Notification of problem affecting certain ALMA data that used mosaic and offset pointing observing modes

The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) has recently identified a problem affecting selected programs from Cycles 1 to 3 where positional offsets or mosaics were used to set up Scheduling Blocks in the ALMA Observing Tool.

Read all the details in this link to the ALMA General News.

A Change in the ALMA Configuration Near the End of Cycle 3

The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) has examined the distribution of remaining QA2 non-Pass executions for the 5km array (C36-7) and has determined that given the distribution, the observatory will not revisit the 5km array near the end of the Cycle 3 observing season; instead preferring to revisit the current array C40-3 (which is C36-2/C36-3 which is oversubscribed at some LST intervals which are becoming daytime now but will be nighttime by the end of the cycle). This will improve the overall completion at the expense of a few fewer executions and completions in the 5km array configuration. As a result of this decision, 10 A ranked executions will roll over into next year for the 5km configuration.

For B ranked observing programs, those programs are effectively cancelled as “ObservingTimedOut”. These data will be evaluated through the standard QA2 process with the anticipation that most will end up as QA2 SEMIPASS.

According to the current policy, PIs of A ranked proposals (those that will carry over to Cycle 4) may request delivery of the raw ASDMs from scheduling blocks already completed from these programs through their ALMA Regional Centers because the programs will have no chance of being observed within the next 90 days. This can be done by submitting a ticket to the “Archive and Data Retrieval” department of the ALMA Helpdesk ( Any and all additional questions should be submitted through the ALMA Helpdesk.

ALMA Cycle 4 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 4 Call for Proposals (CfP) for scientific observations to be scheduled from October 2016 to September 2017.

It is anticipated that up to 3000 hours of the 12-m Array and up to 1800 hours of the Atacama Compact Array (ACA), also known as the Morita Array, will be available for successful proposals from Principal Investigators (PIs) in Cycle 4. 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.

ALMA Cycle 4 proposal submission will open at: 15:00 UT on Tuesday 22 March 2016

The ALMA Cycle 4 proposal submission deadline is: 15:00 UT on Thursday 21 April 2016

ALMA provides continuum and spectral line capabilities for wavelengths from 0.32 mm to 3.6 mm, and for angular resolutions from 0.024” to 3.7” on the 12-m Array. Cycle 4 offers several new technical capabilities, including Solar, millimeter-wavelength Very Long Baseline Interferometry (mm VLBI), spectral-line linear polarization, and ACA stand-alone observations. In addition, for the first time ALMA will accept Large Proposals, which are programs that request more than 50 hours of time on the 12-m Array or the ACA in stand-alone mode to address key scientific questions. Up to 15% of the available time will be allocated to Large Proposals.

For comprehensive information of this Cycle 4 Call for Proposals please consult the ALMA Science Portal.

1-mm Very Long Baseline Interferometry including ALMA

The call for 1-mm Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) proposals to use phased ALMA at Band 6 in Cycle 4, in collaboration with the Event Horizon Telescope Consortium (EHTC), will be released to coincide with the ALMA Cycle 4 Call for Proposals in March 2016. The EHTC is expected to comprise the Submillimeter Array, the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope, the Submillimeter Telescope, the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment, the South Pole Telescope, the Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano, the IRAM 30m telescope, and an antenna from the Northern Extended Millimeter Array.
The same scientific justification must be submitted in response to the ALMA and VLBI network calls. NRAO will facilitate this for the 1mm VLBI call by having proposers submit a copy of their ALMA Cycle 4 proposal in response to the 1mm VLBI call, approximately one week after the ALMA proposal deadline in April.

Further details, along with technical information for phased ALMA and the EHTC, will be made available with the 1mm VLBI Call for Proposals. It is expected that observing will take place in March or April 2017, when ALMA will be in a compact configuration suitable for efficient phasing.

Call for Proposals for APEX/SEPIA Band 9

A new Band 9 receiver was installed inside the Swedish ESO PI receiver for Apex (SEPIA) at APEX in early February. This receiver, built by NOVA, is a copy of the ALMA Band 9 receiver, and covers frequencies from 600 to 722 GHz. After on-sky commissioning in late March, Science Verification (SV) observations are planned. Ideas for SV, which will allow testing of a large variety of observing modes for this new receiver, are encouraged.

