Status update for the ALMA telescope

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

Allegro continues to actively provide support to our users. Don’t hesitate to e-mail us in case of questions or concerns.

Status update for ALMA Cycles 7 & 8

The ALMA Director, with support from all Executives and the ALMA Board, has taken the following recent decisions regarding the status of Cycle 7 and Cycle 8:

  • The start of ALMA Cycle 8 has been postponed until 2021 October. It is anticipated that the Cycle 8 Call for Proposals will open again in 2021 March.
  • ALMA Cycle 7 will continue through 2021 September, with currently non-completed projects ranked A, B and C remaining in the observing queue.

There remain many questions outstanding regarding resuming observations and accepting future proposals during these uncertain times.  ALMA is working on these questions and will provide a next update to the community in the coming weeks.

Allegro continues to actively provide support to our users. Don’t hesitate to e-mail us in case of questions or concerns.

Suspension of ALMA Cycle 8 Call for Proposals

The COVID-19 crisis has continued to affect the global community, including ALMA users and staff. ALMA operations remain suspended, as announced on March 20. Under these difficult and unprecedented circumstances, the ALMA Director, with support from all Executives, has decided to suspend the submission of Cycle 8 proposals until further notice. The Cycle 8 proposal submission server will be closed as of 15:00UT on Friday, 17 April, 2020.

ALMA Executives appreciate the community has worked hard on new science ideas for Cycle 8, even under such difficult conditions. They also realize the work the community has done in generating an exciting Cycle 7 observing program. At this time, the first priority is the health and well-being of the global community. New timelines for Cycle 7 and Cycle 8 will be announced on the Science Portal in the coming weeks as the global situation evolves.

Allegro continues to actively provide support to our users. Don’t hesitate to e-mail us in case of questions or concerns.

Extension of Proprietary Times

Due to the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on the global astronomical community, the ALMA Director has made the following decision regarding proprietary times of ALMA data sets.

The proprietary period of all MOUSs that have been delivered to principle investigators (PIs), but have not become public by 19 March 2020, will be extended by three months. This implies that the proprietary period of all these ALMA data will effectively be set to 15 months, or nine months for DDT projects. 19 March was the last day that ALMA was observing before Cycle 7 observations were suspended.

For data sets that already reached the end of the proprietary time between March 19 and today, the proprietary time will be reinstated and extended for an additional 3 months. Please be aware that ALMA cannot guarantee that these data sets have not already been downloaded by archive users.

PIs of data sets that do not fall in the category defined above, who feel that their ability to work on their data within the regular proprietary period is impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, are requested to submit a ticket to the “Proprietary Period Extension Requests” Department of the ALMA Helpdesk. ALMA will handle these requests in a fair and lenient manner as we are committed to support our users as much as possible during this stressful time.

Updates on this policy may be posted on the Science Portal in the future.

Don’t hesitate to e-mail Allegro in case of questions or concerns.

ALMA Proposal Preparation Day (online material)

IMPORTANT UPDATE: The ALMA Director, along with the regional partners, have decided to delay the proposal deadline for the ALMA Cycle 8 Call for Proposals to NO EARLIER than 15 UT on 19 May, 2020. Therefore, Allegro has decided to postpone the Proposal Preparation Workshop of March 26 to a later date, approximately 3 weeks before the actual deadline (when this is decided).

For those who want to get started on their ALMA proposal still on the original schedule, we are providing a series of pre-recorded presentations:

which can be found below or on our YouTube channel.

Everyone is encouraged to e-mail Allegro with any questions that they may have after watching these presentations. We will answer all questions, either by e-mail or via an online session, and also collect Frequently Asked Questions in a constantly updated document. For your convenience, we have also created a toolbox with useful links to help you prepare your proposal.

We would like to highlight the possibility to submit Large Programs on both the main array (>50 hours) and ACA stand-alone (>150 hours). PIs who are considering a Large Program are encouraged to contact Allegro early to optimize your program and explore the many ways we can support your project.


 1. Welcome & ALMA Cycle 8 Capabilities (pdf file)

 2. Dual-Anonymous Proposal Review (pdf file)

 3. ALMA Observing Tool

Part 1/4: Introduction – download & installation (0:32), create a new proposal (3:13),
proposal information (4:50), proposal types (10:50)

Part 2/4: Science Goal Generation – general (2:30), field setup (3:30)

Part 3/4: Spectral Setup – continuum setup (1:30), spectral line setup (7:40)

Part 4/4: Calibration & Performance – synthesized beam (1:00), bandwidth for sensitivity (8:50),
technical justification (12:25), proposal summary (15:00), validation (19:30)

 4. Simulating ALMA Observations (pdf file)

Please don’t hesitate to e-mail us if you have questions, concerns, or need support. We would be happy to set up a remote meeting with you via a video link or other remote means.


You can register for the Proposal Preparation Day at the following link.

Name Institution
Michiel Hogerheijde Leiden Observatory
Alvaro Hacar Leiden Observatory
Andres Perez-Sanchez Leiden Observatory
Aida Ahmadi Leiden Observatory
Alex Hygate Leiden Observatory
Lizette Guzman Leiden Observatory
Christian Ginski University of Amsterdam
Umit Kavak SRON/Kapteyn Astronomical Institute
Sarah K Leslie Leiden Observatory
Kimberly Emig Leiden Observatory
Pooneh Nazari Leiden Observatory
Marta Frias Castillo Leiden Observatory
Leon Trapman Leiden Observatory
Benoit Tabone Leiden Observatory
Alice Booth Leiden Observatory
Robin Mentel Leiden Observatory
Jozsef Varga Leiden Observatory
Katharina Immer JIVE
Margot Leemker Leiden Observatory
Anna Bartkiewicz Nicolaus Copernicus University
Abigail Frost KU Leuven
Daniel Harsono ASIAA
Sofia Rojas MPIA
Helga Denes ASTRON

Allegro office open remotely

Allegro is complying with Leiden Observatory guidelines and all staff is now working remotely. The Allegro team is available for user support, which can be requested by e-mail and will be conducted via a video link or other remote means.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have questions or need support!

