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 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 and the German ARC node during the COVID-19 pandemic [last update: 15 July 2020]

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, science operations with ALMA were suspended and the observatory was shut down in a controlled way. The last science observations have been completed on Thursday, 19 March 2020. Caretaker teams remain at the Operation Support Facility (OSF) to maintain the safety of the ALMA equipment and infrastructure. All other staff work remotely. ALMA staff continue to monitor the situation very carefully and work on the development of detailed plans for the return to operations, which will be initiated when the situation allows.

Northern Chile was recently hit by a magnitude 6.8 earthquake. Fortunately this caused no injuries to ALMA staff and no serious damage at the ALMA site. This was followed by extremely high winds, that led to some minor damage at the OSF.

All MOUSs that have been delivered to principle investigators (PIs), but have not become public by 19 March 2020, have been granted an extension of their proprietary time by three months. The full details of this policy can be found here.



The Cycle 8 Call for Proposals has been suspended and the Cycle 8 proposal submission server has been closed as of 15:00UT on Friday, 17 April, 2020. It is anticipated that the Cycle 8 Call for Proposals will open again in 2021 March with the start of ALMA Cycle 8 in 2021 October. ALMA Cycle 7 will continue through 2021 September, with currently non-completed projects ranked A, B and C remaining in the observing queue.

The ALMA proposal preparation support tools produced by the German ARC node in response to the Cycle 8 Call for Proposals continue to be available to the community. When the Cycle 8 Call for Proposals will open again, these tools will be updated as necessary. In addition, the German node will offer again a drop-in proposal clinic via zoom, in which experienced staff of the German ARC node are happy to discuss questions and to give technical advice regarding ALMA proposal preparation on a case-by-case basis.



In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the German ARC node and the hosting universities of Bonn and Cologne have taken measures towards the well-being of their staff and against the spread of the corona virus as well. While the crucial infrastructure is kept running with minimum staff on site, most of the staff still work in home office.

By means of remote computing, emails and video-conferencing, the staff of the German ARC node continues to provide all services of the ARC node including user support and training on a best effort basis. While meeting in person is still difficult, ALMA users are welcome to contact the staff via email or the helpdesk. Consultation and practical help via video conference systems can be arranged on short notice.


Regular updates on the status of ALMA and the German ARC node will be posted on this webpage and at the ALMA Science Portal.

Training Opportunity: Hands-on Radio Interferometry

The Master-level course Radio Interferometry: Methods and Science offers hands-on training in the data reduction and analysis of radio interferometric data for Master students, PhD students and more senior astronomers. After a brief review of the basic concepts of radio interferometry, the participants are guided through the various steps necessary to create fully calibrated data cubes from interferometric raw data. In the second part of the course, the participants learn how to construct images and data cubes from the calibrated data and how to analyze their interferometric data.

As in previous years, we plan to offer remote access to the course using the video conferencing system zoom, which the participants can join without charge and on a variety of platforms. If you would like to follow the course remotely, please contact us by Friday, 03 April 2020.

For more information, please see the course homepage and/or contact us.

Release of Full Polarization ALMA Test Data in July 2020

ALMA will be releasing data on 3C 279 and Ori-KL acquired as part of the Extension and Optimization of Capabilities effort (EOC). The data were used to test, implement, and determine the accuracy of the linear-polarization mosaicking observing mode of ALMA.

The raw data, along with the calibrated measurement sets, reference images, and reduction scripts will be released in early July 2020. The data will be available through the ALMA science archive. More information can be found here.

ALMA at the EAS 2020

The Special Session No. 13 (SS13) Eight years of ALMA ground-breaking results: A joint venture between the ALMA user community and the ALMA Regional Centres is organised as part of the yearly meeting of the European Astronomical Society. The conference will take place in Leiden, The Netherlands, on June 29 - July 3, 2020. SS13 will be held on the last day of the conference (July 3rd).

SS13 will focus on scientific results that emphasise the connection between the ALMA users and the EU ARC network, and include: Scientific highlights from large programs. - Scientific results from special modes with EU-specific strengths: high frequencies, polarization, solar observations, deep fields, data combination. - Results based on archival research and data mining. - Community and EU ARC network software/tools development. - Optimization of observations setup and data calibration. - Computing facilities for data reduction and analysis.

Abstract submission for SS13 is open for oral and/or poster presentations. In order to submit your abstract, please visit the abstract portal.

Requesting calibrated data in Europe

By popular demand, the EU ARC has implemented a service which permits ALMA users to request the calibrated data for a given dataset (Member Obs Unit Set, MOUS) to be made available for download. The service is open both for ALMA PIs or Delegees with proprietary ALMA data and for archival users wanting to use datasets for which the proprietary time has expired. For a description how to request calibrated data, please go here.

Highlights der Physik in Bonn

The 19th edition of the science festival Highlights der Physik took place in Bonn on 16-21 September 2019. This year's theme was Show yourself! Making the invisible visible. The core of the science festival was a hands-on exhibition on the Münsterplatz with approximately 50 exhibits on physics and astronomy. Scientists from Bonn and other parts of Germany were available for questions, explanations and discussions. There were also science shows, live experiments, the EinsteinSlam, a junior laboratory, workshops, a school competition, numerous lectures and lots of science to touch and try out.

Throughout the festival, the German ARC node welcomed visitors at their exhibition stand, which focussed on ALMA and the principle of radio interferometry. An interactive model of ALMA allowed the public and interested colleagues alike to define a configuration, conduct their own interferometric observations and view the resulting images in real time.