The Call for Proposals for SEPIA Band 9 SV and further details can be found at the Call for Science Verification Proposals pagefor SEPIA Band 9.

ALMA Cycle 4 Information for Large Programs

As indicated in the Pre-announcement for the Cycle 4 Call for Proposals, the Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) will accept proposals for Large Programs for the first time in Cycle 4. An announcement which provides guidelines to prepare a Large Program proposal can now be found on the ALMA Science Portal.

Definition of a Large Program

Large Programs are defined as projects that request more than 50 hours of observations with either the 12-m Array or the Morita Array (a.k.a. the ALMA Compact Array, or ACA) in stand-alone mode. Large Programs for the 12-m Array may include ACA for short-spacing observations as needed.

A Large Program can only request standard observing modes. The standard observing modes offered in Cycle 4 are listed in the Pre-announcement for the Call for Proposals. Requests for Target of Opportunity and time-critical observations are not permitted in Large Programs in Cycle 4.

Conference Announcement: Half a Decade of ALMA

Half a Decade of ALMA: Cosmic Dawns Transformed

This international four-day (September 20 – 23, 2016) conference will highlight ALMA results at the threshold of the array’s fifth year of science operations and bring together researchers from around the world to motivate collaborations for ALMA Cycle 5.

September 20 – 23, 2016
Renaissance Indian Wells Resort & Spa
Indian Wells, CA, USA

The sensitivity and spectral grasp of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have revolutionized the study of youngest structures in the Universe, from galaxy formation through the formation of stars and planets. ALMA has produced over 300 refereed papers with over 3000 citations at its four-year mark, reporting impressive and scientifically compelling results as the most sensitive and highest resolution mm/submm interferometer in the world

This international four-day conference will highlight ALMA results at the threshold of the array’s fifth year of science operations and bring together researchers from around the world to motivate collaborations for ALMA Cycle 5. Science topics will include all fields of astronomy, from cosmology and galaxies in the distant Universe, nearby galaxies and the Galactic Center, interstellar medium and star formation in our Galaxy, astrochemistry, circumstellar disks, exoplanets, solar system, stellar evolution, and the Sun.

The conference will feature invited and contributed talks as well as poster sessions. Early career researchers and students are particularly encouraged to attend.

New ALMA Science Verification Data

A new installment of Science Verification data is available. This release contains data on the following Science Verification target: IRAS16293-2422 spectral line observations in Band 4 (CH3CN, CH3OH) with the 12-m Array, demonstrating the Band 4 capability.

More information can be found on the ALMA Science Portal

ALMA and GMVA Observations in Cycle 4

People interested in proposing VLBI observations with ALMA should be informed that ALMA will participate in some GMVA observations during ALMA Cycle 4 at 3mm wavelengths in the period Oct 1 2016 – Sept 30 2017. More details can be found in the ALMA Cycle 4 Pre-announcement.

The Global 3mm VLBI Array (GMVA) consists of 8 VLBA antennas equipped with 3mm receivers: the 100m GBT, the IRAM 30-m telescope on Pico Veleta (Spain), the phased 6-element IRAM interferometer on Plateau de Bure (France), the MPIfR 100-m radio telescope in Effelsberg (Germany), the OSO 20-m radio telescope at Onsala (Sweden), the 14-m telescope in Metsähovi (Finland), and the OAN 40-m telescope in Yebes (Spain). In addition, telescopes of the Korean VLBI Network (KVN) may now be requested as part of the GMVA. The Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano (LMT) in Mexico, for use at 3mm in combination with the GMVA, is offered on a best effort basis.

Part of the GMVA session in 2017 will overlap with Cycle 4 time slots dedicated to GMVA + ALMA observing. In additio, to submitting a proposal to ALMA before the deadline in April 2016, users who wish to apply for ALMA Band 3 VLBI observations must also submit a GMVA proposal submitted via the NRAO Proposal Submission Tool before the 1 February 2016 deadline.

People who will like to use this opportunity can consult the ALMA Science Portal.