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 a recent 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

Supplemental Call for Proposals to use the ALMA 7-m Array in Cycle 4

The ALMA Director announces that the Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) will accept observing proposals that request to use the 7-m Array in the remainder of Cycle 4, which ends on 30 September 2017. This proposal call enables the community to propose projects that will fill in undersubscribed regions of the observing queue for the 7-m Array. Up to 800 hours on the 7-m Array will be allocated through this opportunity.

Proposals must be compatible with the capabilities listed in the ALMA Cycle 4 Call for Proposals, with the following restrictions:

  1. Proposals for this special call will be accepted only for the 7-m Array in stand-alone mode. Proposals that request the Total Power (TP) Array or the 12-m Array will be declined.
  2. A proposal may request up to 50 hours of observing time on the 7-m Array. We encourage large time requests within this limit.
  3. Proposals will be accepted in Bands 3, 4, 6, and 7 for any LST, except between LST of 15h and 20h in Bands 6 and 7. The largest amount of time available in any band is at an LST of >22h and <13h.
  4. Only proposals that request standard modes are permitted, as defined in the ALMA Cycle 4 Proposer's Guide.

Proposals can be submitted starting 21 April, 2017 and will be reviewed as they are received. Instructions on how to submit a proposal through the ALMA Observing Tool (OT) will be made available on the ALMA Science Portal on 21 April. Proposals can be submitted at any time up until the end of Cycle 4 or until the available time has been fully allocated. An announcement will be posted on the ALMA Science Portal when this opportunity closes.

For comprehensive information of this Supplemental Call for Proposals, please consult the corresponding ALMA Science Portal page.

Training opportunity: "Radio Interferometry: Methods and Science"

The course Radio Interferometry: Methods and Science is organized by the German ARC node and 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 a hands-on tutorial, where participants learn how to reduce interferometric data with the Common Astronomy Software Applications (CASA) package.

The German ARC node offers remote access to the lectures and tutorials on a best-efforts basis. All registered remote participants have received information about the setup and the upcoming system test. If you would like to follow the course from a remote location, but have not contacted us at arc[at] so far, please do so before 10 April 2017.

ALMA Community Days 2017

Update (06-04-2017): Both events have taken place. Thanks to all participants for your interest and feedback!

The next Call for Proposals for observing time with ALMA (Cycle 5) will be issued in March 2017. The deadline for proposals is expected to be on 20 April 2017, with observations starting in October 2017. For more details, please see the ALMA Cycle 5 Pre-announcement and the Additional Information for Cycle 5 Proposals.

To prepare the local astronomical community for the Cycle 5 proposal deadline, the German ARC node organizes ALMA Community Days at the Argelander-Institut für Astronomie in Bonn on 27/28 March 2017 and at the Center for Space and Habitability in Bern on 03 April 2017 in collaboration with the hosting institutes. While these events are open to all ALMA users and prospective ALMA users, preference will be given to astronomers from the local community (Germany, Austria, Switzerland).

German ALMA Community Days (Bonn, 27/28 March 2017)
In Bonn, 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 hands-on tutorials where participants can learn how to use the ALMA-OT and/or prepare their own ALMA proposals with technical support from ARC node staff.

Swiss ALMA Community Day (Bern, 03 April 2017)
In Bern, the Community Day starts with an introduction to the basic radio astronomical concepts and terminology, followed by practical information on ALMA, its capabilities and procedures. In the afternoon, two hands-on tutorials provide an introduction to the ALMA-OT and an opportunity to discuss proposal drafts with the experts from the German ARC node.

ALMA Cycle 5 Call for Proposals is now open

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 5 Call for Proposals (CfP) for scientific observations to be scheduled from October 2017 to September 2018. It is anticipated that 4000 hours of the 12-m Array time and 3000 hours of the Atacama Compact Array (ACA) time, also known as the Morita Array, will be available for successful proposals from Principal Investigators (PIs) in Cycle 5. Proposals must be prepared and submitted using the ALMA Observing Tool (OT), which is available for download from the ALMA Science Portal. Proposals will be assessed by competitive peer review by a single international review committee.

