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, 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

Highlights der Physik in Bonn

  • The 19th edition of the science festival "Highlights der Physik" will take place in Bonn on 16-21 September 2019. This year's theme is "Show yourself! Making the invisible visible".
    The core of the science festival is a hands-on exhibition on the Münsterplatz with approximately 50 exhibits on physics and astronomy. Scientists from Bonn and other parts of Germany will be available for questions, explanations and discussions. There are 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. Admission to all events is free.


    The German ARC node welcomes visitors at exhibition stand B12, putting a spot on ALMA and the principle of radio interferometry. An interactive model of ALMA invites the public to define a configuration, conduct their own interferometric observations and view the resulting images in real time. We look forward to seeing you there!
    Further information can be found here.

Cycle 7 ACA Supplemental Call for Proposals now open

  • The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) is now accepting observing proposals for Cycle 7 that request to use the Atacama Compact Array (ACA) in stand-alone mode. Proposals accepted in the Cycle 7 Supplemental Call will receive priority Grade C and will have lower priority than ACA proposals accepted in the Cycle 7 Main Call. The proposals will be scheduled for observations between January 2020 and September 2020. 2500 hours are anticipated to be scheduled for the proposals accepted in the Supplemental Call.


    The deadline for submission is Tuesday, 01 October 2019, 15:00 UT.


    Instructions on how to submit proposals can be found here


    Please note that the Observing Tool (OT) has been updated on 10 September. If you would like to submit a proposal in response to this call, you need to use this latest version. For most users, the update will happen automatically using the automated webstart tool. Information on updating the OT manually is available here


  • Proposals submitted in the Supplemental Call will be peer reviewed using a distributed system in which each proposal team selects a designated reviewer to participate in the review process. The review process is described in detail here


ACA observatory filler programs in Cycle 6

  • In order to fill a gap in the ACA observing schedule in June/July 2019 during Cycle 6 six filler programs have been approved on the Atacama Compact Array (ACA). The programs were selected based on input from scientists at the Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) and the ALMA Regional Centers (ARCs).


    The data will be quality assessed by ALMA and released through the ALMA Science Archive with no proprietary period. An overview of all the approved programs can be found here


    Priority will be given to any remaining Cycle 6 PI science projects and activities to commission new capabilities on the array. In addition, starting in August 2019, ALMA has begun observing approved PI ACA Standalone projects from the Cycle 7 main call. Therefore, the above mentioned observatory programs may not be completed in full


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


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. This service will become available on 1 October 2019. For a description how to request calibrated data, please go here .


ALMA Cycle 7: Submission Statistics now available

  • A detailed report of the Cycle 7 Proposal Submission Statistics is now available as a pdf-document. A total of 1785 proposal, slightly fewer than in the previous Cycle, were submitted. These proposals requested over 19,000 hours observing on the 12m array with the median requested 12m array program length of 8.9h (excluding large proposals). Bands 3, 6 and 7 were the most requested bands this cycle. Oversubscription rates vary between Europe, North America, East Asia and Chile, with Europe having rates of 5.8, 3.2 and 2.3 on the 12m array, 7m array and total power telescopes, respectively. These are again slightly lower than in Cycle 6.

Training opportunity for Radio Interferometry: Methods and Science

  • Now in its eighth year of operations, ALMA produces on average about 700 GB/night of high-quality astronomical data. While the investigative teams of successful ALMA projects are busy with the primary goals of their proposals, the ALMA archive turns into a goldmine for those knowledgeable in the art and craft of radio interferometry.
  • The Master-level course "Radio Interferometry: Methods and Science", organized and conducted by the German ARC node, offers hands-on training in the data reduction and analysis of interferometric data for Master students, PhD students and senior astronomers. The course starts with a brief review of the basic concepts of radio interferometry including calibration and imaging. Then the various steps necessary to create fully calibrated data cubes from interferometric raw data are discussed. Already during the lectures, the participants can practice the individual steps on their copy of an ALMA data set, using powerful compute servers and the versatile Common Astronomy Software Applications (CASA) package. In the final sessions, the participants learn how to analyze their interferometric data and what additional considerations are required for special research topics like polarization studies.
  • The German ARC node offers remote access to the course via a dedicated zoom video session, which the participants can join without charge and from a variety of platforms. If you would like to follow the course at your home institution, please contact us before 31 March 2019 at arc[at]astro.uni-bonn.de. For more information, please see the course homepage and/or contact arc[at]astro.uni-bonn.de


Cycle 7 Call for Proposals and Proposal Preparation Support

  • The ALMA Director, on behalf of the Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) and the partner organizations in East Asia, Europe, and North America, is pleased to announce the ALMA Cycle 7 Call for Proposals. The Cycle 7 proposal submission deadline is 15:00 UT on Wednesday, 17 April 2019.

