European Radio Astronomy Consortium

Newsletter Issue 01/2023

Published in MNRAS: SPARCS-North Wide-field VLBI Survey: exploring the resolved μJy extragalactic radio source population with EVN + e-MERLIN

Published in MNRAS - SPARCS-North Wide-field VLBI Survey: exploring the resolved μJy extragalactic radio source population with EVN + e-MERLIN

The SKA PAthfinder Radio Continuum Surveys (SPARCS) are providing deep-field imaging of the faint (sub-mJy) extragalactic radio source populations through a series of reference surveys. One of the key science goals for SPARCS is to characterize the relative contribution of radio emission associated with active galactic nucleus (AGN) from star formation (SF) in these faint radio source populations, using a combination of high sensitivity and high angular resolution imaging over a range of spatial scales (arcsec to mas). To isolate AGN contribution from SF, it was hypothesized that there exists a brightness temperature cut-off point separating pure AGN from SF.

It is presented a multiresolution (10–100 mas) view of the transition between compact AGN and diffuse SF through a deep wide-field EVN + e-MERLIN, multiple phase centre survey of the centre of the Northern SPARCS (SLOAN) reference field at 1.6 GHz. This is the first (and only) VLBI (+ e-MERLIN) milliarcsecond angular resolution observation of this field, and of the wider SPARCS reference field programme. Using these high spatial resolution (9 pc–0.3 kpc at z ∼ 1.25) data, 11 milliarcsec-scale sources are detected from a targeted sample of 52 known radio sources from previous observations with the e-MERLIN, giving a VLBI detection fraction of ~21 per cent.

At spatial scales of ∼9pc, these sources show little to no jet structure whilst at ∼0.3kpc one-sided and two-sided radio jets begin to emerge on the same sources, indicating a possible transition from pure AGN emissions to AGN and SF systems.

Read the full paper in the MNRAS here.

Image: © Ann Njeri, et al.; Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 519, Issue 2, February 2023, Pages 1732–1744, https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stac3569; The SPARCS field as seen by the VLASS and e-MERLIN surveys. The central plot comprises of the VLASS survey view of this field. Overlaid are the observed phase centres for this survey in the context of the Effelsberg (assuming an effective diameter of 78 m) and the 25 m primary beams of the EVN array. The extent of each phase centre corresponds to 10 per cent half-power beam width (HPBW) smearing, that is, assuming averaging to 2 s integrations and 32kHz channel width after the initial internal wide-field correlation and a maximum baseline of 10 000 km. Surrounding the VLASS image are postage stamp cut-outs of selected sources from the e-MERLIN pilot survey (rms ∼10μJybeam−1⁠), revealing the exquisite detail provided by the 0′′.2 high-resolution imaging.

ALMA Scientists Find Pair of Black Holes Dining Together in Nearby Galaxy Merger

ALMA Scientists Find Pair of Black Holes Dining Together in Nearby Galaxy Merger

While studying a nearby pair of merging galaxies using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) scientists discovered two supermassive black holes growing simultaneously near the center of the newly coalescing galaxy. These super-hungry giants are the closest together that scientists have ever observed in multiple wavelengths.

Read the ALMA press release here.

Image: © ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO); M. Weiss (NRAO/AUI/NSF); Scientists using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to look deep into the heart of the pair of merging galaxies known as UGC 4211 discovered two black holes growing side by side, just 750 light-years apart. This artist’s conception shows the late-stage galaxy merger and its two central black holes. The binary black holes are the closest together ever observed in multiple wavelengths. 

ALMA and JWST Reveal Galactic Shock is Shaping Stephan’s Quintet in Mysterious Ways

ALMA and JWST Reveal Galactic Shock is Shaping Stephan’s Quintet in Mysterious Ways

Shockwaves resulting from the violent collision between an intruder galaxy and Stephan’s Quintet are helping astronomers to understand how turbulence influences gas in the intergalactic medium.New observations with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) have revealed that a sonic boom several times the size of the Milky Way has kickstarted a recycling plant for warm and cold molecular hydrogen gas. What’s more, scientists uncovered the break-up of a giant cloud into a fog of warm gas, the possible collision of two clouds forming a splash of warm gas around them, and the formation of a new galaxy.

