ALMA Status Update from the Joint ALMA Observatory

Statement from ALMA (27 May 2020):

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the global community, including ALMA users and staff. While ALMA operations remain suspended, we have been working actively on plans to restart operations at a time that it is feasible. In these unprecedented circumstances, ALMA’s first priority is the health and safety of all our staff, many of whom travel long distances by bus and plane to reach the remote ALMA telescope site in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. At this time, and given the current evolution of the COVID-19 outbreak in Chile, it is unclear when a ramp-up to start operations could begin, or when a restart of science operations will be possible. ALMA is working on guidelines and considerations for the restart of operations and will provide a next update to the community in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, Caretaker teams continue to maintain the safety of the ALMA equipment and infrastructure in both Santiago and in San Pedro, while all other staff continue to work remotely from their homes. The Regional ARCs continue to provide support to their communities. If you have any questions, comments or concerns related to the situation at ALMA, please contact the ALMA Helpdesk at


ALMA Archive Use

While the operations at ALMA remain suspended, the UK ARC Node would like to remind community of the wealth of data available in the ALMA Archive and encourage its use. ALMA has been in science operations for almost 9 years, meaning a huge number of astrophysical objects have ALMA data publicly available. The archive can be accessed at and contains the following downloadable data products:

  • Archival image products, suitable for some science cases and as a first look at the programs observations.
  • Raw data that can be reprocessed using by the user with the associated scripts from the archive.

Upon request from UK ALMA users, the UK ARC Node can provide fully calibrated measurements sets, ready for imaging, for entire or parts of ALMA projects. These products can be hosted in Manchester and can be made available for an amount of time agreed upon between the ARC Node and the user. Assistance with imaging ALMA data is also available from the UK ARC Node upon request. Please see the below news item on the UK ARC Node's current remote support provisions.

Alternately, the EU ARC at ESO provides, upon request, a service to create and stage fully calibrated ALMA data of individual measurement observation unit sets (MOUSs), with up to 10 MOUSs per request. An MOUS is a single execution of a projects scheduling block. This webpage provides instructions on accessing the service.


Remote support during the current COVID-19 outbreak

With the ongoing 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 Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics. A full statement regard operations of Jodrell Bank, e-MERLIN and the JBCA can be found here.

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.