    More information on the Call for Proposals and links to the corresponding documentation can be found here.


  • As a service to the local astronomical community, the German ARC node organizes a series of ALMA proposal preparation tutorials as well as video sessions using zoom, which the participants can join without charge and from a variety of platforms. The tutorials cater to astronomers with different levels of expertise, ranging from an introduction to the necessary terminology for non-radio astronomers to a concise overview of ALMA's capabilities in Cycle 7 for experienced ALMA users.
  • Prospective ALMA users are very welcome to follow up the tutorials in one-on-one chats with experienced ARC node staff during our virtual drop-in proposal clinic and/or by visiting the node for further face-to-face interaction and one-on-one help with their proposals.


ALMA Configuration Schedule: Cycles 7, 8 and 9

  • To assist ALMA proposers in their three-year science goals, the planned ALMA configuration schedule can be accessed here .
  • For the next three years, the C-1 (max. baseline of 0.16 km) through C-8 (max. baseline of 8.5 km) configurations will be available, while C-9 and C-10 will be offered during Cycles 7 and 9 only. The final schedule depends on the results of the proposal review process.


GMVA and ALMA

  • The phased ALMA is expected to participate in GMVA observations during ALMA Cycle 7 (October 2019 - September 2020). An introduction to this special observing mode is available at: guidelineCyc7 . If you consider applying for time with GMVA+ALMA, please note carefully the special proposing procedure and proposal deadlines: - Any GMVA proposal including ALMA must be submitted via the NRAO Proposal Submission Tool (PST) before the GMVA deadline on *01 February 2019.*
  • In addition, a separate proposal must be submitted to ALMA via the ALMA Observing Tool (ALMA-OT) before the deadline on 19 April 2018.
    For detailed information on capabilities, restrictions and resubmissions, please refer to the ALMA announcement ( announcement here) or to the GMVA Call for Proposals ( GMVA_Call_Feb2019 ).


Radio Interferometer and Single-Dish Data Combination Workshop

  • Improving Image Fidelity on Astronomical Data: Radio Interferometer and Single-Dish Data Combination

    Lorentz Center at Oort, Leiden, The Netherlands, 12-16 August 2019
    If you are interested in participating, please register by 1 May 2019 via the workshop webpage.
  • Many areas in astronomy require the combination of millimetre/radio interferometric and single-dish observations to recover scientific physical information over a large range of spatial scales. However, the combination process poses a number of severe technical challenges. In this workshop, we aim to understand, compare, and test the various methods of data combination. We will convene the leading experts in interferometry and single-dish combination techniques across the world, with participants with a wide range in experience with interferometry and single-dish data, and data combination. In addition to scientific talks, the workshop also includes technical talks covering the various techniques and a number of hands-on sessions to test and work on the different combination methods.
  • The Lorentz Center at Oort venue is located at the Faculty of Science campus of Leiden University. This workshop has no registration fees, and accommodation can be arranged at the nearby hotel 'Van der Valk Hotel Leiden' at a special rate (89 Euro per night, including breakfast and taxes). A poster of the event can be found here


CASA Imaging Issues Affecting Some ALMA Products

  • Over the course of the last several months an issue in CASA mosaic imaging was recognized. The ALMA observatory decided to characterize the issue first before informing the user community. The CASA team has now identified a couple of issues using both the 7-m and 12-m arrays over the course of the past few cycles and CASA releases. The full extent of the data affected is still being investigated. A review of the mosaicing issues in CASA can be found here.
  • PIs experiencing problems in accessing their data as a result of these investigations are welcome to contact their supporting ARC node.


Radio 2018 Symposium: Jena, 24 - 26 October 2018

  • This fall, the German ARC node invited the German radio astronomical community to gather at the Radio 2018 meeting in Jena on 24-27 October 2018. The meeting was jointly organized by the GLOW consortium and the German ARC node. On Wednesday 24 October the ALMA town hall meeting took place, in addition to the GLOW LOFAR Working Group meeting and the GLOW consortium meeting.


ALMA Cycle 6: Proposal Submission Statistics and Review Results

  • A detailed report of the Cycle 6 Proposal Submission Statistics is now available as a pdf-document. The report summarizes among others the number of submitted proposals and time requested, subscription rates, and comparisons with the number of hours requested in previous Cycles.
  • The outcome of the ALMA Cycle 6 Proposal Review Process is now available as a pdf-document. The report describes the proposal review process, proposal statistics and regional distributions, as well as the proposal distribution across science categories and receiver bands.
  • A list of the highest priority projects in Cycle 6 can be found here.