Lunch Session LS6  1 July 2022

ALMA in Europe: support by the European ALMA Regional Centre Network and new ways of interacting with data through the ALMA Science Archive

Aims and scope

Ever since the Atacama Large (sub-)mm Array (ALMA) saw first light more than ten years ago, ALMA has been at the forefront of astronomical research, revolutionising many different science areas. This has not stopped the observatory continuously improving its observing capabilities, the delivered data products and user support.

Within Europe ALMA user support is offered by the European ALMA Regional Centre (ARC) through seven ARC Nodes spread across Europe, and the central ARC at ESO (together referred to as the European ARC network). Experienced researchers, young graduates, as well as undergraduate students wanting to use the ALMA facility directly and/or via the ALMA Science Archive can receive help on matters such as writing observing proposals, reducing and calibrating ALMA data, as well as learning how to use tools and software for the analysis of their data sets. The support provided by the network extends far beyond that, providing computational support, space for collaboration meetings and many activities to further build the ALMA community within Europe. In the last couple of years, and due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation, a virtual component was added to the user support also including world-wide training events, allowing for ever more possibilities for the community to maximise the scientific output of their ALMA data.

The ALMA Science Archive has also seen the implementation and release of important improvements. Major milestones include the remote-visualisation of data-cubes, far more complete data products for the early years of ALMA, interactive previews to provide a quick-look, text-based similarity search, search based on the type of the sources as well as a direct access to all ALMA FITS products. There are furthermore new tools being developed to extract (meta-)data and enhanced data products out of the ALMA Science Archive.

During the COVID-19 pandemic the ALMA Redesign the User eXperience (RedUX) project interviewed members of the astronomy community (mostly but not exclusively ALMA users) to discuss the ALMA user experience in a holistic approach. Based on these interviews the RedUX working group formulated suggestions for many different aspects of the ALMA project, including user support in Europe and the ALMA Science Archive, that are currently implemented. It will be timely to inform the community of the results of RedUX specific to user support in Europe and to the ALMA Science Archive and the actions taken based on the user feedback.


In this lunch session we aim to present to the European astronomical community how ALMA user support in Europe has evolved over the last years, the various types of support it offers, and the ways the European astronomical community can make use of this support. We will provide an update on the ALMA Science Archive and the tools that were developed to maximise its science output. We will furthermore discuss the outcomes of RedUX and show some of the actions that have been taken regarding user support and archive development. We will finish by taking time to discuss recent relevant changes within ALMA that are of direct interest to the astronomical community, including for example the distributed peer review system of proposal and how the connection between the astronomical community and the European ARC network can be further improved.

The program will consist of a number of invited talks highlighting the various developments

  • Welcome
  • ALMA news by Martin Zwaan
  • ARC network and support by Violette Impellizzeri
  • Improving the user experience by Elisabetta Liuzzo
  • Archive developments by Gergö Popping
  • ALMINER by Aida Ahmadi
  • Questions and Answers

Invited speakers

Updated on Wed Jun 22 13:05:18 CEST 2022