EU ALMA Regional Centre Community Assembly

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.


 I-TRAIN with the European ARC Network

The European ARC Network is initiating I-TRAIN, a regular series of Interactive Training in Reduction and Analysis of INterferometric data. The sessions will cover a wide range of topics of interest to the ALMA user community with the aim to help users gain expertise in working with interferometric data. The duration of each training session will be about one hour, including a live demo and interactive Q&A.

You can find the video of the past I-TRAIN sessions at the European ARC youtube channel and accompanying materials are accessible at the Science Portal I-TRAIN site (including slides, dataset and a compilation of most common questions and issues that arose during the live session).


I-TRAIN #5: Simulating ALMA Observations with the OST

11 March 2021, 11:00 CET
Zoom link]   

 The European ARC Network is offering an online training on simulating observations with the ALMA Observation Support Tool (OST) on Thursday March 11, 2021, 11:00 CET [Zoom link].  The OST allows users to test the effect of differing array configurations, frequency tunings, pointing strategies and weather conditions on imaging (2D or 3D) a sky-model of their choosing. The output images can be used to support the scientific and technical justifications of their ALMA proposals or for comparing model data to existing ALMA observations. In this training session participants will learn how to work with the OST to ensure robust and meaningful ALMA simulations.

No specific preparations will be needed to follow this tutorial in full, the OST is available online at If attendees wish to simulate a sky-model of their favourite target these should be prepared in FITS format following the help documentation here ( Presentation slides will be shared in the Science Portal the day before the session.

The duration of this training session, hosted by the UK ARC node, will be about one hour and will include a live demo and an interactive Q&A session. For questions do not hesitate to contact the UK ARC node at (with subject OST I-TRAIN).

Note: The tutors' presentation will be recorded and an edited version of the recording will be posted in the Science Portal after the session. The interactive Q&A will not be recorded.


ALMA Regional Centre Community Assembly - December 18th, 11:00

The European ALMA Regional Centre invites all European ALMA users to a virtual community assembly on December 18 at 11:00 CET, following the pre-announcement for Cycle 8 2021, scheduled for December 17. At this community meeting, the ALMA director will present the latest on the Return to Operations. You will then be presented with the timeline for the Call for Proposals, the capabilities and changes in the reviewing process for Cycle 8 2021. Finally, you will have the opportunity to ask your questions on all the above in a dedicated Q&A session.

Reserve the date: 18 December at 11:00 CET. The meeting can be accessed at this link. Looking forward to seeing you then!


ALMA Regional Centre Community Assembly - October 8th, 10:00

The European ALMA Regional Centre invites all European ALMA users to a short virtual community assembly on October 8 at 10:00 CEST. After a long period of suspended science observing, there is now a path towards getting back on sky and collecting science data with ALMA again. At this community meeting, we will update you on the time line for recovery and can answer any questions you may have on your ALMA projects and support from the European ARC network.

Reserve the date: 8 October at 10:00 CEST. The meeting can be accessed at this link. Looking forward to seeing you then!


ALMA Cycle 7 Observations Suspended due to COVID-19!

March 20, 2020 - Due to the COVID-19 outbreak that has spread also to Chile, the ALMA Director has made the decision to suspend science operations with ALMA. This decision has been taken to protect the safety of ALMA staff, many of whom travel long distances by bus and by plane to reach the remote ALMA site in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile.

A reduced staff will be retained at the Operation Support Facility (OSF) to maintain the safety of the ALMA equipment and infrastructure. All other staff will be working remotely for the immediate future. The plan is to continue providing data processing, data archive services, and ARC support, including the Cycle 8 Call for Proposals while external conditions allow it.

An announcement will be posted when observations are resumed.


Social media

For the very latest updates from the European ALMA node teams, check out our Facebookinstagram and twitter feeds.


February 2020

What's worse than a black hole ? TWO black holes colliding !Galaxy merging is a violent and complex process at the best of time, but when the galaxies each also contain a supermassive black hole, it gets even worse. That's what happening in the case of NGC 6240, which ALMA has observed with a resolution ten times better than previous observations of the the molecular gas. The new data shows a structure quite different to the earlier results. Instead of the anticipated rotating discs, the team found, "a chaotic stream of gas with filaments and bubbles between the black holes. Some of this gas is ejected outwards with speeds up to 500 kilometers per second. We don’t know yet what causes these outflows." More...


The oldest pollution in the Universe Even galaxies, on occasion, can become dark satanic mills, spewing out carbon at prodigious rates. While it's well-known that supernovae are responsible for most of the heavy elements in the Universe, no-one predicted the "diffuse but huge clouds floating in the coal-black Universe" that researchers have discovered with ALMA. The team combined archival observations to reach unprecedented sensitivity that would normally take 20 times longer than typical observations. This means that for the first time, astronomers can now study how such extragalactic pollution spreads through the Universe. More...