Survey: ALMA User Experience

The End-to-end User Experience Working Group are a team of staff from the different ARC nodes who are seeking feedback on how to improve the ALMA user experience, from the Call from Proposals stage, through working with ALMA data (be it a project you proposed or Archival data). The ultimate goal is to identify and address any issues which prevent the best user experience and affect scientific output. You can help us by filling in our survey at the following

Your feedback will be very much appreciated! You can also contact the ARC nodes in Europe directly if you want to discuss particular aspects of your user experience.

If you want to know more about the ALMA User Experience Survey in the Netherlands, please contact Allegro by sending your email to and/or

Changes to how to write your ALMA proposal for Cycle 8

For Cycle 8, ALMA is adopting dual-anonymous review. This means that the proposers do not know who the reviewers are, and the reviewers don’t know who is on the proposing team. This has important consequences on how you write your proposal!

ALMA has put together a document with guidelines. Consequently, any text that can identify the proposing team is not allowed. Attempts to convey the identify proposing team in the text may lead to your proposal being disqualified.

What you need to do:

  • Read the guidelines.
  • Write your new proposal according to these guidelines, and rephrase the text of proposals that are re-submissions from previous cycles.

A presentation describing how to write an anonymous ALMA proposal can be found below (pdf file).

Allegro is organizing a proposal preparation workshop on Thursday March 26, where these requirements will be discussed together with other technical information about ALMA Cycle 8. You can register for the Proposal Preparation Day at the following link.

ALMA-VLBI QA2 Workshop– Leiden Lorentz Center, 24-28 February 2020

Allegro is hosting a QA2 training workshop for phased-ALMA data acquired during VLBI observations, which will be held in Leiden (the Netherlands), on February 24-28 2020.
VLBI is an observing mode offered since Cycle 4, and the first observations were conducted in Apr 2017. The QA2 process for VLBI projects is significantly more complex than the procedure for standard projects, requiring a close loop between ARCs, JAO and VLBI correlators.
The main goal of the workshop is to train ALMA astronomers so that the QA2 work load can be distributed across different regions. The training workshop will involve hands-on work on past cycles datasets.
This workshop is restricted to the trained QA2 analysts in ALMA Regional Centers (ARCs).





Ciriaco Goddi (Chair) Allegro/Dutch ARC node
Geoff Crew Haystack/MIT
Ivan Marti-Vidal University of Valencia
Hugo Messias JAO
Stefanie Muehler German ARC node
Dirk Petry ESO
Helge Rottmann MPIfR
Registered participants:Abhijeet BorkarCzech node


European ARC nodes  
Lydia Moser German node
Rosita Paladino Italian node
Kazi Rygl Italian node
Andres Perez Allegro/Dutch node
Daniel Tafoya Nordic node
Tobia Carozzi Nordic node
Ciro Pappalardo PACE/Portuguese node
Adam Avison UK node
Anita Richards UK node
East Asia ARC  
Atsushi Miyazaki Japanese node
Jihyun Kang Korean node
Alfonso Trejo-Cruz Taiwanese node
North America ARC  
Brian Mason NRAO
Erica Keller NRAO
David Rebolledo JAO
VLBI Correlators  
Jan Wagner MPIfR
Yurii Pidopryhora MPIfR
HOTELSYou could consider staying either close to the Lorentz Center (about 2.5 km from the center), or near the railway (Leiden Centraal) station (where the center begins).
There are regular buses from the Leiden Centraal station to the Lorentz Center (see the links below for more specific details if you will be coming by bus).
In alternative, you can look into renting a bike for your stay. You can pick this up at the railway station, at the rear (exit towards the hospital). Bikes costs 7.50 euro per day or 37.50 for a week.Near the workshop venue:


Hilton Garden Inn (500-m to the Lorentz Center, 4-stars)
Holiday Inn (950-m to the Lorentz Center, 4-stars)
Van der Valk Hotel (1.6-km to the Lorentz Center, 4-stars)

Near the train station / center of Leiden.

Golden Tulip Leiden-centre (Central station, 4-stars)
Fletcher Wellness-Hotel (Central station, 4-stars)
Tulip Inn Leiden-centre (Central station, 3-stars)
Ibis Leiden-centre (Central station, 3-stars)

Boutique Hotel d’Oude Morsch (Near Central station, 3.5-stars)
Best Western City Hotel (Center, 3-stars)



-Directions to Leiden ObservatoryNote that this is not the old Observatory in the center of Leiden.There are regular buses from the Leiden Centraal station, buses 43 (direction Den Haag) or bus 57 (direction Nieuw Vennep). These take around 7 minutes. Please see the link below for more specific details if you will be coming by bus.


Instructions on how to get to Leiden Observatory, including transportation from Schiphol Airport, can be found here:
And a site map can be found here:


The venue of the workshop is the Snellius building of the Lorentz Center. The Leiden Observatory and Allegro offices are located on the 4-5th and 11th floor, respectively, of The Huygens building (in front and to the right with respect to the Snellius building).

-Directions inside the building:


  • Room TBD on the 2nd floor of the Snellius building:
    At the entrance of the building there is a reception were they can provide you with directions.

ALMA Cycle 8 Pre-Announcement

Dear ALMA community!

The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) has released the cycle 8 pre-announcement.
Please find all the relevant information in this link

Happy proposal planning!