European Radio Astronomy Consortium

Newsletter Issue 6/2021

ALMA press release: ALMA Discovers Earliest Gigantic Black Hole Storm

ALMA Discovers Earliest Gigantic Black Hole Storm

Researchers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) discovered a titanic galactic wind driven by a supermassive black hole 13.1 billion years ago. This is the earliest-yet-observed example of such wind to date and is a telltale sign that huge black holes have a profound effect on the growth of galaxies from the very early history of the Universe. 

Read here the full press release on the ALMA website.


Observation challenges established theory of gamma-ray bursts in the universe

Challenge to established theory of gamma-ray bursts in the universe

A specialised observatory in Namibia has recorded the most energetic radiation and longest gamma-ray afterglow of a so-called gamma-ray burst (GRB) to date. The observations with the High Energy Stereoscopic System (H.E.S.S.) challenge the established idea of how gamma-rays are produced in these colossal stellar explosions which are the birth cries of black holes, as the international team reports in the journal Science.

Read the full article in the science Daily.

Image: ©DESY, Science Communication Lab

Cordis article: Radio bursts help us home in on the mysterious origin of cosmic rays

Novel technique for observing cosmic rays 

Read on the CORDIS page the full article Radio bursts help us home in on the mysterious origin of cosmic rays: A novel technique for observing cosmic rays using radio telescopes can shed light on where in the universe these powerful particles come from – and what is producing them.

The source of cosmic rays – charged particles that move at close to the speed of light – is one of astronomy’s enduring mysteries. ERC grantee Stijn Buitink and his team at VUB in Belgium used a new technique, identifying cosmic particles by the radio pulse they emit as they collide with Earth’s atmosphere. The signals were detected with LOFAR, an array of 20 000 small radio antennae in the Netherlands.

Image: ©Marc Ward, Shutterstock

EVN virtual seminars of "The sharpest view of the Radio Universe" available online

EVN:  The sharpest view of the Radio Universe

The EVN series of virtual seminars on how very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) observations can significantly contribute to different astronomical fields continues. Iván Martí Vidal will give a talk on Tying the Sky to the Ground on July 9, 2021, 15:00 CEST. This talk will be about the use of interferometry techniques for high-precision Astrometry and Geodesy. Join via Zoom following this link at the time of the event (Meeting ID: 885 4531 2932)

All seminars of the EVN held in the series  are available in the “JIVE and the EVN” channel in youtube.

MPIfR Series RadioViews: Dr. Thalia Traianou on Localizing the γ-ray emitting region in the blazar TXS 2013+370

Fourth Episode of MPIfR Series RadioViews

RadioViews is a series of videos where fellow researchers present their results in compact form. In the fourth episode, Thalia Traianou talks on Localizing the γ-ray emitting region in the blazar TXS 2013+370. Watch the video here or on YouTube.

Dr. Thalia Traianou successfully finished her Ph.D. under the supervision of Dr. Thomas Krichbaum at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy as a member of the International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) for Astronomy and Astrophysics in 2020. 

Announcement: 10th IRAM 30-meter School on Millimeter Astronomy / Virtual

10th IRAM 30-m School on Millimeter Astronomy 

The 10th IRAM 30-meter School on Millimeter Astronomy will take place as virtual edition on November 15-19, 22 & 23, 2021. This school is organized by IRAM in the frame of the ORP project, which as received funding from the European Union’s H2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101004719.

The school is aimed at attracting new scientists to current and future single-dish millimeter and sub-millimeter facilities and is primarily meant for young researchers with little previous experience in millimeter astronomy. Further information will be available soon. Read here the full announcement.

Conference "Dark and Quiet Skies for Science and Society II", October 3-7, 2021

Conference "Dark and Quiet Skies for Science and Society II"

The Conference and workshop “Dark and Quiet Skies for Science and Society”, jointly organized by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), the Government of Spain and the International Astronomical Union (IAU), is now scheduled in Santa Cruz de La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain, from October 3 to 7, 2021.

The rationale for the Workshop and Conference relates to exponential deployments of technological developments, like urban illumination by LED, the large constellations of satellites in low Earth orbit and the high power radio transmission, which are creating unprecedented threats to the visibility of the pristine night sky and call for effective and prompt mitigating measures before the damage may become irreversible.

Find more information here.

BAASP 2021 on September 23-24 – virtual event

BAASP 2021

The 7th International Scientific Conference Baltic Applied Astroinformatics and Space data Processing” (BAASP) will be held on September 23-24, 2021 at Ventspils University of Applied Sciences as online event, organized by the Engineering Research Institute “Ventspils International Radio Astronomy Centre”.

The BAASP Conferences are intended as a collaboration platform for cross border partnership and knowledge transfer in the Baltic region as well as all Europe for astronomers, astrophysicists, space researchers and engineers as well as experts in related research disciplines in fields such as informatics, electronics, satellite technology, geodesy and environment sciences.

Registration free of contribution will close on September 21, 2021. Find more information here.

Announcement of the IAU: Approval of 4 Resolutions for voting at Bussines Sessions

IAU: Approval of 4 Resolutions for voting at Bussines Sessions

The IAU Resolutions Committee has approved the proposals of the four Resolutions that will be presented for voting at the virtual Business Sessions in August this year:

Resolution B1 in support of the protection of geodetic radio astronomy against radio frequency interference. B1 is related to the IAU’s ongoing efforts to preserve dark and quiet skies for the protection of the science of astronomy. Resolution B2 on the improvement of the Earth’s rotation theories and models, Resolution B3 on the Gaia Celestial Reference Frame, and Resolution B4 on the use of a standard photometric system in ultraviolet (UV) astronomy seek to establish and improve standards and reference frames, to facilitate cooperation in astronomy research.