Discovering distant dust While galaxies like the Milky Way might form about one Sun-mass star per year, some of the most massive galaxies can form stars thousands of times faster. These star-forming factories are highly dust rich, making them great targets for ALMA given its frequency coverage. But such monsters are rare - to find them, we have to look back far enough to see the Universe when it was much younger. To detect anything at all at such outrageous distances often needs the help of a gravitational lens : an intervening galaxy that magnifies the more distant cosmos through its gravity. For the first time, ALMA has managed to see one of these distant star-forming galaxies without the help of such a lens. More...


Attack of the violent peacocks The Magellanic Clouds are two of the nearest dwarf satellite galaxies orbiting the Milky Way. At first glance they don't look like particularly violent places... until you start to examine their gas. ALMA has studied two spectacular clouds of dense, filamentary molecular gas, believed to be the birthplace of massive stars, both in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Unexpectedly, despite being 150 light years apart, the overall appearance of the clouds is remarkably similar. The researchers belive they may have a common origin as the two Magellanic Clouds are known to be interacting. If so, this is an important link in understanding how galaxy-scale processes affect the fromation of massive stars. More...

October 2019

Witness the power of this fully armed and operational planet formation... thing... in 3D ! For the first time, astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have witnessed 3D motions of gas in a planet-forming disk. At three locations in the disk around a young star called HD 163296, gas is flowing like a waterfall into gaps that are most likely caused by planets in formation. These gas flows have long been predicted and would directly influence the chemical composition of planets atmospheres. This research appears in the latest issue of the journal Nature. “For the first time, we measured the motion of the gas in every possible direction. Rotating around, moving towards or away from the star, and up or downwards in the disk.” More...


How to ensure your black hole grows up big and strong : feed it counter-rotating material Supermassive black holes already existed when the Universe was young, just a billion years after the Big Bang. But how these extreme objects, whose masses are up to billions of times the mass of the Sun, had time to grow so fast, is an outstanding question among astronomers. This new ALMA discovery could provide a clue. “Counter-rotating gas streams are unstable, which means that clouds fall into the black hole faster than they do in a disk with a single rotation direction,” said Impellizzeri. “This could be a way in which a black hole can grow rapidly.” More...



August 2019

How do you weigh a black hole ? Very carefully ! New observations with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) provide an unprecedented close-up view of a swirling disk of cold interstellar gas rotating around a supermassive black hole. This disk lies at the center of NGC 3258, a massive elliptical galaxy about 100 million light-years from Earth. Based on these observations, a team led by astronomers from Texas A&M University and the University of California, Irvine, have determined that this black hole weighs a staggering 2.25 billion solar masses, the most massive black hole measured with ALMA to date. Even accounting for the uncertain distance, this is one of the most highly precise mass measurements for any black hole outside of the Milky Way galaxy. More...


ALMA detects possible dark ancestors of elliptical galaxies ALMA has identified 39 faint galaxies that are not seen with the Hubble Space Telescope’s most in-depth view of the Universe, 10 billion light-years away. They are ten times more numerous than similarly massive but optically–bright galaxies detected with Hubble. The research team assumes that these faint galaxies precede massive elliptical galaxies in the present Universe. However, no significant theories for the evolution of the Universe have predicted such an abundant population of star-forming, dark, massive galaxies. The new ALMA results throw into question our understanding of the early Universe. These results appear in the latest issue of the journal Nature. More....



June 2019

First observations of a circumplanetary disc ALMA has made the first-ever observations of a circumplanetary disk, the planet-girding belt of dust and gas that astronomers believe controls the formation of planets and gives rise to an entire system of moons, like the one found around Jupiter. This young star system, PDS 70, is located approximately 370 light-years from Earth. The ALMA data, combined with the earlier optical and infrared VLT observations, provide compelling evidence that a dusty disk capable of forming multiple moons surrounds the outermost known planet in the system. “For the first time, we can conclusively see the telltale signs of a circumplanetary disk, which helps to support many of the current theories of planet formation,” said Andrea Isella, an astronomer at Rice University in Houston, Texas, and lead author on a paper published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. More...


The earliest galaxy merger ever seen Researchers using ALMA observed the earliest combined signals of oxygen, carbon, and dust from a galaxy in the Universe, 13 billion years ago. By comparing the different signals, the team determined that the galaxy B14-65666 is, in fact, two merging galaxies, making it the earliest example of merging galaxies yet discovered. The research team estimated that the total stellar mass of B14-65666 is less than 10% that of the Milky Way, meaning that it’s in its earliest phases of evolution. Despite its youth, B14-65666 is producing stars 100 times more actively than the Milky Way. Such active star-formation rate is another signature of galactic mergers because the gas compression in colliding galaxies naturally leads to bursty star-formation. More...