Read more here.

Image: © ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/JWST/ P. Appleton (Caltech), B.Saxton (NRAO/AUI/NSF); A team of astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) discovered a recycling plant for warm and cold molecular hydrogen gas in Stephan’s Quintet, and it’s causing mysterious things to happen. At left: Field 6, which sits at the center of the main shock wave, is recycling warm and cold hydrogen gas as a giant cloud of cold molecules is stretched out into a warm tail of molecular hydrogen over and over again. At center: Field 5 unveiled two cold gas clouds connected by a stream of warm molecular hydrogen gas characterized by a high-speed collision that is feeding the warm envelope of gas around the region. At right: Field 4 revealed a steadier, less turbulent environment where hydrogen gas collapsed, forming what scientists believe to be a small dwarf galaxy in formation.

Serpent in the sky captured with ESO telescope

Serpent in the sky captured with ESO telescope

A myriad of stars is revealed behind the faint orange glow of the Sh2-54 nebula in this new infrared image. Located in the constellation Serpens, this stunning stellar nursery has been captured in all its intricate detail using the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) based at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile.

Read more.

Image: © ESO/VVVX; This image of the spectacular Sh2-54 nebula was taken in infrared light using ESO’s VISTA telescope at Paranal Observatory in Chile. The clouds of dust and gas that are normally obvious in visible light are less evident here, and in this light we can see the light of the stars behind the nebulae now piercing through.

NSF and SpaceX Sign Agreement to Mitigate Impact of Starlink Satellites on Ground-Based Astronomy

NSF and SpaceX Sign Agreement to Mitigate Impact of Starlink Satellites on Ground-Based Astronomy

The National Science Foundation (NSF) and SpaceX have finalized a coordination agreement to mitigate the impact of the company’s Starlink satellites on ground-based radio-, optical-, and infrared-astronomy facilities. The NSF’s public statement is here.

Image: ©  International Gemini Observatory/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/J. Chu/J. Pollard

The MeerKAT radio telescope in South Africa receives prestigious award of the Royal Astronomical Society

The MeerKAT radio telescope in South Africa receives prestigious award of the Royal Astronomical Society

The MeerKAT team is awarded the Group Award of the Royal Astronomical Society for a series of spectacular observations in radio astronomy, the highlight being the images of the Galactic Centre region and the spectacular radio bubbles. In addition, the MeerKAT team have supported the development of science and technology in Africa and stress-tested technology for the Square Kilometre Array.

More here and here.

Image: © SARAO; The MeerKAT telescope in the Karoo. Since its inauguration in 2018, the 64 dish array has been used to investigate a variety of questions in modern astrophysics such as how galaxies form and evolve across cosmic history.




Report of the 2022 High Level Workshop on ERA: Research Ethics and Integrity in the Context of Public Engagement

The High Level Workshop on ERA offers an annual platform for Science Europe Member Organisations, national ministries, and EU institutions to discuss progress, specific aspects, and future development of the ERA.

ERA 2022 was co-organised by Science Europe, the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), and the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research, and Innovation (SERI). It focussed on ethics and integrity when science engages with the public, such as when advising decision makers, communicating to citizens, or having the public participate in the research process. The High Level Workshop looked at how such engagement can take place with the highest ethics and integrity standards.

Report authors(s): James Morris (SE), Adrien Braem (SE), Flurina Kuhn (SNSF), DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.7446417

European Commission signs 24 new grant agreements for reforming Research and Innovation system under Horizon Europe worth EUR 54.2 million

Reforming the European R&I System is part of the Horizon Europe’s Widening participation and strengthening the European Research Area programme (Destination 3). 



European VLBI Network: Call for Proposals open

European VLBI Network: Call for Proposals open

The call for proposals for the European VLBI Network (EVN) is open. EVN access and travel support is possible through the OPTICON RadioNet Pilot project (ORP). All regular proposals should be submitted through the Northstar submission tool.

