Things to bring
- A laptop with wireless capabilities.
- Relevant ALMA softwares (see links below) installed on your laptop for hands-on
We encourage participants who do not know the basics of ALMA to read through the following ALMA websites to obtain an overview of the ALMA system.
- ALMA in a Nutshell
- System Overview by ESO
- ALMA Sensitivity Calculator by ESO
- ESO ALMA website
- JAO ALMA website
- NAOJ ALMA website
- NRAO ALMA website
- ALMA Design Reference Science Plan
- ALMA Science Simulations
Participants who are not familiar with radio astronomy and interferometry are encouraged to study at least the basics of them that can be downloaded from our radio schools:
Participants are required to install two packages, the offline data reduction package (CASA) & the ALMA Observing Tool (OT), on your own laptops for the hands-on exercise in the workshop. The training materials that will be used for CASA can be downloaded here.
The Common Astronomy Software Applications (CASA) package is a set of C++ tools bundled together under an iPython interface as a set of data reduction tasks. CASA is being developed by a collaboration led by NRAO with the primary goal of supporting the data post-processing needs of the next generation of radio astronomical telescopes such as ALMA and EVLA. The CASA tasks are oriented towards end-user data processing and analysis, while the toolkit is geared towards the support of pipeline processing, algorithm development, and the construction of tasks.
- CASA main website
- Obtaining CASA (In order to obtain CASA, you first need to register your account at NRAO through https://my.nrao.edu/nrao-2.0/Register.htm)
- CASA FAQ
- Please download CASA Training Materials here (tarred file), which includes:
bima_ngc4826: BIMA NGC4826 data & script
vla_m82: VLA M82 data & script
vla_ngc5921: VLA NGC5921 data & script
- CASA Cookbook
Note: Please adopt the tar ball installation of CASA, not yum installation. Currently only the tar ball installation is officially supported.
Supported platforms (version 3.0.0)
- Both 32-bit and 64-bit are available
- We test on RHEL 5 extensively, and do limited testing on Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, and Fedora. Most linux flavors are thought to work, please let us know via the http://my.nrao.edu CASA helpdesk if you encounter one that does not.
- Macintosh OSX 10.5 and 10.6 (Intel Macs only):
- The Mac build is 32-bit, but runs fine on 64-bit machines. A 64-bit version is anticipated for the next patch.
- MacOSX 10.4 is no longer supported
The ALMA Observing Tool (OT) is a Java-based application integrating a set of user interfaces needed to prepare a full Observing Project for the ALMA Observatory. Basically, such Observing Projects will be submitted to the Observatory in two parts. The first is a Phase I Observing Proposal that will have its emphasis on the scientific justification of the proposed observations. The second part of the project is the Phase II Observing Program that can be submitted to the ALMA Observatory if observing time has been granted by the Time Allocation Committee (TAC) on the basis of the accepted proposal.
We suggest you to install the latest version, i.e., OT User Test 7.0
You can download the files, user manual and reference manual from
The installation itself (either webstart or tarball) is straightforward. Note that you need Java 6 (also known as jdk1.6) installed as your default in order to be able to run the ALMA OT.
Java 6 is often synonymously called Java 1.6 or J2SE 1.6 which refers to its internal version number. Check your java version on the command-line. It should read something like this:
> java -version
java version "1.6.0_02"
Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.6.0_02-b05)
Java HotSpot(TM) Client VM (build 1.6.0_02-b05, mixed mode, sharing)
An output like this (with the 1.6.x) means you have Java 6 installed, and this means you have the Java Web Start technology installed, too. In order to update your Java to Java 6 in your mac OS X 5.*, you click application/utilities/Java Preferences, and then move Java SE 6 to the top priority. For Windows and Linux, you can check:
Detailed instructions for webstart installation can be found from
Detailed instructions for tarball installation can be found from
Questions prior to the workshop are welcome. Please send your questions to