ALMA Queries (astroquery.alma)

Getting started

astroquery.alma provides the astroquery interface to the ALMA archive. It supports object and region based querying and data staging and retrieval.

You can get interactive help to find out what keywords to query for:

>>> from astroquery.alma import Alma

Most common ALMA query keywords are listed below. These keywords are part of the ALMA ObsCore model, an IVOA standard for metadata representation (3rd column). They were also present in original ALMA Web form and, for backwards compatibility can be accessed with their old names (2nd column).
More elaborate queries on the ObsCore model are possible with `query_sia` or `query_tap` methods
  Description                       Original ALMA keyword               ObsCore keyword

  Source name (astropy Resolver)    source_name_resolver                SkyCoord.from_name
  Source name (ALMA)                source_name_alma                    target_name
  RA Dec (Sexagesimal)              ra_dec                              s_ra, s_dec
  Galactic (Degrees)                galactic                            gal_longitude, gal_latitude
  Angular resolution (arcsec)       spatial_resolution                  spatial_resolution
  Largest angular scale (arcsec)    spatial_scale_max                   spatial_scale_max
  Field of view (arcsec)            fov                                 s_fov

  Frequency (GHz)                   frequency                           frequency
  Bandwidth (Hz)                    bandwidth                           bandwidth
  Spectral resolution (KHz)         spectral_resolution                 em_resolution
  Band                              band_list                           band_list

  Observation date                  start_date                          t_min
  Integration time (s)              integration_time                    t_exptime

  Polarisation type (Single, Dual, Full) polarisation_type                   pol_states

  Line sensitivity (10 km/s) (mJy/beam) line_sensitivity                    sensitivity_10kms
  Continuum sensitivity (mJy/beam)  continuum_sensitivity               cont_sensitivity_bandwidth
  Water vapour (mm)                 water_vapour                        pvw

  Project code                      project_code                        proposal_id
  Project title                     project_title                       obs_title
  PI name                           pi_name                             obs_creator_name
  Proposal authors                  proposal_authors                    proposal_authors
  Project abstract                  project_abstract                    proposal_abstract
  Publication count                 publication_count                   NA
  Science keyword                   science_keyword                     science_keyword

  Bibcode                           bibcode                             bib_reference
  Title                             pub_title                           pub_title
  First author                      first_author                        first_author
  Authors                           authors                             authors
  Abstract                          pub_abstract                        pub_abstract
  Year                              publication_year                    pub_year

  Public data only                  public_data                         data_rights
  Science observations only         science_observations                calib_level

Examples of queries:
Alma.query({'band_list': ['5', '7']}
Alma.query({'source_name_alma': 'GRB021004'})
Alma.query(payload=dict(project_code='2017.1.01355.L', source_name_alma='G008.67'))


Users can log in to acquire proprietary data products. Login is performed via the ALMA OIDC (OpenID Connect) service, Keycloak.

>>> from astroquery.alma import Alma
>>> alma = Alma()
>>> # First example: TEST is not a valid username, it will fail
>>> alma.login("TEST")
TEST, enter your ALMA password:

Authenticating TEST on ...
Authentication failed!
>>> # Second example: pretend ICONDOR is a valid username
>>> alma.login("ICONDOR", store_password=True)
ICONDOR, enter your ALMA password:

Authenticating ICONDOR on
Successfully logged in to
>>> # After the first login, your password has been stored
>>> alma.login("ICONDOR")
Authenticating ICONDOR on
Successfully logged in to

Your password will be stored by the keyring module. You can choose not to store your password by passing the argument store_password=False to Alma.login. You can delete your password later with the command keyring.delete_password('', 'username').

Querying Targets and Regions

You can query by object name or by circular region:

>>> from astroquery.alma import Alma
>>> alma = Alma()
>>> alma.archive_url = ''  # optional to make doctest work
>>> m83_data = alma.query_object('M83')
>>> m83_data.colnames  
['obs_publisher_did', 'obs_collection', 'facility_name', 'instrument_name',
'obs_id', 'dataproduct_type', 'calib_level', 'target_name', 's_ra',
's_dec', 's_fov', 's_region', 's_resolution', 't_min', 't_max',
't_exptime', 't_resolution', 'em_min', 'em_max', 'em_res_power',
'pol_states', 'o_ucd', 'access_url', 'access_format', 'proposal_id',
'data_rights', 'gal_longitude', 'gal_latitude', 'band_list',
'em_resolution', 'bandwidth', 'antenna_arrays', 'is_mosaic',
'obs_release_date', 'spatial_resolution', 'frequency_support', 'frequency',
'velocity_resolution', 'obs_creator_name', 'pub_title', 'first_author',
'authors', 'pub_abstract', 'publication_year', 'proposal_abstract',
'schedblock_name', 'proposal_authors', 'sensitivity_10kms',
'cont_sensitivity_bandwidth', 'pwv', 'group_ous_uid', 'member_ous_uid',
'asdm_uid', 'obs_title', 'type', 'scan_intent', 'science_observation',
'spatial_scale_max', 'qa2_passed', 'bib_reference', 'science_keyword',
'scientific_category', 'lastModified']

