European Radio Astronomy Consortium

Newsletter Issue 1/2022

Images at the Highest Angular Resolution in Astronomy

Images at the Highest Angular Resolution in Astronomy

An international team of researchers including several scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR) has obtained an image of radio emission in the active galaxy OJ 287 at an angular resolution of 12 micro arcseconds. This is at present the highest resolution achieved in astronomical observations. This has been made possible with the technique of Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI), which combines signals recorded at multiple radio telescopes simultaneously observing the same object and uses this combination to create a virtual telescope whose effective diameter is set by the largest distance between the participating telescopes. Read the full MPIfR press release here.

Image: © Eduardo Ros/MPIfR (collage), Gómez et al., The Astrophysical Journal, 2022 (images)

Two ERC Starting Grants awarded to (space) weather research projects with the LOFAR radio telescope

Two ERC Starting Grants awarded to (space) weather research projects with the LOFAR radio telescope

The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded two of its prestigious Starting Grants to ASTRON scientists for research projects using the LOFAR radio telescope. One project will use LOFAR to create detailed images of lightning on Earth, the other aims to detect space weather events and magnetic fields around exoplanets. Read more on the ASTRON website.

Image: © NASA

ALMA catches “intruder” redhanded in rarely detected stellar flyby event

ALMA catches “intruder” redhanded in rarely detected stellar flyby event

Scientists using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) made a rare detection of a likely stellar flyby event in the Z Canis Majoris (Z CMa) star system. An intruder—not bound to the system—object came in close proximity to and interacted with the environment surrounding the binary protostar, causing the formation of chaotic, stretched-out streams of dust and gas in the disk surrounding it.

Read the full ALMA announcement from January 13, 2022 here.

Image: © Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), S. Dagnello (NRAO/AUI/NSF), NAOJ

At least 70 new rogue planets just discovered in our galaxy

At least 70 new rogue planets just discovered in our galaxy

A team of astronomers, using data from several European Southern Observatory (ESO) telescopes and other facilities, have just discovered at least 70 new rogue planets in our galaxy. This is the largest group of rogue planets ever discovered, an important step towards understanding the origins and features of these mysterious galactic nomads. The team used observations from ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA), the VLT Survey Telescope (VST) and the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope located in Chile, along with other facilities. The team also used data from the European Space Agency’s Gaia satellite, marking a huge success for the collaboration of ground- and space-based telescopes in the exploration and understanding of our Universe.

This research was presented in the paper “A rich population of free-floating planets in the Upper Scorpius young stellar association” to appear in Nature Astronomy (DOI: 10.1038/s41550-021-01513-x).

Read the full Science Release ESO telescopes help uncover largest group of rogue planets yet on the ESO website.

Image: © ESO/M. Kornmesser

Chalmers: Stars' secret embraces revealed by Alma

Chalmers: Stars' secret embraces revealed by ALMA

Using the gigantic telescope ALMA in Chile, a Chalmers-led team of scientists studied 15 unusual stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way, the closest 5000 light years from Earth. Their measurements show that all the stars are double, and all have recently experienced a rare phase that is poorly understood, but is believed to lead to many other astronomical phenomena. Their results were published on December 16, 2021 in the scientific journal Nature Astronomy.

Read here the full article Stars' secret embraces revealed by Alma on the Chalmers website.

Image: © Danielle Futselaar, artsource.nl​

Photo of the receiver cabin of the 40 m radio telescope showing the new CX band receiver and part of the Yebes Observatory staff who have contributed to its design, development, installation and commissioning.

A new state-of-the-art receiver for the 40-meter radio telescope of the Yebes Observatory

The Yebes Observatory has recently completed the design, implementation and installation of a new broadband receiver for its 40-m diameter radio telescope. The receiver is sensitive in the 4.5 to 9 GHz frequency range, and replaces two older, frequency-limited receivers in C-band (5 and 6 GHz) and X-band (8 GHz).  This new receiver becomes one of the most sensitive receivers currently in use in the EVN in this frequency range. It was successfully tested in an interferometry observation, last December 16, thanks to the participation of the Effelsberg, Medicina, Westerbork, Noto and Onsala radio telescopes, all members of the EVN, under the coordination of JIVE.

Image: © Yebes Observatory

NASA's Webb Telescope Launches to See First Galaxies, Distant Worlds

NASA's Webb Telescope Launches to See First Galaxies, Distant Worlds

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope launched on December 25, 2021 at 7:20 a.m. EST on an Ariane 5 rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, South America.

A joint effort with ESA and the Canadian Space Agency, the Webb observatory is NASA’s revolutionary flagship mission to seek the light from the first galaxies in the early universe and to explore our own solar system, as well as planets orbiting other stars, called exoplanets.

Read here the NASA press release with the title NASA's Webb Telescope Launches to See First Galaxies, Distant Worlds.

