ALMA at night.  Credit: Sangku Kim/ESO.
ALMA at night.
Credit: Sangku Kim/ESO.

 

Remote Support During the Current Coronavirus Situation

With the on going COVID-19 outbreak, the UK ARC Node will be providing remote / electronic support to users only for the next several weeks. This is in compliance with local recommendations at the JBCA and the University of Manchester.

If you require user support in the coming weeks, we are contactable via the usual means (see our contact information page) and can provide a range of electronic support options to help you with your ALMA requirements.

We will also update this page with any important messages from ALMA regarding the operation of the telescope or changes to the schedule of the observing cycle or proposal deadline.

 

ALMA Cycle 7 Observations Suspended due to COVID-19

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak that has spread to Chile, the ALMA Director has made the decision to suspend science operations with ALMA, effective immediately. 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 on the science portal when observations are resumed.

 

Delay of the Cycle 8 Proposal Submission Deadline

As everyone is aware, the novel coronavirus COVID-19 continues to impact the global community. As such, 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 1500 UT on 19 May, 2020.

The Regional ARCs have adjusted working conditions to support the Cycle 8 Call and, as of now, can provide support to their communities. Please contact the ALMA Helpdesk with any questions or concerns regarding the ALMA Cycle 8 Call or any other issues.

As we continue to monitor the conditions worldwide, we will assess the feasibility of this deadline and provide additional updates to the community as needed. The next update to the community will be provided NO LATER than 21 April, 2020 on the status of the call and the support for the scientific community at the ARCs.

We realize these are challenging and uncertain times. We want to continue to hear your concerns (please submit Helpdesk tickets) and will take the appropriate action to address them. It’s important now to consider the health and well-being of yourself and those around you – that should be the primary focus as we navigate through these stressful times.

Please visit the ALMA Science Portal for the most up-to-date information on the observing and proposal status at ALMA (https://almascience.org).

 

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.