Submission deadline: February 01, 2023 (16:00 UTC)

100-m Effelsberg radio telescope: Open call for proposals

100-m Effelsberg radio telescope: Open call for proposals

The call for proposals of the 100-m radio telescope (Effelsberg/DE) of the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy is open.

Access/funding is offered through the ORP project.

Find the call here.

Submission deadline: February 02, 2023 (15:00 UT)

Image: © N. Tacken (MPIfR)

Max Planck Society Call for APEX Proposals

Max Planck Society Call for APEX Proposals

The Max Planck Society call for APEX Proposals is open. See the call here.

Submission deadline: 16 February 2023 (18:00 CET)

Image: © ESO

ALMA Cycle 10 Pre-Announcement

ALMA Cycle 10 Pre-Announcement

A Call for Proposals (CfP) with detailed information on Cycle 10 is anticipated to be issued in April 2023, and the deadline for proposal submission will be in May 2023.  The purpose of this pre-announcement is to highlight aspects of the CfP to assist with early planning.

The anticipated proposal submission deadline for Cycle 10 is 10 May 2023. More here.

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) offers 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.

LOFAR Long Term Archive (LTA) is a long-established archive and access facility supporting the international LOFAR telescope. It is currently the largest radio astronomical archive in the world already exceeding 45 PB from LOFAR’s past 10 years of operations. The LTA provides a central and key resource for all observed LOFAR astronomical science programs where the data become public within 12 months of first creation. The access/funding is offered through the ORP project.



• SKAO – Electronic Engineer – position – deadline 03.02.2023

• SARAO – Procurement Officer – position – deadline 06.02.2023

• SAAO - SAAO Staff Astronomer – position – deadline 03.02.2023

• Yerkes Future Foundation and Yerkes Observatory – Director of Astronomy and Research – position – deadline 10.02.2023

• JOATechnical Lead Control Specialist - deadline 12.02.2023

• JIV-ERIC Science Communications Officer Position – deadline 15.02.2023

• ASTRON - Postdoctoral position in exoplanet space-weather/radio astronomy – position – deadline 20.02.2023

• University of Bonn – W2 tenure-track professorship in astronomy/astrophysics – position – deadline 15.03.2023

• ESO – Engineering Internship – position – deadline 31.12.2023, Internship: Science Communication – position – deadline 31.12.2023

Check also EURAXESS



• Peer Review Under Review – February 6-10, 2023 – Garching/DE

• 2023 ORP Proposal Writing School – February-20 March 2023 (on Mondays) – virtual

• IAU Symposium 378: Black hole winds at all scales – March 12-16, 2023 – Haifa/IL

• IAU Symposium (IAUS) 380 Cosmic Masers: Proper Motion toward the Next-Generation Large Projects – March 20-24, 2023 – Kagoshima City/JP (hybrid)

• New Eyes on the Universe: SKA & ngVLA – April 30-May 5, 2023 – Vancouver/CA

• Bologna-VLBI: Life begins at 40! New frontiers and scientific challenges with enhanced frequency/time/space – May 22-26, 2023 – Bologna/IT

• 4th Advanced School on Exoplanetary Science - Astrophysics of Transiting Exoplanets – May 22-26, 2023 – Vietri sul Mare, Italy

• Transient Universe 2023 – May 30-June 9, 2023 – Corsica/FR

• CASA VLBI Workshop – June 5-9, 2023 – Dwingeloo/NL

• 11th VLTI Interferometry School – June 12-17, 2023 – Budapest/HU

• EAS 2023 – July 10-14, 2023 – Krakow/PL

• IAU Symposium 365: Dynamics of Solar and Stellar Convection Zones and Atmospheres – August 21-25, 2023 – Moscow/RU

• European ALMA school - September 04-08, 2023 – Manchester/UK

• ALMA at 10 years: Past, Present, and Future – December 4-8, 2023Puerto Varas/CL

 See also the Calendar




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