European Radio Astronomy Consortium

Newsletter Issue 2/2022

Press release JIV-ERIC: Cosmic flashes pinpointed to a surprising location in space

Press release JIV-ERIC: Cosmic flashes pinpointed to a surprising location in space

Astronomers have been surprised by the closest source of mysterious flashes in the sky called fast radio bursts. Precision measurements with radio telescopes reveal that the bursts are made among old stars, and in a way that no one was expecting.

The source of the flashes, in nearby spiral galaxy M 81, is the closest of its kind to Earth. The research including the participation of JIVE researchers has been published on February 23, 2022 in two papers. In Nature A repeating fast radio burst source in a globular cluster (by Franz Kirsten et al) and Nature Astronomy Burst timescales and luminosities link young pulsars and fast radio bursts (by Kenzie Nimmo et al).

Read the JIVE press release here.

Image: © Daniëlle Futselaar/ASTRON, artsource.nl.


ESO: Supermassive black hole caught hiding in a ring of cosmic dust

ESO: Supermassive black hole caught hiding in a ring of cosmic dust

The European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope Interferometer (ESO’s VLTI) has observed a cloud of cosmic dust at the centre of the galaxy Messier 77 that is hiding a supermassive black hole. The findings have confirmed predictions made around 30 years ago and are giving astronomers new insight into “active galactic nuclei”, some of the brightest and most enigmatic objects in the universe.

Read the full ESO science release from February 16, 2022 here.

Image: © ESO/Jaffe, Gámez-Rosas et al.

Less powerful black hole blows environment clean after all

Less powerful black hole blows environment clean after all

Until now, astronomers have always assumed that only black holes with strong radiation stop star formation from within the galaxy. An international team of astronomers led by a JIVE postdoc has discovered that even a weak jet stream from a low-active black hole can be a kind of leaf blower to clean parts of a galaxy. The observed black hole removes about 75% of the cold gas in the central regions of the galaxy in a few million years. This probably stops the formation of stars. Publication in Nature Astronomy on February 10, 2022, title “Cold gas removal from the centre of a galaxy by a low-luminosity jet”. Read here the full article on the JIV-ERIC website.

Image: © Mukherjee et al.

ESO VLT: New planet detected around star closest to the Sun

ESO VLT: New planet detected around star closest to the Sun

A team of astronomers using the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in Chile have found evidence of another planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our Solar System. This candidate planet is the third detected in the system and the lightest yet discovered orbiting this star. At just a quarter of Earth’s mass, the planet is also one of the lightest exoplanets ever found.

This research was presented in the paper “A candidate short-period sub-Earth orbiting Proxima Centauri” (DOI) to appear in Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Read here the press release on the ESO website.

Image: © ESO/L. Calçada

IRAM: NOEMA Steps Up to Full Sensitivity

IRAM: NOEMA Steps Up to Full Sensitivity

The Northern Extended Millimeter Array (NOEMA), one of Europe’s biggest facilities for astronomical research, operated by the IRAM reached its full sensitivity with the commissioning of its 12th Antenna.

Eight years after the inauguration of the first NOEMA antenna, the twelfth NOEMA antenna has joined the array. With this step NOEMA will be ready to make unpreceded observations of the celestial millimeter wave radio spectrum which instructs researchers in France, Germany, Spain and from many other countries around the world on the physical and chemical processes which rule the evolution of the cosmos from its very early phase until today.

Read the whole IRAM press release here.

Image: © J.Boissier IRAM

SKAO & NSF’s NOIRLab co-host international centre protecting astronomy from satellite interference

SKAO & NSF’s NOIRLab co-host international centre protecting astronomy from satellite interference

The SKA Observatory (SKAO) has been selected, along with NSF’s NOIRLab, to co-host a new centre that aims to mitigate the impact of satellites on astronomical observations.

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) signed a memorandum of understanding with the two co-hosts on February 2, 2022 enacting the creation of a Centre for the Protection of the Dark and Quiet Sky from Satellite Interference. The Centre will coordinate international efforts and work across jurisdictions to help mitigate the negative impact of satellite constellations on ground-based optical and radio astronomy observations as well as humanity’s enjoyment of the night sky. The SKAO will focus on radio interference while NOIRLab will be focusing on optical and infrared interference.

Read the press releases from the SKAO here, from NSF’s NOIRLab here and from the IAU here.

Image: © M. Lewinsky/Creative Commons Attribution 2.0


IAU News

Open call for TGF Fellowship Programme

The Gruber Foundation (TGF) has created the GF Fellowship Programme with the aim of promoting the science of cosmology and other branches of astronomy.

TGF provides an amount of $75,000 (US) for Fellowships every year. The next Fellowship starts no later than October 2022. The awarded Fellowship amount is intended as a research grant covering travel, subsistence and research expenses supplementing a postdoctoral appointment at a host institution.

Find more on the Fellowship here and information on the application procedure here.

Application deadline: March 31, 2022.