Read the full announcement here.

CRAF on the coordination between space systems (space-to-Earth) and airborne applications

CRAF on space systems and airborne applications

CRAF´s conclusion on the question, if we can solve coordination between space systems (space-to-Earth) and airborne applications by specific agreements between Radio Astronomy stations and operators of these space/airborne systems says:

CEPT should not support pan-European coordination agreements between radio astronomy stations and operators of applications in active services. In Europe, coordination agreements between radio astronomy stations and operators of aeronautical and space systems are not practicable because of the associated complex, and sometimes even unsolvable, problems. In Europe, coordination should be retained within the current national, European Administrative structure(s).

Find the full explanation and conclusion of CRAF here.

ESO Signed Agreement for Australian–European MAVIS Instrument

ESO: Agreement for Australian–European MAVIS Instrument

ESO signed an agreement with an international consortium to build and operate MAVIS (Multi-conjugate-adaptive-optics-Assisted Visible Imager and Spectrograph), a unique instrument to be installed on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) that will provide images up to three times sharper than the Hubble Space Telescope. 

MAVIS will be installed on the VLT Unit Telescope 4 (Yepun) at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in northern Chile and is expected to start operating in 2027. Find full information here.

New video on the work of ESCAPE

New video on the work of ESCAPE

The Horizon 2020 project ESCAPE has produced a video explaining how ESCAPE is accelerating scientific discoveries by ensuring open access and long-term data usability for astronomy, particle & nuclear physics, while contributing to the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), a vision of the European Commission of a large infrastructure to support and develop open science and open innovation in Europe and beyond.

Find more information here.

report of ALMA Cycle 8 2021 Proposal Submission Statistics available

Report of ALMA Cycle 8 2021 Proposal Submission Statistics available

detailed report of the ALMA Cycle 8 2021 Proposal Submission Statistics is now available. The report provides a summary of items such as the number of submitted proposals and time requested, subscription rates, and comparisons with the number of hours requested in previous Cycles. 

Site Construction Directors Appointed By The SKA Observatory

Green light for construction of the world’s largest radio telescope arrays

At a meeting of the SKA Observatory (SKAO) Council last week, Member States gave the green light for construction of the SKA telescopes to start, with procurement of major contracts starting immediately. Over the next few months, some 70 contracts will be placed by the SKAO within its Member States. The first significant activity on site in Australia and South Africa is due to happen early next year, with construction of the two telescopes lasting until 2028, and early science opportunities in the next few years. The cost of constructing the two telescopes and the associated operations and business-enabling functions is about €2billion over the period 2021 – 2030.

Find here full information.

Site Construction Directors Appointed

Two respected science infrastructure experts have been appointed to lead construction activities at the telescope sites of the SKAO

• Tracy Cheetham will be the site construction director of the SKAO’s mid-frequency telescope in South Africa.

• Antony Schinckel will be the site construction director of the SKAO’s low-frequency telescope in Australia.


China and France New Members of SKAO 

China and France are now new members of the SKAO and join Australia, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa and the United Kingdom. 

Image: ©SKAO



Horizon Europe Work Programme 2021-22 adopted

The Horizon Europe Work Programme 2021-22 has been adopted. Find here the Work Programme on Research & Infrastructures. For seeing the Work Programmes of other areas, please go here and choose the filter option Horizon Europe. Horizon Europe is the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation with a budget of €95.5 billion. The programme facilitates collaboration and strengthens the impact of research and innovation in developing, supporting and implementing EU policies while tackling global challenges. It supports creating and better dispersing of excellent knowledge and technologies.

Europe’s global approach to cooperation in research and innovation: strategic, open, and reciprocal

The European Commission adopted a Communication on its Global Approach to Research and Innovation, Europe’s strategy for international cooperation in a changing world. With this, the EU aims to take a leading role in supporting international research and innovation partnerships, and to deliver innovative solutions to make our societies green, digital and healthy. Read full information here.

ERC Scientific Council adopted Gender Equality Plan

The ERC Scientific Council has recently adopted its Gender Equality Plan for 2021-2027. One of the innovations in the current plan is the appointment of "ERC ambassadors" who will speak specifically on gender-specific topics and aspects in the context of the ERC activities. Find here the new Gender equality plan and here an interesting interview with Prof. Barbara Romanovicz, member of the Scientific Council and Chair of its Gender Issues Working Group (published in The European Research Council Magazine, June 7, 2021).



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.




• SKAO - Postdoctoral Researcher In Radio Astronomy Simulations - position - deadline 31.8.2021 and other positions

• University of the Western Cape - Postdoctoral Fellowships in observational and theoretical cosmology related to the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) – position

• International Astronomical Union & National Astronomical Observatory of Japan - International Outreach Officer (IOO) – position

• Green Bank Observatory - Telescope Operations Division Head /Chief Antenna Engineer – position

Check also EURAXESS



• 3rd ESO Summer Research Programme - July 5 – August 13, 2021 – Garching/DE

• 15th EVN Symposium and User´s meeting on July 12-14, 2021, virtual

• The Royal Astronomical Society's National Astronomy Meeting - July 19-23, 2021 - virtual

• The Future of Airborne Infrared/Submm Astronomy: Prospects and Opportunities – July 26-28, 2021 - virtual

• YERAC - August 24-27, 2021 - virtual

• The URSI General Assembly and Scientific Symposium (GASS) - August 28 – September 4, 2021, Rome/virtual

• BAASP 2021- September 23-24, 2021 - virtual

• Dark and Quiet Skies for Science and Society - October 3-7, 2021 – virtual/f2f 

See also the Calendar





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