Image: © NASA/Bill Ingalls

EVN series of online seminars: The sharpest view of the radio Universe

EVN series of online seminars: The sharpest view of the radio Universe

The European VLBI Network (EVN) has announced the second edition of the series of online seminars The sharpest view of the radio Universe: VLBI – Connecting Astronomers Worldwide. Five seminars will cover different science topics illustrating how Very Long Baseline Interferometry can improve our understanding of many astronomical phenomena and how this technique is useful for the whole astronomical community. In the upcoming seminar on Friday 28 January 2022 - 16:00 CET, Cornelia C. Lang from the University of Iowa will give the talk High resolution observations of magnetic fields in the Central Molecular Zone of the Galactic Center.

The seminars can be followed live via Zoom as well as through the JIVE/EVN YouTube Channel.

Find all details here.

Image: © 2018 The European VLBI Network

Dark and Quiet Skies II for Science and Society Working Group Reports Published

Dark and Quiet Skies II for Science and Society Working Group Reports Published

In October 2021 more than 700 particiants from 76 countries took part in the United Nations/Spain/International Astronomical Union Conference on Dark and Quiet Skies for Science and Society online. The results of this meeting are contained in the reports, which are now available online. These reports discuss the feasibility of implementing adequate measures to mitigate the impact of artificial interferences.

Image: © IAU, UNOOSA, Spain & NOIRLab

Open vacancies at B3D

Open vacancies at B3D

Big Bang to Big Data is an interdisciplinary cluster in North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany) for research, technology and education in the field of data-intensive radio astronomy. It combines radio astronomy and astrophysics with data science and data technology.

B3D is funded by the North Rhine-Westphalian Ministry of Culture and Science from November 2021. B3D is looking for the new team for scientific staff in basic research, development, administration and science communication. The advertised positions are temporary and are to be filled as soon as possible.

See all open vacancies and details here.

SKAO Signs Hosting Agreements With Australia And South Africa

SKAO news

Switzerland has joined the SKA Observatory, becoming the first country to join the intergovernmental organisation’s seven founding Members by acceding to the SKAO Convention.

Over two dozen construction contracts have now been committed by the SKAO, worth approximately €90 million in total.

The United Nations General Assembly has promulgated 2022 as the International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development – an initiative backed by the SKAO

The 9th issue of Contact - the SKA magazine - is out, covering recent pathfinder results, the outcomes of the second SKA science data challenge, an introduction to galaxy evolution, radio astronomy philately, and more. Interested readers can browse and subscribe here

New EVN Support+ programme

New EVN Support+ programme

JIVE/EVN has initiated a pilot programme to provide extended support to teams new to the EVN, with little or no direct VLBI experience. This includes the scheduling of the VLBI run and the VLBI-specific parts of the data reduction. Read more here.

Image: © Paul Boven / JIVE.

Prof. Dr. Jessica Dempsey appointed as director of ASTRON

Prof. Dr. Jessica Dempsey appointed as director of ASTRON

The board of the Dutch Research Council’s institute organisation has appointed Prof. Dr. Jessica Dempsey as director of ASTRON, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy. Read here the full announcement on the ASTRON website.

Image: © Jessica Dempsey



Subscription to REA newsletters

You can subscribe to the newsletters of te European Research Executive Agency here.

ERC awards €619m in its first research grants under Horizon Europe

Following the first call for proposals under the EU’s new R&I programme, Horizon Europe, €619 million will be invested in excellent projects dreamed up by scientists and scholars. The selected proposals cover all disciplines of research, from the medical applications of artificial intelligence, to the science of controlling matter by using light, to designing a legal regime for fair influencer marketing. Female researchers won some 43% of grants, an increase from 37% in 2020 and the highest share to date.

See the ERC news item on the topic here and the lists of selected researchers in Physical Sciences and Engineering here.

Horizon impact award call

The Commission will award on an annual basis a recognition prize to reward beneficiaries that have successfully used their research results to create value for society. The beneficiaries must be able to show proof of effective exploitation and uptake of their research results. This action aims to illustrate the wider socio-economic benefits of the EU investment in R&I and to encourage project beneficiaries to best manage and use their research results. Six winners will be selected by the evaluation jury for their achievements. The prizes are monetary and each of the six winners will receive EUR 25.000.

Deadline: March 8, 2022

DESCA for Horizon Europe available!

DESCA has now been updated for use in Horizon Europe projects. You find an overview of all modifications and amendments here.

COPOUS Scientific and Technical Subcommittee meeting

Will take place February 8-17, 2022 and again raise the issue of satellite constellations. See here a related COPUOS paper.



European VLBI Network: Call for Proposals open

European VLBI Network: Call for Proposals open

The call for proposals for the European VLBI Network is open. EVN access and travel support is possible through the OPTICON RadioNet Pilot project (ORP). For eligible projects, this transnational access support would include travel reimbursement for visiting JIVE to analyse and process your EVN, EVN+e-MERLIN, or global VLBI data. All regular proposals should be submitted through the Northstar submission tool.

