Welcome to the homepage of the German 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 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:

German ARC node newsletter

If you wish to stay informed about the latest ALMA developments, calls for proposals, data releases, conferences/workshops and other information relevant to the German ALMA community, please subscribe to the DARC newsletter or visit the archive of the newsletter. More information on the newsletter such as a short description and an alternative way of subscribing to it can be found here.

Recent News

Radio Interferometry: Methods and Science

The course "Radio Interferometry: Methods and Science", held in English at the university of Bonn in April-July 2016, offers a hands-on overview of major aspects of radio/mm/submm interferometry for master students, PhD students and senior astronomers. The lectures start with a general introduction to radio interferometry and data reduction, followed by an overview of various fields of research and the special observing modes that they require, given by experts of the respective fields. The latest developments of selected world-leading radio/mm/submm interferometers will be presented as well.
The course also comprises hands-on tutorials, where participants learn how to reduce interferometric data with the widely used astronomical software packages AIPS and CASA.
Master students enrolled at the universities of Bonn and Cologne can take this course for credit. Other students and senior astronomers interested in the topic are very welcome to attend as well. We will offer remote access to the lectures and tutorials on a best efforts basis. Remote connections are in general possible to any European astronomical institutes, however, preference will be given to institutes from the local community (Germany, Austria, Switzerland). If you would like to follow the course from a remote location, please contact us before 1 April.
More information will be posted here by late January.

Pre-announcement: German ALMA Community Days 2016

The next Call for Proposals for observing time with ALMA (Cycle 4) will be issued in March 2016. The deadline for proposals is expected to be on 21 April 2016, with observations starting in October 2016 (for more details, please see the pre-announcement below). To prepare the local astronomical community for Cycle 4, the German ARC node organizes the German ALMA Community Days 2016 at the Argelander-Institut für Astronomie in Bonn on 6-8 April 2016. The first day will feature an introduction to the basic radio astronomical concepts and terminology for non-radio astronomers. The second day will be devoted to practical information on ALMA-related tools and procedures including a hands-on tutorial on the ALMA proposal tool. Participants are encouraged to stay for a third day (8 April) to start preparing their own ALMA proposals with technical support from ARC node staff. While this event is open to all ALMA users and prospective ALMA users, preference will be given to astronomers from the local community (Germany, Austria, Switzerland).
More information will be posted here by late January.

ALMA Cycle 4 pre-announcement

the Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) has made a pre-announcement for ALMA in Cycle 4. The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) will start this next cycle of observing in October 2016. A Call for Proposals with detailed information on Cycle 4 will be issued in March 2016, with a deadline for proposal submission in April 2016. New capabilities in Cycle 4 include ACA stand-alone mode, large programs, millimetre-wavelength VLBI, and solar observations.
The full Cycle 4 pre-announcement can be found here.

Start of European ARC Announcements

As a complement to local and European-wide newsletters, announcements relevant to the ALMA user community in Europe are now posted at the new European ARC Announcements. EU ARC Announcements are published right after they have been received and provide the community with up-to-date ALMA Science and ALMA Programme news, information related to data reduction and tools (e.g. CASA), and others.

First Cycle 3 data delivered to PIs

On 11 November 2015, the EU ARC delivered the first science data (a ToO observation) of Cycle 3 to PIs. This came closely after the release of the new CASA version 4.5 on 29 October 2015 which is needed to process Cycle 3 data.

ALMA Cycle 3 Proposal Review

A detailed report on the outcome of the ALMA Early Science Cycle 3 Proposal Review Process is now available. The report details the proposal review process, proposal statistics and regional distributions, the proposal distribution across science categories and receiver bands, as well as the anticipated observing pressure as a function of LST and configuration. The report can be downloaded as a pdf document. The highest-priority projects of Cycle 3 (and some filler projects) are listed here.

User's Guide to ALMA Scheduling Blocks (Cycle 3)

Congratulations to all ALMA users whose proposals have been accepted as highest-priority or filler projects in Cycle 3!

For the next phase of your ALMA projects, A User's Guide to ALMA Scheduling Blocks (Cycle 3) has been prepared to help you with checking the scheduling blocks. While this document is not indended to replace a discussion with your contact scientist, all PIs with an accepted Cycle 3 proposal are encouraged to read this short document before reviewing their scheduling blocks.