April 2019

The first image of a black hole
Event Horizon Telescope researchers reveal that they have succeeded, unveiling the first direct visual evidence of a supermassive black hole and its shadow. The image reveals the black hole at the center of Messier 87, a massive galaxy in the nearby Virgo galaxy cluster. This black hole resides 55 million light-years from Earth and has a mass 6.5-billion times that of the Sun. 
“ALMA is the largest millimeter wave telescope in the world and so was critical in the collaboration,” said ALMA Director Sean Dougherty; “It really helped to ensure high-quality calibration of the data to each of the other telescopes in the array, resulting in the fantastic images from the EHT.” More...



March 2019

A salty young star in Orion
A team of astronomers and chemists using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has detected the chemical fingerprints of sodium chloride (NaCl) and other similar salty compounds emanating from the dusty disk surrounding Orion Source I, a massive, young star in a dusty cloud behind the Orion Nebula. "When we look at the information ALMA has provided, we see about 60 different transitions - or unique fingerprints - of molecules like sodium chloride and potassium chloride coming from the disk. That is both shocking and exciting," said Brett McGuire, a chemist at the NRAO in Charlottesville, Virginia, and co-author on the paper. More...


 Organic molecules around a young star
Astronomers using ALMA have detected various complex organic molecules around the young star V883 Ori. A sudden outburst from this star is releasing molecules from the icy compounds in the planet forming disk. The chemical composition of the disk is similar to that of comets in the modern Solar System. Sensitive ALMA observations enable astronomers to reconstruct the evolution of organic molecules from the birth of the Solar System to the objects we see today. More...


Studying 100,000 star factories in 74 galaxies
PHANGS-ALMA, an unprecedented and ongoing research campaign, is measuring a staggering 100,000 individual stellar nurseries spread throughout 74 galaxies. It has has already amassed a total of 750 hours of observations and given astronomers a much clearer understanding of how the cycle of star formation changes, depending on the size, age, and internal dynamics of each individual galaxy. This campaign is ten- to one-hundred-times more powerful (depending on your parameters) than any prior survey of its kind. More...


ALMA studies a new type of cosmic blast
Astronomers have detected an explosion that's faster than known supernovae, and ALMA has revealed that it's brighter at millimetre wavelengths than other explosive events. The explosion was discovered by the ATLAS all-sky survey system in Hawaii, and immediately got the attention of astronomers. First, it was unusually bright for a supernova explosion - a common source of such outbursts. In addition, it brightened, then faded, much faster than expected. "If it is a supernova, then it is unlike any supernova we have ever seen," Ho said. The object's range of colors, or spectrum, she said, "doesn't t look like a supernova at all." In addition, it was brighter in millimeter waves - those seen by ALMA - than any other supernova. More...



Older news

June 7, 2018

Vývoj režimu slunečních pozorování observatoře ALMA úspěšně dokončen

V aktuálně probíhajícím pozorovacím Cyklu 5 provádějí pracovníci výzkumné infrastruktury EU-ARC.CZ zpracování a kontrolu kvality dat z nedávného pozorování Slunce interferometrem ALMA. More...

May 23, 2018

ALMA Cycle 6 submission statistics available

In the Cycle 6, the demand for using the most advanced radio telescope in the world set a new record, surpassing 1800 proposals. A detailed report of the Cycle 6 Proposal Submission Statistics is now available. More...

May 15, 2018

ALMA Finds Most-Distant Oxygen in the Universe

Astronomers detected a faint but definite signal of oxygen in a galaxy located 13.28 billion light-years away from us, through observations using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). More...

May 3, 2018

ALMA Reaches 1000 Published Papers

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has reached an important milestone with the publication of the 1000th peer-reviewed paper using ALMA data. More...



