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

Phase 2 of ALMA Cycle 5 has started

(02 August 2017) Starting on 30 July 2017, the PIs of submitted ALMA Cycle 5 proposals have been notified of the outcome of the review process regarding their proposals. This marks the start of Phase 2, which will end on 07 September 2017 15:00 UT. During Phase 2, the PI (or the registered delegate) can double-check the parameters set in the Science Goals and make slight adjustments if necessary. A knowledgable Contact Scientist (CS) is assigned to each approved project. The CS can be contacted by the PI via a dedicated Helpdesk ticket in case of questions or concerns. In addition, a Phase 2 Quickstart Guide for Users is available at the ESO Science Portal and also accessible from the homepage of the German ARC node. All Phase 2 material must be submitted by 07 September 2017 15:00 UT.

Status of ALMA Observations and Relocation to Long Baselines

(06 July 2017) As you may have noticed, the current array configuration deviates from the original configuration schedule. The reason for this is that the ALMA Observatory has experienced back to back severe winter storms, making it difficult to recover the 12-m array for PI observations. Many roads are blocked with 2 meters of snow, high winds often return snow to the cleared locations, and snow is compacting into ice. Routine observations utilizing the 7-m and Total Power Arrays have resumed, and as of the end of June, PI science with the 12-m array is proceeding as well. An update regarding a revised configuration schedule will be issued in the coming weeks.

Cycle 5 Phase 2 deadline

Please note that the Cycle 5 Phase 2 deadline by which approved projects need to be submitted to the archive is anticipated to be 07 September 2017.

Users can delegate the submission of the Phase 2 material in case of unavailability. They can do so by selecting a delegee (for each project) in their user profile. Guidelines to PIs will be made public in July.

Cycle 5 Proposal Submission Statistics

A detailed report of the Cycle 5 Proposal Submission Statistics is now available. The report provides a summary of items such as the number of submitted proposals and time requested, subscription rates, and comparisons with the number of hours requested in previous Cycles.

The data are available in a pdf document here.

Results of the ALMA Cycle 4 Supplemental Call

198 proposals requesting 4815 hours of observing time on the ALMA 7-metre Array were received in response to the Cycle 4 Supplemental Call for Proposals. A total of 32 proposals requesting 716 hours were accepted and added to the 7-metre Array observing queue for the remainder of Cycle 4.

Further details are available here.

ALMA Cycle 4 User Survey

Between the 22 September and 24 October 2016, the fifth ALMA user survey was conducted, addressing many stages of ALMA like proposal development, SB generation, Helpdesk, data delivery, reduction and processing. Overall, the users showed a relatively high level of satisfaction.

On a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being best and 5 being worst), the overall satisfaction across all ALMA regions was generally rated ~2 or better for all the topics. The highest rate was given to communication with contact scientists for SB preparation, with an average rate of 1.05, followed by Quality of F2F support and the ALMA data quality with average rates of 1.11 and 1.28, respectively. In addition to the overall ratings the users provided numerous comments which are currently undergoing analysis and will be taken into account to improve the tools and procedures in future cycles.

The ALMA observatory sincerely thanks all users that took the time to answer this survey and provide valuable comments.

The complete ALMA User Satisfaction Survey is provided here.

Supplemental Call for Proposals to use the ALMA 7-m Array in Cycle 4

Update: The Supplemental Call closed on 15 May 2017 at 15:00 UT.

The ALMA Director announces that the Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) will accept observing proposals that request to use the 7-m Array in the remainder of Cycle 4, which ends on 30 September 2017. This proposal call enables the community to propose projects that will fill in undersubscribed regions of the observing queue for the 7-m Array. Up to 800 hours on the 7-m Array will be allocated through this opportunity.

Proposals must be compatible with the capabilities listed in the ALMA Cycle 4 Call for Proposals, with the following restrictions:

  1. Proposals for this special call will be accepted only for the 7-m Array in stand-alone mode. Proposals that request the Total Power (TP) Array or the 12-m Array will be declined.
  2. A proposal may request up to 50 hours of observing time on the 7-m Array. We encourage large time requests within this limit.
  3. Proposals will be accepted in Bands 3, 4, 6, and 7 for any LST, except between LST of 15h and 20h in Bands 6 and 7. The largest amount of time available in any band is at an LST of >22h and <13h.
  4. Only proposals that request standard modes are permitted, as defined in the ALMA Cycle 4 Proposer's Guide.

Proposals can be submitted starting 21 April, 2017 and will be reviewed as they are received. Instructions on how to submit a proposal through the ALMA Observing Tool (OT) will be made available on the ALMA Science Portal on 21 April. Proposals can be submitted at any time up until the end of Cycle 4 or until the available time has been fully allocated. An announcement will be posted on the ALMA Science Portal when this opportunity closes.

For comprehensive information of this Supplemental Call for Proposals, please consult the corresponding ALMA Science Portal page.

Training opportunity: "Radio Interferometry: Methods and Science"

The course Radio Interferometry: Methods and Science is organized by the German ARC node and offers a hands-on overview of major aspects of radio/mm/submm interferometry for master students, PhD students and senior astronomers. The lectures start with a general introduction to radio interferometry and data reduction, followed by an overview of various fields of research and the special observing modes that they require, given by experts of the respective fields. The latest developments of selected world-leading radio/mm/submm interferometers will be presented as well.

The course also comprises a hands-on tutorial, where participants learn how to reduce interferometric data with the Common Astronomy Software Applications (CASA) package.

The German ARC node offers remote access to the lectures and tutorials on a best-efforts basis. All registered remote participants have received information about the setup and the upcoming system test. If you would like to follow the course from a remote location, but have not contacted us at arc[at] so far, please do so before 10 April 2017.

ALMA Community Days 2017

Update (06-04-2017): Both events have taken place. Thanks to all participants for your interest and feedback!

The next Call for Proposals for observing time with ALMA (Cycle 5) will be issued in March 2017. The deadline for proposals is expected to be on 20 April 2017, with observations starting in October 2017. For more details, please see the ALMA Cycle 5 Pre-announcement and the Additional Information for Cycle 5 Proposals.

To prepare the local astronomical community for the Cycle 5 proposal deadline, the German ARC node organizes ALMA Community Days at the Argelander-Institut für Astronomie in Bonn on 27/28 March 2017 and at the Center for Space and Habitability in Bern on 03 April 2017 in collaboration with the hosting institutes. While these events are open to all ALMA users and prospective ALMA users, preference will be given to astronomers from the local community (Germany, Austria, Switzerland).

German ALMA Community Days (Bonn, 27/28 March 2017)
In Bonn, the first day will feature an introduction to the basic radio astronomical concepts and terminology for non-radio astronomers. The second day will be devoted to practical information on ALMA-related tools and procedures including hands-on tutorials where participants can learn how to use the ALMA-OT and/or prepare their own ALMA proposals with technical support from ARC node staff.

Swiss ALMA Community Day (Bern, 03 April 2017)
In Bern, the Community Day starts with an introduction to the basic radio astronomical concepts and terminology, followed by practical information on ALMA, its capabilities and procedures. In the afternoon, two hands-on tutorials provide an introduction to the ALMA-OT and an opportunity to discuss proposal drafts with the experts from the German ARC node.