Press Release: ALMA Finds Possible Sign of Neutron Star in Supernova 1987A

A pair of teams using observations from ALMA and theoretical work based upon the observations have produced a compelling case that a neutron star is located deep within the remains of the exploded star known as SN1987A. The supernova occurred in the Large Magellanic Cloud, and since its detection over 33 years ago, astronomers have been searching for the compact object marking the remains of the supernova's progenitor.

Using very high angular resolution ALMA observations, one of these teams, led from Cardiff University and including UK ARC Node staff, discovered a dust peak located at the centre of the known supernova ejecta indicative of a compact object. The second team, led by astrophysicist at UNAM, Mexico, have produced a theoretical framework that shows that the observed dust peak properties are achievable by a young neutron star, thus providing a strong case that the SN1987A progenitor has indeed been discovered.

See the full press release for more information.


ALMA 2020 Virtual Workshop for New Postgraduate Students


A new class of astronomy postgraduate strudents will be starting their studies this autumn, and many students will be working with ALMA data.  The purpose of this workshop is to help new students get started with their ALMA research.

The workshop will be conducted by staff from the UK ALMA Regional Centre (ARC) Node.  Because of the ongoing issues with COVID-19, the workshop will be conducted virtually using Zoom

The workshop will be scheduled as a series of half-day sessions running an entire week and will cover the following topics:

  • An introduction to ALMA
  • An introduction to radio interferometry
  • An overview on using the ALMA Archive
  • Calibrating and inspecting data from the ALMA archive
  • Imaging ALMA data
  • Data analysis

At the end of the workshop, UK ARC Node staff will be available to help with any questions related to participants' specific research.

Pre-Registration Survey

To set the dates for the workshop and to identify what specific needs people may have, any interested students should fill in this poll.  We will announce further details about the meeting by the end of September.


New CASA releases: Versions 5.7 and 6.1

The CASA developers have released the latest versions of CASA. Versions 5.7 and 6.1 are now available to download.

CASA 5.7 is based on Python 2 (as were all previous versions), while CASA 6.1 is based on Python 3, but both contain the same functionality. It is possible to download both versions in the standard tar-file/disk image format. However, CASA 6.1 can also be installed through pip-wheel installation, giving a higher degree of modularity to CASA and allowing users to integrate CASA into their customized Python environment. For ALMA users, version 5.7 can be used on all existing ALMA data, but in the coming months, the ALMA pipeline will switch to version 6.1.x, and users wishing to reprocess data pipelined after this switch will need to use CASA 6.1.x. More information on data reprocessing is available from the UK ARC Node.

New features in the latest release include the new task 'sdintimaging' for the joint deconvolution of single-dish and interferometry data and new capabilities for working with single dish and VLBI data.

For more information on these latest releases and to download them, please see


Continuing to support our UK ALMA Users

While remote working remains the norm for the majority of astronomers in the UK and beyond, the UK ARC Node would like to make our users aware of our continued availability to support your work with ALMA data. We are able to provide remote / electronic support to any UK ALMA users who require our assistance at this time.

As such, if you require user support for your PI lead or ALMA archival data processing and analysis in the coming weeks and months, we are contactable via the usual means (contact details below) and can provide a range of electronic support options to help you meet your goals. We also encourage our users to make use of the data available in the ALMA Archive (more details in the next article) at this time.

Further information on the status of operations at Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics (home of the UK ARC Node), Jodrell Bank Observatory and the e-MERLIN National Facility can be found here.


ALMA Archive Use

While the operations at ALMA remain suspended, the UK ARC Node would like to remind the community about the wealth of data available in the ALMA Archive and encourage its use. ALMA has been in science operations for almost 9 years, and as a consequence, ALMA data are publicly available for a huge number of astrophysical objects. The archive can be accessed at and contains the following downloadable data products:

  • Archival image products, suitable for some science cases and as a first look at the programs observations.
  • Raw data that can be reprocessed using by the user with the associated scripts from the archive.

Upon request from UK ALMA users, the UK ARC Node can provide fully calibrated measurements sets for entire or parts of ALMA projects that can then be used for creating new images. These products can be hosted in Manchester and can be made available for an amount of time agreed upon between the ARC Node and the user. Assistance with imaging ALMA data is also available from the UK ARC Node upon request. Please also see the news item on the UK ARC Node's current remote support provisions.

Alternately, the EU ARC at ESO provides, upon request, a service to create and stage fully calibrated ALMA data of individual measurement observation unit sets (MOUSs), with up to 10 MOUSs per request. An MOUS is a single execution of a projects scheduling block. This webpage provides instructions on accessing the service.