Science Highlight




Pre-announcement for Cycle 1

The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) expects to start the next cycle of Early Science observations (Cycle 1) in January 2013. A Call for Proposals for Early Science Cycle 1 will be issued at the end of May 2012, with an anticipated deadline for proposal submission in mid-July. Cycle 1 operations will be conducted on a best efforts basis, similar to the current Cycle 0 observations.

While the highest priority of the ALMA project continues to be the completion of the full 66-antenna array, expected in the second half of 2013. Cycle 1 observations provide a significant opportunity for science from this unique world class facility.

Detailed information on Cycle 1 will be published in the Call for Proposals.

General information

ALMA Early Science Cycle 1 observations will start in January 2013 and span 10 months. It is anticipated that approximately 800 hours of array time will be available for Cycle 1 projects. Any astronomer may submit a proposal in response to the ALMA Early Science Cycle 1 Call for Proposals.

Successful proposers for Early Science Cycle 1 will share risk with ALMA. While Observatory staff will conduct quality assurance on the data, and will provide reduced data products through the respective ALMA Regional Centers (ARCs), it cannot be guaranteed that projects will be completed or that the characterization and quality of the data and data reduction will meet the standards expected when ALMA is in full scientific operations.

Projects from Cycle 1 will not be carried over to later cycles (even if they have been started but not completed in Cycle 1), and will not establish proprietary rights beyond those provided by the ALMA data policy.

Similarly, Cycle 0 projects that have not been completed by the end of the Cycle, will not carry forward to Cycle 1 and do not block or preclude any Cycle 1 projects. For a status report on Cycle 0, see the following link.

Notices of Intent

To help ensure that the observatory is as well prepared as possible to assess the proposals submitted for Cycle 1, Principal Investigators are strongly encouraged to submit a notice of intent by May 15 using the following web form. One form should be completed and submitted for each planned Cycle 1 proposal. This should not require more than a few minutes since the information to be provided is minimal.

Please note that users need to be registered and logged in to the ALMA Science Portal to access the Notice of Intent form


The ALMA Early Science Cycle 1 anticipated capabilities will comprise:

  • Thirty two 12-m antennas in the main array, and nine 7-m antennas (for short baselines) and two 12-m antennas (for making single-dish maps) in the Atacama Compact Array (ACA)
  • Receiver bands 3, 6, 7 & 9 (wavelengths of about 3, 1.3, 0.8 and 0.45 mm)
  • Baselines up to 1km
  • Both single field interferometry and mosaics
  • Mixed correlator modes (both high and low frequency resolution in the same observation)

Use of the ACA for short baseline interferometry and single-dish observations will only be offered to complement observations with the main array, and not as a stand-alone capability. Single dish use will be limited to spectral line observations. More details will be provided in the Call for Proposals.

Key dates

The key dates for Cycle 1 are given below. ALMA reserves the right to alter the given dates, should it become necessary to do so.

15 May 2012: Deadline for Notices of Intent
31 May 2012: Call for Proposals for ALMA Early Science Cycle 1, release of Observing Tool, and opening of archive for proposal submission.
12 July 2012: Proposal Deadline.
Mid November 2012: Result of the proposal review process sent to PIs
1 January 2013: Start of ALMA Cycle 1 observing.
February 2013: One month engineering period during altiplanic winter.
31 October 2013: End of ALMA Cycle 1 observing.

ALMA’s Proposal Review Committee

ALMA’s Proposal Review Committee (APRC), responsible for the overall ranking of all ALMA proposals, will be chaired by Professor Françoise Combes of l’Observatoire de Paris. Professor Combes is a renowned expert in the dynamics and interactions of galaxies, hydrodynamics, and millimeter radio astronomy. Professor Combes was the Deputy Chair of the APRC for Cycle 0, and will replace Professor Neal Evans who has since joined the ALMA Board. More information on the review process will be provided as part of the Call for Proposals.