Release of new ALMA Test data

A new installment of ALMA Test data is now available. This release contains data on Pluto taken in Support of the NASA New Horizons Mission. These data were taken as test data and contain basic scripts for calibration and imaging. Five epochs of data are being released at this time:
Nov 25, 2013 uid___A002_X740d04_X50
Apr 19, 2014 uid___A002_X7f618d_X124b
Apr 22, 2014 uid___A002_X7fa1e9_X120f
Jul 11, 2014 uid___A002_X867766_X339
Jul 15, 2014 uid___A002_X86b751_X4e6
The major goal of the observations were to determine the position and parallax of the Pluto system. Each observation consisted primarily of phase referencing observations between the calibrator J1911-2006 and Pluto with a secondary calibrator J1924-2105. The phase cycle time was about 7 min, with 5.5 min scan on Pluto, and the total experiment extent was 80 min. The longest baseline was about 500 m. Four spw's were used, each of 2 GHz, centered at 336, 338, 348, 350 GHz (ALMA Band 7). The strong calibrator J1924-2914 was used as the bandpass calibrator and the absolute flux density calibrator.
The ADMS and data reduction scripts are available in the Commissioning Test Data section on the ALMA Science Portal Science Verification page.

ALMA Lunch Meeting - AG Tagung 2015

Representatives of the German ARC node were present at the annual meeting of the German Astronomical Society in Kiel on September 14-18. In addition, we organized an ALMA Lunch Meeting for all ALMA users and prospective ALMA users in room A of the Auditorim Maximum on Friday, September 18, 2015. The goals of this meeting were to update (prospective) ALMA users on the status and latest developments of ALMA, to foster the communication between the ARC node and the local (sub-)mm community, and in general to offer a platform for experienced and prospective ALMA users for discussion and networking. For further information, please go to the homepage of our ALMA Lunch Meeting 2015.

Cycle 3 proposal review process completed

The review of the 1578 science proposals submitted for ALMA Early Science Cycle 3 has been completed. The Proposal Review meeting took place in Osaka, Japan, in June involving 97 science assessors from around the world, who evaluated the expected scientific value of these proposals. A total of 401 highly ranked projects were selected for observing in Cycle 3. The Principal Investigators have been notified of the outcome in mid-August. For more information, please go to this public announcement.

ALMA status report: August 2015

An ALMA status report for August 2015 is available as a pdf document at the Science Portal. The report summarizes the status of Cycle 2 Early Science observations, including Cycle 1 Transfer projects, as of Aug 2015 including events since the last Status Update. It includes a summary of observing progress, Cycle 1 and 2 project completion statistics, a description of the actions that are being taken for project components that are no longer eligible to be scheduled, progress on data reduction and delivery, a summary of the Cycle 3 submitted proposals and user survey, the status of the commissioning effort called Extension and Optimization of Capabilities (EOC), and preparations for Cycle 4.

Results of the ALMA Cycle 3 user survey

The fourth ALMA user survey was conducted between the 01 May and 01 June 2015. A total of 536 users (representing 15% of the users who were sent the questionnaire and 44% of the Cycle 3 PIs) responded to the survey. This survey focused on topics related to proposal preparation and submission, including the interaction with the ARC/ARC nodes for ALMA proposal preparation or the usability of tools such as the ALMA science portal or the helpdesk.
Overall, the users showed a relatively high level of satisfaction. On a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being best and 5 being worst), the overall satisfaction across all ALMA regions was rated better than 2.5 for all the topics. The highest rate was given to the ARC/ARC nodes support for proposal preparation, with an average rate of 1.27, followed by the helpdesk response time and usability with rates of 1.75 and 1.77, respectively. On the other side, the lowest rate was given to the usefulness of the OT template library and the easiness to find information in the science portal, with average rates of 2.5. A summary of the average and median rates for each topic is shown below (note that the scale is 0.5 to 4.5 in the table for plotting purposes). A more extensive report of the results is available to interested users upon request.
In addition to the overall ratings the users provided numerous comments related to the tools used for proposal preparation and submission. These comments are currently undergoing analysis and will be taken into account to improve the tools and procedures in future cycles.
The ALMA observatory sincerely thanks all users that took the time to answer this survey and provide valuable comments.