European Radio Astronomy Consortium

Newsletter Issue 3/2022

Astronomers reveal best image yet of mysterious ORCs in space

Astronomers reveal best image yet of mysterious ORCs in space

Astronomy’s newest mystery objects, odd radio circles/ORCs, have been pulled into sharp focus by an international team of astronomers using the world’s most capable radio telescopes.

First revealed by the ASKAP radio telescope, odd radio circles quickly became objects of fascination and theories on what caused them ranged from galactic shockwaves to the throats of wormholes. A new detailed image, captured by the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory’s MeerKAT radio telescope and published today in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (DOI 10.1093/mnras/stac701), is providing researchers with more information to help narrow down those theories.

Read here the press release of the Department of Science & Innovation (Rep. of South Africa).

Image: MeerKAT radio telescope data (green) showing the odd radio circles is overlaid on optical and near infra-red data from the Dark Energy Survey. © Jayanne English (University of Manitoba) with support from the Evolutionary Map of the Universe team; data from the ASKAP radio telescope, MeerKAT and the Dark Energy Survey at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory.

The start of the birth of planets in a binary star system observed

The start of the birth of planets in a binary star system observed

Astronomers have observed primordial material that may be giving birth to three planetary systems around a binary star in unprecedented detail.

Bringing together three decades of study, an international group of scientists have observed a pair of stars orbiting each other, to reveal that these stars are surrounded by disks of gas and dust. Research published on March 10, 2022 in The Astrophysical Journal, shows the material within the newly discovered disks could be the beginnings of new planet systems which in the future orbit the binary stars. Using the Very Large Array (VLA) and the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA), the scientific group led by Ana Karla Díaz-Rodríguez, a researcher at the IAA-CSIC and the UK ALMA Regional Centre (UK-ARC) at The University of Manchester, has studied the binary star SVS 13, still in its embryonic phase. This work has provided the best description available so far on a binary system in formation. Read the University of Manchester´s press release here.

Image: © Ana Karla Diaz-Rodriguez and Guillem Anglada

EHT 2022 observing campaign: Start in March 2022 of world-wide radio telescope network with 11 participating telescopes

EHT 2022 observing campaign: Start in March 2022

After the first observing campaigns in 2017, 2018, and 2021, the EHT started its fourth campaign in March 2022, observing the center of the Milky Way as well as the galaxies Cen A, M87, PKS 1510-089, Perseus A, Mrk 501, OJ 287, and 3C 454.3.

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) is an international collaboration with the goal of directly imaging the immediate environment of a black hole and thus testing Einstein's theory of general relativity in an extreme environment using the capability of Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) at short wavelengths. The EHT consortium consists of thirteen stakeholder institutions and about fifty affiliated institutions with about three-hundred individual members in Europe, Asia, Africa and America.  The EHT project is funded by several agencies and institutions, among those the European Commission (projects BlackHoleCam, M2FINDERS, JETSET, and RadioNet). The EHT collaboration has presented an image of the supermassive back hole in galaxy M87 on April 10, 2019.

Read more here.

Tutorial Elements of Geodetic and Astrometric Very Long Baseline Interferometry – new edition

Tutorial: Elements of Geodetic and Astrometric Very Long Baseline Interferometry – new edition

Elements of Geodetic and Astrometric Very Long Baseline Interferometry is an open tutorial document for educational purposes, for newcomers to geodetic and astrometric VLBI and also for specialists.

The tutorial is supposed to be a living document with changes and additions being made at reasonable intervals. Everybody in the community is invited to contribute to the document. For additions, please contact Axel Nothnagel (Consultant to TU Wien – Department of Geodesy and Geoinformation).

Read the new version of the tutorial here.

Image: © Axel Nothnagel

ERIS 2022

ERIS 2022

The European Radio Interferometry School (ERIS 2022) will be hosted by JIVE and ASTRON in Dwingeloo/NL on September 19–23, 2022.

ERIS 2022 is sponsored by the H2020 OPTICON-RadioNet Pilot (ORP) Project and will provide a week of lectures and tutorials on how to achieve scientific results from radio interferometry. The registration is open until May 15, 2022.

Find more information here.

Image: Conference poster © R. Timmerman; LOFAR & Hubble Space Telescope

SKAO Signs Hosting Agreements With Australia And South Africa

SKAO news

SKAO signed an agreement with the French national research agency CNRS ahead of France's accession to the observatory.

SKAO will host an international science communication conference on the public awareness of research infrastructures in July. Abstract submission is now open for the event until 18 April.



EC cooperation with Russia on research and innovation suspended

Following the Russian invasion against Ukraine, the EC has decided to suspend the cooperation with Russian entities in research, science and innovation. The Commission will not conclude any new contracts nor any new agreements with Russian organisations under the Horizon Europe programme. Furthermore, the EC is suspending payments to Russian entities under existing contracts. All ongoing projects, in which Russian research organisations are participating, are being reviewed. Read more.

Results of the 2021 ERC Consolidator Grant competition

313 winners of the European Research Council’s latest round of Consolidator Grants, backed with some €632 million, will major questions across all scientific disciplines. Read the full ERC press release here.

Commission seeks candidates for the ERC Scientific Council

The independent Standing Identification Committee, which was set up by the EC in 2020, has begun the search for candidates for membership of the Scientific Council of the European Research Council (ERC). Nominations are accepted until 6 May 2022, 12:00 noon CET. Read more.

EU Knowledge Valorisation Week, online, March 29-April 1, 2022

The EU Knowledge Valorisation Week will showcase excellent examples of policies and tools that promote the uptake of research results and science-based solutions for the benefit of all. More details here.

Extension of the UK’s Horizon Europe guarantee

The United Kingdom government has extended its guarantee to provide national funding for UK participants in Horizon Europe. The guarantee applies to projects in explicitly selected Horizon Europe topics for which the grant agreements must be signed before 31 December 2022. The UK Government continues to aim for association to Horizon Europe.



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)

SARAO: MeerKAT 2022 Call for Proposals

SARAO: MeerKAT 2022 Call for Proposals

The South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) invites users to apply for observing time on MeerKAT. More details here.

Deadline: May 3, 2022, 14:00 SAST (12:00 UTC)

Image:  © South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO)

ALMA Cycle 9 Pre-Announcement

ALMA Cycle 9 Call for Proposals

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.

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.



• SKAO - Head of Software Product Management - position - deadline 04.04.2022

• SARAO – Security Analyst – position – deadline 05.04.2022, Head: Engineering &Technology Development – position – deadline 08.04.2022

• ESO - ERC-funded PhD position(s) and post-doc position(s) in Star and Planet formation -position - deadline 13.04.2022

• University Tubingen - Postdoctoral Position in Theoretical Astrophysics – position – deadline 15.04.2022

• ESO – Contract officer – position – deadline 17.04.2022

• 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 Bern - Post-Doctoral Research Assistant/Space Research and Planetology- position

• NRAO - Advancement Communications Specialist - position

Check also EURAXESS



• 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

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

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

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

• PARI2022 – July 18-20, 2022 – hybrid (Manchester, UK or online)

• 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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