Deadline: February 1, 2022, 16:00 UTC

The 100-m radio telescope of the MPIfR: Call for Proposals open

The 100-m radio telescope of the MPIfR: Call for Proposals open

Access to the 100-m radio telescope of the MPIfR, one of the World’s largest fully steerable instrument is open to all qualified astronomers. Use of the instrument by scientists from outside the MPIfR is strongly encouraged. The institute can provide support and advice on project preparation, observation, and data analysis. Access/funding is offered through the ORP project. See the full call information here.

Deadline: February 10, 2022 (15:00 UT)

Open Max Planck Society Call for APEX Proposals

Max Planck Society Call for APEX Proposals

In this call, proposals for APEX observing requests for the period from 16 March to 17 August 2022 are solicited. Detailed information can be found in the Call for Proposals.

Proposals should be submitted as a single PDF file using the latex templates provided here.

Deadline: 18 February 2022 (18:00 CET).

Image: © ESO/B. Tafreshi


ALMA Cycle 9 Pre-Announcement

ALMA Cycle 9 Pre-Announcement

The Joint ALMA Observatory will start Cycle 9 observations in October 2022 for 12 months. A total of 4300 hours is anticipated for approved proposal observations for each 12-m Array and for the Atacama Compact Array (ACA), also known as the Morita Array. Projects with observations in the highest-frequency Bands 8, 9, and 10 are strongly encouraged. A Call for Proposals with detailed information on Cycle 9 will be issued in March 24, 2022.

Deadline: April 21, 2022

European ALMA Regional Centre

The European ALMA Regional Centre (ARC) provides the interface between the ALMA project and the European science community. The ARC is staffed by scientists with expertise in radio astronomy and interferometry and it supports its users throughout the lifetime of a project, from proposal preparation to data analysis. Users that want to visit an ARC node for a face-to-face visit can apply for funding through the ORP project. 

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. The access/funding offered through the ORP project.



• ESO - Operations Staff Astronomer / Instrument Scientist – position - deadline 13.03.2022

• JIV-ERIC - JIVE Support Scientist – position – deadline 01.02.2022

• Hong Kong University of Science and Technology - Faculty Positions in Particle Physics and Cosmology -position

• SKAO - SKA-Low Head of Science Operations (Australia-based) – position – deadline 30.01.2022

• SKAO - SKA-Low Head of Engineering Operations (Australia-based) – position – deadline 30.01.2022

• SKAO - SKA-Low Head of Computing & Software (Australia-based) – position – deadline 30.01.2022

• SKAO -SKA-Low Senior Network Engineer (Australia-based) – position – deadline 13.02.2022

• SKAO -SKA-Mid RFI & EMC Engineer (South Africa-based) – position – deadline 18.02.2022

• VIRAC - ERA Chair Holder for VIRAC – position – deadline 15.03.2022

• University of British Columbia – Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy - position

• University Oslo - Postdoctoral Research Fellow in extragalactic astrophysics – position

• University of the Western Cape - Postdoctoral Fellowships in observational and theoretical cosmology related to SKA – position

Check also EURAXESS



• SKA Regional Centre Training Event Series, Hands-on Containerization - 27/1/2022- 14/2/2022 – virtual

• COPUOS - Scientific and Technical Subcommittee, 59th session – February 7-18, 2022 - Vienna

• VLBI in the SKA Era – February 14-18, 2022 - virtual

• RFI 2022 workshop - February 14-18, 2022 - virtual

• Annual Conference and General Assembly of the African Astronomical Society – March 14-18, 2022 - hybrid / Cape Town

• 12th IVS General Meeting - March 27–April 1, 2022 - virtual

• IAU Symposium 365: Dynamics of Solar and Stellar Convection Zones and Atmospheres - May 23-27, 2022 - Moscow/RU

• Living planet symposium – May 23-27, 2022, Bonn/DE

• EAS Annual Meeting 2022 - June 27 - July 1, 2022 - Valencia/ES

• The National Astronomy Meeting (NAM) 2022 - July 11-15, 2022 - tbd

• 2022 EVN Symposium - July 11-15, 2022 - Cork/IE

• ESOF2022 - July 13-16, 2022 - Leiden/NL

• COSPAR 2022 – July 16-24, 2022 – Athens/Greece

• XXXI IAU General Assembly - August 2-11, 2022 - Busan/KR & virtual (hybrid)

• ADASS XXXII - September 11-15, 2022 - Victoria/CA (event page will follow)

• European Radio Interferometry School (ERIS 2022) - September 19-23, 2022, Dwingeloo/NL (preliminary dates/TBC, event page soon)

• ERIS2022 - September 19-23, 2022 - Dwingeloo/NL

• ICRI2022 - October 19-21, 2022 - Brno, Czech Republic

 See also the Calendar




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