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Observing with ALMA


Scientists from all over the world will use ALMA!

Since ALMA will start its full-scale operation in 2013 and operate for half a century, it will be also used by young generations specifically by those who are currently elementary and junior high school students.

10% of observation time will be allocated for the host country, Chile, and 90% for the partners according to their financial contribution to ALMA. Though we will publicly accept research projects from researchers worldwide, special consideration will be paid for the researchers of countries financing the project.

Another important point is that ALMA is designed not only for astronomers but also for planetary scientists, physicists and other scientists whose studies are associated with astronomy.


The scientists will compete for observing time by submitting proposals, which will be judged on the basis of scientific merit. Users will not travel to Chajnantor to carry out the observations. Instead, observations will be dynamically scheduled, depending on weather conditions and the array configuration. Observations will be carried out 24 hours per day by ALMA astronomers.

Each of three parties may be individually given the right to decide the time allocation, but some key projects may be launched for international coordination regarding the important projects such as galaxy formation and planetary accretion.


Once the Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) issues calls for proposals on March 31st, 2011, an astronomer wishing to apply for observing time has to register on the ALMA web page. The JAO, with assistance from the ARCs (ALMA Regional Centers), will coordinate the refereeing process.

What about the data produced?

The data produced during an ALMA observing run, as well as their calibrations, will be stored in the ALMA Archive. All ALMA scientific data will be subjected to a proprietary period of one year since the date when they were distributed to the Principal Investigator. After the proprietary period, the data will become public and any investigator can retrieve them by means of an archive request.