CSS and GPS Sources - May 12-15, 2021 – virtual

• ICRI 2021 - June 1-3, 2021 - virtual

• EAS2021 - June 28 – July 2, 2021 – virtual

• 3rd ESO Summer Research Programme - July 5 – August 31, 2021 – Garching/DE

• 15th EVN Symposium and User´s meeting on July 12-16, 2021, virtual/Cork/IR

See also the Calender




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