German ALMA Regional Center (ARC) Node

The Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) is a revolutionary interferometer for mm and submm astronomy in the Atacama desert in Northern Chile. It is operated by a global collaboration between Europe (ESO), North America (NRAO) and East Asia (NAOJ), in cooperation with Chile. The interface between ALMA and the user communities is provided by three ALMA Regional Centres (ARCs) in Europe, North America and East Asia.

The European ARC (EU ARC) is organized as a coordinated network with a central node at ESO Headquarters in Garching bei München and regional nodes located in Bologna(I), Bonn/Cologne(D), Grenoble(F), Leiden(NL), Manchester(GB), Ondrejov(CZ), and Onsala(S). The concept and the implementation of the EU ARC network has been described in a recent article in the ESO Messenger (Hatziminaoglou et al. 2015, Msngr. 162, 24).

The German ARC node is a collaboration of the universities of Bonn and Cologne. Its headquarters are located at the Argelander-Institut für Astronomie in Bonn. The German ARC node provides services to ALMA operations, the local astronomical community and the general public:

Newsletters and Announcements

If you wish to stay informed about the latest ALMA developments, calls for proposals, data releases, conferences/workshops and other information, please check our announcements and/or subscribe to our newsletters.
  • European ARC Announcements are provided by ESO and the European ALMA Nodes that together make up the European ALMA Regional Centre Network. With their very short turn-around time, they complement the regularly published newsletters. The European ARC Announcements can be found here
  • The European ARC Newsletter is a compilation of recent European ALMA Regional Centre Announcement items. In addition, the Newsletter informs you about various developments in the ALMA Programme, as well as about ALMA or ALMA-related meetings. More information on the newsletter can be found here. To start receiving the European ARC Newsletter, please send an email to the Editor.
  • In addition, the DARC newsletter features announcements and news particularly relevant to the German ALMA community. If interested, please subscribe here. More information on the newsletter including an alternative way of subscribing to it can be found here.

Recent News

Status of Data Delivery - A Message from the ALMA Director and Management Team

On October 16, the ALMA Director and the Operations Managers released the following memo regarding data delivery to PIs:

The fundamental product of the ALMA Observatory is, and will remain, calibrated data and images. At the same time, the Observatory has been steadily increasing its performance in terms of efficiency, stability and time available for PI-driven science and, as a result, a steady increase in data production. We, at ALMA, aspire to maintain the quality of the delivered data. Recently, the rate of data acquisition has exceeded our delivery capacity. In the short-term, this will imply some extended data delivery timescales as the Observatory refines processes and increases capacity to meet this increasing data load.

Today, the current delivery time has a median value of 9.5 weeks with most (~80%) datasets delivered in 16.7 weeks or less. There is a tail to the distribution that results in some datasets being delivered in many months. The management team of ALMA understands that this is a source of frustration in the community and has committed to improving the data delivery rates. Over the past few months, the Operations Management and Science Operations Teams have reviewed overall data workflow processes and have identified a number of priorities for improvement that will speed data reduction and delivery. These include staff augmentations in key data areas, workflow rearrangements, prioritization of pipeline development tasks, and an optimization of the online as well as the offline system.

We ask for your patience during this period and that you be re-assured that we give this problem the highest priority.

CASA 4.7.0 has been released

Update: CASA 4.7.0-1 is now available which includes a fix to exportfits.

A new version of CASA, version 4.7.0. has been released. This latest release 4.7.0 is available on Linux with Red Hat and Mac OSX with El Capitan and Yosemite operating systems. CASA may also work on other flavors of Linux. The list above covers those operating systems that on which regular test are done.

More details can be obtained from the CASA Web site.

Impressions from the ALMA Postdoc Symposium

Following the main ALMA conference Half a Decade of ALMA: Cosmic Dawns Transformed held in Palm Springs (California) from 20 to 23 September 2016, the 2nd ALMA Postdoc Symposium took place during the weekend of 24/25 September. More than 15 postdocs working for the different ALMA Regional Centres gathered together to share their scientific research and knowledge about the different activities related to ALMA. This time, a number of postdocs not directly associated with the ALMA Regional Centres but working with ALMA data were invited to participate and join the discussions.

This symposium is the continuation of the successful 1st ALMA Postdoc Symposium held in Tokyo in December 2014, and is intended to offer the ALMA postdocs a unique networking opportunity to establish and develop collaborations with other postdocs. This time, the scientific talks were complemented with a series of more technical discussions and panels where the different members of the ARCS presented the various support roles they are involved in.

All the participants are thankful to other more senior members that decided to join the symposium, sharing their knowledge during the discussions. In particular, we enjoyed a nice talk about the history of millimeter/submillimeter astronomy given by the ALMA Observatory Scientist John Carpenter.

For more details on the program visit the ALMA Postdoc Symposium page.

Hope to see all you again in the next ALMA Postdoc Symposium!

Alvaro Sanchez-Monge
Email: asanchez[at]

ALMA conference Half a Decade of ALMA: Cosmic Dawns Transformed

Over 200 astronomers from all around the world have gathered in Indian Wells, California, U.S.A. to participate in the Half a Decade of ALMA: Cosmic Dawns Transformed conference held between September 20 and 23 and organized by ALMA and its partners: NRAO, NAOJ and ESO. This is the third international conference presenting ALMA's results since the Observatory began its astronomical observation cycles. For more information, please go to the conference website.

Detailed Report of the Cycle 4 Proposal Review

A detailed report on the outcome of the ALMA Cycle 4 Proposal Review Process is now available. The report includes details on the proposal review process, proposal statistics and regional distributions, as well as the proposal distribution across science categories and receiver bands.

The report can be downloaded as a pdf document here.

A list of highest priority projects of Cycle 4 (and the previous Cycles) can be found here.

Update of ALMA Configuration Schedule for Cycle 4

There will be a modification to the planned configuration schedule for Cycle 4. The Cycle will not start with configuration C40-7 as indicated in the Cycle 4 Proposer's Guide. Instead, Cycle 4 observations will begin in configuration C40-6. This change was made to optimize the completion of the high ranked projects from the Cycle 4 review process. The order of the remaining configurations in Cycle 4 as listed in the Proposer's Guide remains unchanged.

Public release of ALMA Observations of the Galactic Center

ALMA observations of the Galactic Center obtained on July 12 and 18, 2016 UT are now available in the ALMA archive. The ALMA data were obtained using Director's Discretionary Time under project code 2015.A.00021.S (Principal Investigator Gunther Witzel) and are being made available to the community with no proprietary period.

The ALMA observations consist of Band 6 spectral line (13CO J=2-1 and H30 alpha) and continuum observations. Data were obtained for about 5 hours on each night. The timing of the observations coincides with a Spitzer and Chandra monitoring campaign of the Galactic Center.

A description of the Spitzer/Chandra monitoring campaign is available here.