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

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 in your inbox, 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

Additional Information for ALMA Cycle 8 Proposals

As already announced in the ALMA Cycle 8 Pre-announcement, a dual-anonymous review process will be implemented for ALMA proposals starting with the Cycle 8 Call for Proposals. In this scheme, the reviewers do not know the identity of the proposal team. The investigators are responsible for writing their proposals such that anonymity is preserved. Detailed guidelines on how to prepare such proposals, including the consequences of non-compliance, can be found here.

In Cycle 8, the 12-m array is foreseen to operate in various configurations with a maximum baseline from 0.16 km to 8.5 km. The anticipated configuration schedule including the representative configuration numbers is listed in the ALMA Cycle 8 Pre-announcement. For the simulation of observations with the 12-m array and the ACA, the current standard configuration files should be used.

In addition to the observing modes listed in the Cycle 8 pre-announcement (see below), the opportunity to observe pulsars using the ALMA phased array is now confirmed. The observations will be offered at Band 3 only and they will take place in campaign mode during pre-defined time periods. More details will be provided in the Cycle 8 documentation released at the time of the Call for Proposals in March.

ALMA Cycle 8 Pre-announcement

The next cycle of ALMA observations (Cycle 8) will start in October 2020 and span 12 months. It is anticipated that 4300 hours of 12-m Array time will be available for observations of approved projects, and 3000 hours will be available on the Atacama Compact Array (ACA), also known as the Morita Array. New features in Cycle 8 include among others high-frequency observations with the stand-alone 7-m Array, mosaicking of continuum linear polarization observations, and relaxed restrictions on the science target flux for VLBI observations.

The Call for Proposals with detailed information on Cycle 8 capabilities will be issued in March 2020, with a deadline for proposal submission in April 2020. A pre-announcement to the Cycle 8 Call including a timeline and highlighting various aspects necessary to plan proposals is already available here.

VLBI projects are carried out in collaboration with the Global mm-VLBI Array (GMVA) or the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT). Please note that 3mm VLBI programs must also submit a proposal to the GMVA by its 03 February 2020 deadline. Additional information about proposing with ALMA using the GMVA is available in the GMVA Call for Proposals and at our dedicated webpage Guidelines for mmVLBI with ALMA in Cycle 8.

Interactive Proposal Preparation Support

As a service to the local astronomical community, the German ARC node offers advice and technical support for the preparation of ALMA proposals through various means, including video tutorials, chat sessions using zoom, face-to-face consultations and seminars. The format of the interactive support can be adjusted to the needs of individual groups. For informal inquiries and requests, we are looking forward to hearing from you at arc(at)

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.

Detailed report on ALMA Cycle 7 Proposal Review

A detailed report on the outcome of the ALMA Cycle 7 Proposal Review Process is now available as a pdf document. A list of the highest priority projects in Cycle 7 can be found here.