Welcome to ALMA and the European ALMA Regional Centre!

ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) is the world's largest ground-based facility for observations in the millimeter/submillimeter regime located on the Chajnantor plateau, 5000 meters altitude in northern Chile. It enables transformational research into the physics of the cold Universe, probes the first stars and galaxies, and directly images the formation of planets. ALMA comprises a giant array of fifty 12-m antennas, which can be configured to achieve baselines up to 16 km. It is equipped with state-of-the-art receivers that cover all the atmospheric windows up to 1 THz. In addition, a compact array of 7-m and 12-m antennas greatly enhance ALMA's ability to image extended sources.

The European ALMA Regional Centre (ARC) provides the interface between the ALMA project and the European science community. It supports its users mainly in the areas of proposal preparation, observation preparation, data reduction, and data analysis.

Below you can read the latest Announcements from the European ARC Network.. More details and up-to-date information can be found in the News section and the ALMA Science Portal.

ALMA is redesigning its user experience - be part of it!

Published: 21 Sep 2020

It has been a while since ALMA antennas have pointed towards the sky. Many of you have used this time to mine the ALMA archive, do great science, think of future projects and contemplate about your past experience with ALMA data and the services, tools and user support offered since Cycle 0.

While the antennas are taking an unanticipated break, ALMA is launching a new global project to Redesign the User eXperience (RedUX). As part of RedUX we will establish focus groups to discuss specific aspects of the ALMA user experience. By volunteering to join a focus group, you can help shape the future of ALMA. If you are interested in contributing to RedUX (and in receiving a small gift at the end of the exercise, as a token of our appreciation for your contribution), please fill in this form. The form is not anonymous, as we need your contact details in order to be able to get in touch with you.

Data delivery of the ALMA Spectroscopic Survey in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (ASPECS)

Published: 20 Sep 2020

The ALMA Spectroscopic Survey in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (ASPECS) is a 3D survey of gas and dust in distant galaxies. It focuses on the best-studied cosmological deep field, the iconic Hubble Ultra Deep Field. Capitalizing on the unparalleled sensitivity of ALMA the ASPECS data unveil reservoirs of molecular gas and dust in galaxies up to redshifts z~4, when the Universe was only 1/8th of today's age. This interstellar medium constitutes the matter out of which stars form, and it is thus a prerequisite of the star formation process, and thus a key driver for galaxy evolution. The ASPECS data - that can be obtained from this page - provide the most sensitive image of the sky at 1.2 mm available to date, disclosing the emission of dust, which is heated up by the star formation.

Comparing B2B and In-Band phase referencing and Calibrator separation angles.

Published: 20 Sep 2020

Based on Extension of Capabilities (EOC) observations made in late 2017, the high-frequency long-baseline (HF-LB) team have recently published work detailing their extensive tests (please see the full article here). The main aim of the work was to compare standard phase referencing, defined as In-Band, with the band-to-band (B2B) technique. The latter technique allows the observatory to calibrate data using a phase calibrator observed at a lower frequency than the target source. The practical reason for B2B is that at higher and higher observing frequencies, quasars, used as phase calibrators become weaker and therefore a sufficiently bright one will often be at a large separation from the science target. This can result in less optimal calibration and imaging, something the team also aimed to clarify. To achieve their aims, the HF-LB team made observations in the In-Band and B2B modes where the modes shared the same close calibrators (within 2 deg of the targets), but also in cases where the In-Band calibrators were chosen to be further away, up to a maximal value of ~11 deg.

2020 August Status of ALMA

Published: 27 Aug 2020

Dear colleagues, 

The COVID-19 pandemic still continues to impact our lives in many ways around the world. The situation in Chile has slightly improved in the Santiago area but not yet improved in the northern area where the ALMA telescope is located. ALMA operations thus remain suspended and the timeline of resuming observations unfortunately remains uncertain. Detailed plans for the safe return to operations have been developed and regular reviews to consider starting the re-opening process of the Observatory have now started. ALMA is currently still in the Caretaker phase with small teams maintaining the safety of the ALMA equipment and infrastructure. As always, the top priority is the health and safety of all our staff.

The ALMA Regional Centers (ARCs) continue to provide support for PIs and users of archival data. The ARCs in particular assist the reduction and analysis of existing data through virtual face-to-face (f2f) support in addition to usual Helpdesk interactions. If you have any questions, want to sign up for a virtual f2f visit, or have comments or concerns related to the situation at ALMA, please contact the ALMA Helpdesk at https://help.almascience.org.

2020 July Status of ALMA

Published: 09 Jul 2020

Dear colleagues,

At this time, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the lives of ALMA staff and users around the world. Although in some of the ALMA regions the situation is slowly improving, in other regions, including Chile, the evolution of the outbreak remains highly uncertain.

Because of the on-going situation in Chile, ALMA operations unfortunately remain suspended. ALMA staff continue to monitor the situation very carefully and work on the development of detailed plans for the return to operations, which will be initiated when the situation allows. We will keep updating the user community on the developments. 

Northern Chile was recently hit by a magnitude 6.8 earthquake. Fortunately this caused no injuries to ALMA staff and no serious damage at the ALMA site. This was followed by extremely high winds, that led to some minor damage at the OSF.

As always, the ALMA Regional Centres provide support to their respective communities, and can assist in the analysis of your data and help with archive research projects. If you have any questions on this, or comments or concerns related to the situation at ALMA, please contact the ALMA Helpdesk at https://help.almascience.org

We wish you, your families and colleagues continued good health and safety.

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