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

Hands-on Training Opportunity: ALMA Data Reduction

[16 April 2021]

The German ARC node offers hands-on training in the reduction and analysis of ALMA data in their online Master-level course Radio Interferometry 2021 in April to July 2021.

In weekly sessions via zoom, the participants are guided through the various steps necessary to create fully calibrated data cubes from ALMA raw data. In the second part of the course, the participants learn how to construct image data cubes and maps from the calibrated data and how to analyze the data. The hands-on work is complemented by overview talks on the basic concepts of radio interferometry and on various special cases of radio interferometric data.

Thanks to its extensive online material, it is still possible to join the course. Interested colleagues are encouraged to contact the course coordinator.

Proposal Preparation Support at the German ARC node

[08 April 2021]

In the context of the Cycle 8 2021 Call for Proposals, the German ARC node offers user support focused on the preparation of ALMA observing projects in March and April 2021.

In view of the special challenges of the ongoing pandemic, the traditional all-day community event has been replaced by a combination of pre-recorded video presentations and a community meeting on 7 April 2021. The videos are available at the event homepage and can be watched conveniently at any time and location of choice. The presentations cater to astronomers with different levels of expertise, from introductory tutorials for scientists new to ALMA to a concise update for experienced ALMA users.

The presentations are complemented by an online community meeting on Wednesday, 7 April 2021, and by individual one-on-one help via video conferencing.

For details on the presentations and the one-on-one support, please refer to the Proposal Preparation homepage.

ALMA Cycle 7 Science Observations restarted

[24 March 2021]

ALMA science observations re-started on 17 March 2021. These were the first Cycle 7 data to be acquired since the Observatory shutdown, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, in March 2020. The first newly-acquired datasets have now successfully passed the ALMA quality assurance stages and will shortly be delivered to our users worldwide. At present, science observations are being taken on the 12-m Array with a reduced number of antennas (at least thirty-two antennas in a C43-4/C43-5 configuration). Science observations will start on the 7-m Array when eight 7-m antennas are available.

Proposals for Director's Discretionary Time (DDT) are being accepted again. PIs should consider that DDT projects currently may be executed with fewer than the nominal number of Cycle 7 antennas. If the observations can only be performed with the nominal antenna numbers, this should be explicitly stated. Any approved DDT proposals will be observed on a best-effort basis, with priority given to completing the return to operations in a safe manner.

New ALMA Science Archive remote visualization tool

[24 March 2021]

CARTA, the Cube Analysis and Rendering Tool for Astronomy, has been integrated into the ALMA Science Archive (ASA). Now all 500,000+ ALMA science FITS files in the ALMA archive can be previewed using CARTA (excluding Cycle 0). CARTA is a new image visualization and analysis tool that can visualize large images from a remote server within seconds. More details can be found here or on the CARTA hopepage.

ALMA Cycle 8 2021 Call for Proposals Now OPEN

[17 March 2021]

The ALMA Director, on behalf of the Joint ALMA Observatory and the partner organizations in East Asia, Europe, and North America, is pleased to announce that the ALMA Cycle 8 2021 Call for Proposals for scientific observations is now OPEN!

ALMA Cycle 8 2021 is currently scheduled for observations from October 2021 to September 2022. Users of any nationality or affiliation are invited to submit proposals before the deadline of 15:00 UT on Wednesday 21 April 2021.

EU-ARC Virtual Community Assembly on 19 March 2021

[15 March 2021]

The European ALMA Regional Centre invites all European ALMA users to a virtual community assembly on 19 March at 12:30 CET. At this community meeting, we will update you on the current and upcoming observing cycle and address FAQs on how PI science will be carried out. Also we can answer any questions you may have on your ALMA projects and support from the European ARC network. The meeting can be accessed at this link.

Return to Science Operations

[15 March 2021]

While the impact of COVID-19 continues to affect lives around the world, ALMA staff have been moving forward on the long road toward recovering the Arrays and resuming science operations. The antennas in the 12-m Array and ACA are in the process of being powered up and inspected one by one to make them ready for science observations. A series of end-to-end tests has now been completed successfully on a subset of antennas.

As a result, ALMA anticipates restarting limited science operations in March 2021 with at least thirty-two antennas on the 12-m array in cofiguration C43-4/C43-5 and at least eight antennas on the 7-m array. During the limited science operations phase, ALMA will also perform test observations on capabilities for future cycles and will continue the recovery of antennas. More details

Operations at the German ARC node

[last update: 12 March 2021]

In light of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, the German ARC node and the hosting universities of Bonn and Cologne have extended their measures against the spread of the corona virus. With all necessary infrastructure maintained with minimum staff on site, most of the staff continue to work efficiently in their home offices.

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

Upcoming community events and user support:
  • March/April: Proposal preparation support - information and practical help with Cycle 8 2021 proposals by means of video tutorials, an online community meeting and one-on-one video chats
  • April-July: Hands-on training in radio interferometric data reduction - a hands-on course via zoom from the basic principles of radio interferometry to practical help with calibration and imaging of ALMA data