Vývoj režimu slunečních pozorování observatoře ALMA úspěšně dokončen

June 7, 2018

V aktuálně probíhajícím pozorovacím Cyklu 5 největšího astronomického přístroje současnosti – radiového interferometru ALMA – provádějí pracovníci výzkumné infrastruktury EU-ARC.CZ zpracování a kontrolu kvality dat z nedávného pozorování Slunce. Zredukovaná data zobrazená metodou interferometrické syntézy poté budou prostřednictvím centrály Evropského regionálního centra ALMA (EU ARC) se sídlem v ESO v Garchingu u Mnichova odeslána vedoucím jednotlivých pozorovacích projektů, kteří následně začnou s jejich vědeckou analýzou. Pozorování Slunce nabízí observatoř ALMA odborné veřejnosti teprve ve druhém pozorovacím cyklu. Na přípravě tohoto speciálního režimu pracoval několik let mezinárodní tým Solar ALMA Development Team složený ze zástupců ESO, severoamerické NRAO a japonské NAOJ. Výzkumná infrastruktura EU-ARC.CZ v něm jakožto jediný uzel evropské sítě ALMA s expertizou v oblasti slunečních radiových pozorování zastupovala celou Evropu. V roce 2015 také EU-ARC.CZ získala od ESO podporu v podobě projektu typu Enhancement and Optimization of (ALMA) Capabilities s názvem Solar Research with ALMA. Tento projekt byl úspěšně dokončen na konci loňského roku a celkový přínos evropského zastoupení pod vedením EU-ARC.CZ k vývoji slunečního pozorovacího režimu získal od oponentního panelu velice kladné hodnocení. Článek shrnující vývoj speciálního režimu, který umožnil observatoři ALMA pozorovat Slunce, vyšel v aktuálním vydání časopisu ESO The Messenger (číslo 171, 2018).

Celý článek vyšel na

Testovací pozorovací kampaň pro ověření procedur slunečního režimu na observatoři ALMA v Chile v letech 2014 a 2015. Zúčastnění členové z mezinárodního týmu Solar ALMA Development Team (nahoře). Ukázky získaných dat (tzv. Science Verification data) – interferometrický obrázek slunečního filamentu na frekvenci 100GHz a jeho srovnání s daty z přístroje AIA na sondě Solar Dynamic Observatory (vlevo dole); interferometrický detail sluneční skvrny na frekvenci 240GHz (třetí panel dole); mapa Slunce získaná metodou rychlého skenování jednou TP anténou na frekvenci 100GHz (vpravo dole).



ALMA Cycle 6 submission statistics available

May 23, 2018

In the Cycle 6, the demand for using the most advanced radio telescope in the world set a new record, surpassing 1800 proposals. A detailed report of the Cycle 6 Proposal Submission Statistics is now available. The report provides a summary of items such as the number of submitted proposals and time requested, subscription rates, and comparisons with the number of hours requested in previous Cycles. The new cycle begins in October this year and ends in September 2019. 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. The science ranking process will take place in Tokyo, Japan, between June 18-23.


Number of Submitted Proposals and Time Requested:


Time requested (hours)






All proposals

1838 19,696 10,941 7117

ACA standalone

112 - 3672 1523

Large programs

18 1830 1603 1315


101 1015 - -


32 124 124 124


23 203 29 0

VLBI (3mm)

9 69 - -

VLBI (1mm)

11 138 - -

 Subscription Rates:



North America

East Asia



12-m array

6.2 4.3 4.5 3.0 4.9

7-m array

4.2 3.3 3.1 3.0 3.6


2.6 2.1 2.9 1.1 2.4


ALMA Finds Most-Distant Oxygen in the Universe

May 15, 2018


Astronomers detected a faint but definite signal of oxygen in a galaxy located 13.28 billion light-years away from us, through observations using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). Breaking their records, this marks the most distant oxygen ever detected in the Universe. Referencing infrared observations, the team determined that star formation in the galaxy started at an unexpectedly early stage: 250 million years after the Big Bang.

"I was thrilled to see the signal of the most distant oxygen,” explains Takuya Hashimoto, the lead author of the research paper published in the journal Nature and a researcher at Osaka Sangyo University and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan.“This detection pushes back the frontiers of the observable Universe."

This image shows the galaxy cluster MACS J1149.5+2223 taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and the inset image is the galaxy MACS1149-JD1 located 13.28 billion light-years away observed with ALMA. Here, the oxygen distribution detected with ALMA is depicted in green. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, W. Zheng (JHU), M. Postman (STScI), the CLASH Team, Hashimoto et al.



ALMA Reaches 1000 Published Papers

May 3, 2018

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has reached an important milestone with the publication of the 1000th peer-reviewed paper using ALMA data. The paper was Spatial variations in Titan’s atmospheric temperature: ALMA and Cassini comparisons from 2012 to 2015 by Alexander E. Thelen et al. — which presents a detailed investigation of the atmospheric temperature of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan.

ALMA, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, reached an important milestone in April 2018 with the publication of the 1000th peer-reviewed paper using ALMA data. The paper was Spatial variations in Titan's atmospheric temperature: ALMA and Cassini comparisons from 2012 to 2015 by Alexander E. Thelen et al. — which presents a detailed investigation of the atmospheric temperature of Saturn's largest moon, Titan. This plot shows the growth of ALMA papers through the years since science operations began. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)