German ALMA Regional Centre (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 an 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


Recent News

ALMA Cycle 9 Pre-Announcement

[15 December 2021]

The Joint ALMA Observatory will start Cycle 9 observations in October 2022. A Call for Proposals with detailed information on Cycle 9 is anticipated to be issued in March 2022 and the deadline for proposal submission will be in April 2022. In order to assist with early planning, the Observatory has published a Cycle 9 Pre-Announcement, including the anticipated timeline, updates on the technical capabilities and the proposal review process, and the anticipated configuration schedule. [If this link is temporarily unavailable, you can access the same information via the Science Portal at our partner institutes NAOJ and NRAO.]

The following capabilities will be offered in Cycle 9 for the first time:
  • Solar Total Power regional mapping scans in bands 3, 5, 6, and 7
  • VLBI continuum observations in Band 7
  • VLBI spectral line observations in Band 3
  • High-frequency and long-baseline observations, including Band 8 in configurations up through C-10, Band 9 in configurations up through C-9, and Band 10 in configurations up through C-8


Virtual community assembly on 17 December 2021

[10 December 2021]

The European ALMA Regional Centre invites all European ALMA users to a virtual community assembly on 17 December 2021 at 11:00 CET, in connection with the imminent Cycle 9 pre-announcement. At this meeting, we will update you on the current and upcoming observing cycles and on the support from the European ARC network. In the dedicated Q&A session you will have the opportunity to ask your questions. The meeting can be accessed at this link.

Looking forward to seeing you then!

The European ALMA Regional Centre

I-TRAIN #11: Continuum level determination with STATCONT

[last update: 06 December 2021]

The European ARC Network invites users to an online training on how to determine the continuum level in astronomical sources on 10 December 2021 at 11:00 CET [Zoom link].

In this tutorial you will learn about a statistically-based method aimed at determining the continuum level in astronomical sources, in particular in line-rich sources (i.e., sources for which emission and absorption features of spectral lines dominates the observed flux). The software is implemented as a python-based tool that automatically determines the continuum flux level using different statistical methods. In general, STATCONT has been found to be highly accurate with discrepancies <1% in 50% of the test cases and <5% in 90% of the cases. Details on STATCONT can be found in this link. The latest version of the software is available here and test material can be downloaded here.

The duration of this training session will be about one hour and will include an interactive Q&A session. More details on this and previous sessions can be found on the I-TRAIN homepage. For questions please do not hesitate to contact the German node.

Virtual talk series: ALMA recounts of Cosmic Conundrums

[last update: 03 December 2021]

The European ARC network is launching the new virtual talk series "ALMA recounts of Cosmic Conundrums". In every talk of this series a major astronomical question is discussed. The invited speaker will describe the context of the question and then focuses on the ALMA contribution to the field, past and future. The aim of the series is to highlight the unparalleled contribution of ALMA to the broader astronomical landscape and to provide an outlook towards the future.

The next talk of this series will take place on 12 January 2022 at 14:00 CET. The talk will be broadcast through the Youtube channel of the European ALMA Regional Centre network.

This is the current schedule:
  • 01 December 2021, 14:00 CET - How does dust enrichment around evolved stars work? (Leen Decin, KU Leuven)
  • 12 January 2022, 14:00 CET - What is the coupling between molecular clouds, star formation and stellar feedback? (Eva Schinnerer, MPIA Heidelberg)
  • 02 February 2022, 14:00 CET - How does the dynamics of galaxies evolve over cosmic time? (Francesca Rizzo, DAWN Kopenhagen)
  • 02 March 2022, 14:00 CET - How are the building blocks of life formed? (Izaskun Jimenez-Serra, Centro de Astrobiologia)
  • 06 April 2022, 14:00 CET - What is the role of filaments in star formation and how are they shaped? (Alvaro Hacar, University of Vienna)
  • 04 May 2022, 14:00 CET - How and when does planet-formation happen in disks? (Marco Tazzari, University of Cambridge)
  • 01 June 2022, 14:00 CET - What do comets tell us about the origin of Earth? (Nicolas Biver, Observatoire Paris-Site de Meudon)


ALMA explained - a series of 3-min videos

[18 November 2021]

The European ARC network presents a series of 3-min videos with the purpose of introducing and explaining ALMA and basic interferometry principles to non-experts. The videos have been prepared by experts from the ESO ARC and the ARC nodes in Europe. The first release includes 9 videos and more videos will come with time. New additions will be regularly advertised on the European ARC and ARC network social media as well as the ALMA newsletter. Enjoy the videos and share them with your friends, colleagues or students. Any video or parts of the videos can be used with proper credits without contacting us.

Training opportunity in October 2021 - February 2022: Introduction to Radio Astronomy

[last update: 15 October 2021]

The German ARC node in cooperation with the University of Bonn offers an introduction to radio astronomy for students, postdocs and more senior astronomers.

The course highlights various hot science topics currently pursued in radio astronomy, reviews the physical and mathematical foundations of modern radio astronomy and offers a wide range of practical advice from experienced observational radio astronomers. In addition, expert guest lecturers present the latest state of the art in receiver technology and backend development.

For more information, please go to the course homepage and/or contact the German node.

Cycle 8 2021 has started

[04 October 2021]

With the last Cycle 7 science observations completed on Friday 01 October 2021, the most challenging Cycle in ALMA's history - including a one-year break in science observing caused by the pandemic - has come to an end. On the evening of 01 October 2021, the first observations for Cycle 8 2021 were successfully completed in configuration C-8.

As always, all data taken by ALMA undergo careful quality assessment prior to the delivery to the principal investigators and the ALMA Regional Centres provide support at all stages of an ALMA project. If you have any questions, comments or concerns about your ALMA projects, please contact your local node or the ALMA Helpdesk.

News archive