The ALMA Cycle 5 proposal submission opens at 15:00 UT on Tuesday, 21 March 2017.

The ALMA Cycle 5 proposal submission deadline is 15:00 UT on Thursday, 20 April 2017.

ALMA provides continuum and spectral line capabilities for wavelengths from 0.32 mm to 3.6 mm, and angular resolutions from 0.018 arcsec to 3.4 arcsec on the 12-m Array. Cycle 5 will bring to ALMA several new observational capabilities, including full polarization observations in Band 4, baselines out to 16 km and simultaneous observations between the 12-m and 7-m Arrays. Starting in March 2018, also as part of Cycle 5, ALMA will offer observations in Band 5 (proposals for the latter observations are due at the regular Cycle 5 submission deadline).

For comprehensive information of this Cycle 5 Call for Proposals please consult the ALMA Science Portal.

Additional information for Cycle 5 proposals

On 01 February 2017, additional information regarding Cycle 5 proposals has been released on the ALMA Science Portal. The news item includes information on the following issues:
- Update on the availability of Band 5
- Reclassification of 16 km baselines as a standard mode
- Cycle 5 configuration schedule
- Information for preparing Large Programs
Complete details will be provided in the Call for Proposals, which will be released on the ALMA Science Portal on 21 March 2017.

Solar SV data now available

New Science Verification data are now available from the Science Verification web page.

This data release contains observations of the Sun obtained during the Solar commissioning campaigns in 2014 and 2015, including mosaics and single pointing observations in Band 3 and 6 with the 12m, 7m and total power arrays. A CASA Guide tutorial is available that describes the basic reduction steps for Solar observations.

3mm VLBI in ALMA Cycle 5

It is expected that phased ALMA will participate in some 3mm VLBI (GMVA) observations during ALMA Cycle 5 (Oct 1 2017 - Sept 30 2018). ALMA will not be in a configuration suitable for VLBI during GMVA Session II 2017. GMVA session dates during Cycle 5 are not yet fixed, but Session I in 2018, which is likely to be in March or April, should provide an opportunity for GMVA + ALMA observing. GMVA Session II in Fall 2018 may also overlap with ALMA Cycle 5 in a configuration suitable for VLBI.

Any 3mm VLBI proposal requesting phased ALMA during Cycle 5 must be submitted via the NRAO PST at the February 1, 2017 deadline!

For details on the expected capabilities and limitations in Cycle 5 and on the resubmission of ALMA Cycle 4 proposals, please see the 3mm VLBI announcement at the Science Portal. If you have any questions regarding this observing opportunity or mm-VLBI in general, please do not hesitate to contact us at arc[at] or via the helpdesk.

ALMA Cycle 5 Pre-announcement

The next ALMA cycle of observing (Cycle 5) will start in October 2017 and and span 12 months. A Call for Proposals will be issued in March 2017, with a deadline for proposal submission in April 2017. A pre-announcement has been released on the ESO Science Portal on 16 December 2016 including useful information for proposal planning.

The anticipated capabilities in Cycle 5:
- at least 43 antennas in the 12-m Array, as well as at least 10 7-m antennas and 3 12-m antennas in the ACA.
- receiver bands 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10
- maximum baselines will vary from 0.15 km to 16 km for bands 3, 4, 5, and 6
- NEW: band 4 polarization
- NEW: band 5 observations

Key dates for Cycle 5:
- 21 March 2017 Release of the ALMA Cycle 5 Call for Proposals and Observing Tool, and opening of archive for proposal submission
- 20 April 2017 Proposal deadline
- End of July 2017 Result of the proposal review sent to Proposers
- 15 September 2017 Submission of Phase 2 by Proposers
- October 2017 Start of ALMA Cycle 5 observations
- September 2018 End of Cycle 5 observations

Please see the corresponding news item for more details.