IAU released free Material for public engagement trainers

The IAU released a unique set of open-source materials designed to be used in public engagement training workshops. Find material and relevant information here

Jean-Gabriel Cuby named CFHT Executive Director

Jean-Gabriel Cuby named CFHT Executive Director

The Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) Board of Directors just announced the appointment of Dr. Jean-Gabriel Cuby to the position of CFHT Executive Director effective July 2022. Cuby is currently an astronomer at the Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille, where he served as director from 2012 to 2017 and he is the coordinator of the EC H2020 project ORP. Read the CFHT press release here.

Image: © ORP

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

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

In the second edition of the European VLBI Network´s 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 March 14, 2022 – 16:00 CET, Juan B. Climent (University of Valencia) will give the talk Exploring the lowest mass objects at the highest angular resolution: low-mass stars, ultracool dwarfs and exoplanets.

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

Image: © JIV-Eric

SKAO Signs Hosting Agreements With Australia And South Africa

SKAO news

The SKA Observatory and NSF’s NOIRLab have been selected by the International Astronomical Union to co-host a new centre that aims to mitigate the impact of satellites on astronomical observations. More here.

The United Nations Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) will continue deliberating the protection of dark and quiet skies from satellite interference, following the submission of a working paper by an international collaboration involving the SKAO, the European Southern Observatory and the International Astronomical Union. More here.

India is a step closer to full membership of the SKAO, following the signature of a cooperation arrangement with the country’s National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA), acting on behalf of India’s Department of Atomic Energy (DAE). More here.



EC: Process towards an agreement on reforming research assessment

The Commission has called for organisations to express their interest in being part of a coalition on reforming research assessment. The coalition will bring together research funding organisations, research performing organisations, national/regional assessment authorities or agencies, associations of research funders, of research performers, of researchers, as well as, learned societies and other relevant organisations, all willing and committed to implement reforms to the current research assessment system. This follows a year of extensive consultations with stakeholders, as described in this report. The coalition will remain open to new members at all time, beyond the initial 10 January 2022 deadline to express interest. Access the Call for interest - Towards an agreement on reforming research assessment.

Read more here.

EC adopted the 2022 work programme of the European Innovation Council

The Commission adopted on February 9, 2022 the EIC Work Programme 2022. This programme opens funding opportunities worth over €1.7 billion in 2022 for breakthrough innovators to scale up and create new markets, for example in quantum computing, new generation batteries and gene therapy. Launched in March 2021 as a major novelty of the Horizon Europe programme, the European Innovation Council has a total budget of over €10 billion between 2021 and 2027. The 2022 work programme of the EIC has several new elements, simplifying the application process and contributing to EU policies.

Read the EC press release here.

International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Watch here the message of Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, on the occasion of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science on February 11, 2022.

ERC Calls

See the call for Advanced Grants 2022 here. And find more here abut the ERC 2023 call calendar - the dates of the calls are still tentative and subject to change.

EU publication: Spreading excellence and widening participation impact report

See the report of the Publications Office of the European Union on H2020 results and outlook to Horizon Europe here.

EIT Programming Document 2022-2024 published

The  European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Programming Dokument 2022-2024 was published on January 10, 2022.



International LOFAR Telescope: Open Call to the Worldwide Community

International LOFAR Telescope: Open Call to the Worldwide Community

The International LOFAR Telescope has open the call for proposals for the Worldwide Community: Cycle 18: June 01, 2022 – November 30, 2022. Access/funding is offered through the ORP (Opticon RadioNet Pilot) project.

Submission only via the online tool NorthStar.

Deadline: March 9, 2022, 12 UT

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 (Opticon RadioNet Pilot) project.

See the full call information here.

Deadline: June 1, 2022 (15:00 UT)

APEX: Open Call for Proposals

APEX: Open Call for Proposals

Proposals are invited for observations with the APEX telescope. Observations on Swedish time on APEX are supported by the ORP Transnational Access programme. Find more information about the call for proposals here.

Deadline: October 22, 2022 (23:59:59 UTC)

Image: © N. Aros Marzá/ESO

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

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

• Chalmers University of Technology - Full Professor/Professor in Quantum Electronics for Radio Astronomy – position, Senior Research Engineer – Digital Signal Processing – position, Senior Researcher / Researcher in Data Intensive Radio Astronomy – position, Senior Research Engineer - Digital Infrastructure Development – Swedish SKA Regional Centre node – position – deadline 21.03.2022

• SKAO - Radio Spectrum Scientist - position - deadline 23.03.2022; Radio Spectrum Engineer - position - deadline 23.03.2022; Head of Software Product Management - position - deadline 04.04.2022

• ESA - ESA Archival Research Visitor Programme scientist – position – deadline 30.04.2022

• FORTH – Soon 2 postdoctoral and 2 PhD student positions funded by the ERC – position & info – 01.05.2022

• 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

• TUM -  Project Scientists in new center for Machine Learning in Earth Observation (ML4Earth): Benchmarking, HPDA/HPC support, Education – position

Check also EURAXESS



• 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

• 18th Synthesis Imaging Workshop -  May 18-25, 2022 - virtual

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

• 240th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society, June 12-16, 2022,  at the Pasadena/US

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

• The National Astronomy Meeting (NAM) 2022 - July 11-15, 2022 - Warwick/UK

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

• 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)

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

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

 See also the Calendar




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