Press Release: Astronomers capture stellar winds in unprecedented detail

Astronomers using the ALMA telescope have observed the stellar winds of ageing asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars in unprecedented detail. These high sensitivity and high angular resolution observations have found that the stellar winds associated with the AGB stars are similar in shape to those of planetary nebulae rather than spherical as commonly assumed. This finding has lead the authors, including UK ARC Node staff, to conclude that interactions with companion stars or even heavy planets are causing the observed stellar wind patterns.

The data are part of the the ATOMIUM ALMA Large Program which is using ALMA to study the chemistry and kinematics of a large sample of cool red supergiants, with these findings of ATOMIUM appearing in Science.

Additional information:


(Not quite) Goodbyes... [Anita Richards retires]

Earlier this year, long serving UK ARC Node staff member and interferometry guru Anita Richards officially retired. Anita has been a senior member of the ALMA User Support team since the UK Node came into being in 2008, and a leading researcher in the physics of evolved stars. Through her many trips to the ALMA site, where she was key in processing ALMA data from its earliest Science Verification observations and later long baseline commissioning campaigns, to leading proposal preparation and data reduction workshops for the UK ALMA community, Anita has been instrumental in not only the success of the UK ARC Node but the ALMA project itself.

Although now nominally retired, Anita's involvement with ALMA continues, particularly with the ATOMIUM ALMA large program which is providing a unique new insight into the properties of evolved stars.

The UK ARC Node wishes Anita all the very best in her retirement. Given her recent run of involvement in press releases, retirement clearly suits her.


... and Hellos [Welcoming Ana Karla Díaz Rodríguez]

The start of October 2020 will see the first change in UK ARC Node staff in almost a decade with the appointment of Ana Karla Díaz Rodríguez. Ana Karla is joining us as a new ALMA support scientist at the UK ARC Node. She was previously at the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia in Spain, and her main area of expertise and research is Galactic star-formation, particularly associated with the study of disks and jets from YSOs.

The UK ARC Node would like to welcome Ana Karla to the team and take this opportunity to introduce her to our UK ALMA community.


ALMA 2020 Virtual Workshop for New Postgraduate Students


Deadline for completing the pre-registration poll: 21 September

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.


Study into the benefits that the UK derives from ESO

A message from the STFC:

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), part of UK Research and Innovation, has commissioned consultancy firm Technopolis to assess the benefits that the UK derives from the European Southern Observatory (ESO).  This study will seek to capture, demonstrate and measure the scientific, economic and social impacts emerging from the UK’s investment and involvement with ESO.

A key part of the study is to take into account the views of UK scientists and engineers on the level and range of benefits they believe has been derived from ESO. Technopolis would like to hear from UK scientists and engineers who have:

  • Made use of the ESO telescopes and instruments.
  • Been directly involved in ESO instrument development projects.
  • Accessed ESO observational data remotely.
  • Accessed research publications that are based on ESO observations and data.

Technopolis have launched an online questionnaire. The survey can be accessed at

The questionnaire should take no longer than 15-20 minutes to complete and we would be grateful if you could do so by Friday 2nd October.  All information provided will be treated in strict confidence by Technopolis, and only shared or published in a synthesised and anonymised form. If you are happy to be interviewed as well, there is an opportunity to provide your contact details at the end of the survey.

Thank you in advance for your support with this important exercise.


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.