Region queries are just like any other in astroquery:

>>> from astropy import coordinates
>>> from astropy import units as u
>>> galactic_center = coordinates.SkyCoord(0*u.deg, 0*u.deg,
...                                        frame='galactic')
>>> alma = Alma()
>>> alma.archive_url = ''  # optional to make doctest work
>>> gc_data = alma.query_region(galactic_center, 1*u.deg)
>>> print(gc_data)  
     obs_publisher_did      obs_collection facility_name ...     scientific_category           lastModified
--------------------------- -------------- ------------- ... --------------------------- -----------------------
ADS/JAO.ALMA#2012.1.00133.S           ALMA           JAO ...      ISM and star formation 2021-09-30T16:34:41.133

Querying by other parameters

As of version 0.3.4, you can also query other fields by keyword. For example, if you want to find all projects in a region with a particular PI, you could do:

>>> Alma.query_region('W51', radius=25*u.arcmin, pi_name='*Ginsburg*')

or if you wanted all projects by a given PI:

>>> Alma.query(payload=dict(pi_name='Ginsburg, Adam'))

The ‘’query_sia’’ method offers another way to query ALMA using the IVOA SIA subset of keywords returning results in ‘ObsCore’ format. For example, to query for all images that have 'XX' polarization (note that this query is too large to run, it is just shown as an example):

>>> Alma.query_sia(pol='XX')  

Finally, the ‘’query_tap’’ method is the most general way of querying the ALMA metadata. This method is used to send queries to the service using the ‘ObsCore’ columns as constraints. The returned result is also in ‘ObsCore’ format.

>>> Alma.query_tap("select * from ivoa.obscore where target_name like '%M83%'")  
<Table length=364>
     obs_publisher_did      obs_collection facility_name ...       scientific_category         lastModified
           str33                 str4           str3     ...              str200                  object
--------------------------- -------------- ------------- ... ---------------------- -----------------------
ADS/JAO.ALMA#2016.1.00164.S           ALMA           JAO ...        Active galaxies 2021-09-30T16:34:41.133

One can also query by keyword, spatial resolution, etc:

>>> Alma.query_tap("select * from ivoa.obscore WHERE spatial_resolution<=0.1 AND science_keyword "
...                "in ('Disks around high-mass stars', 'Asymptotic Giant Branch (AGB) stars') "
...                "AND science_observation='T'")  

Use the ‘’help_tap’’ method to learn about the ALMA ‘ObsCore’ keywords and their types.

>>> Alma.help_tap()  
Table to query is "voa.ObsCore".
For example: "select top 1 * from ivoa.ObsCore"
The scheme of the table is as follows.

  Name                 Type            Unit       Description
  access_estsize       int            kbyte       Estimated size of datasets in kilobytes
  access_format        char(9)                    Content format of the data
  access_url           char(72*)                  URL to download the data
  antenna_arrays       char(660*)                 Blank-separated list of Pad:Antenna pairs, i.e., A109:DV09 J504:DV02 J505:DV05 for antennas DV09, DV02 and DV05 sitting on pads A109, J504, and J505, respectively.
  asdm_uid             char(32*)                  UID of the ASDM containing this Field.
  authors              char(4000*)                Full list of first author and all co-authors
  band_list            char(30*)                  Space delimited list of bands
  bandwidth            double          GHz        Total Bandwidth
  bib_reference        char(4000*)                 Bibliography code
  calib_level          int                        calibration level (2 or 3). 2 if product_type = MOUS, 3 if product_type = GOUS
  cont_sensitivity_bandwidth double          mJy/beam   Estimated noise in the aggregated continuum bandwidth. Note this is an indication only, it does not include the effects of flagging or dynamic range limitations.
  data_rights          char(11)                   Access to data.
  dataproduct_type     char(5*)                   type of product
  em_max               double          m          stop spectral coordinate value
  em_min               double          m          start spectral coordinate value
  em_res_power         double                     typical spectral resolution
  em_resolution        double          m          Estimated frequency resolution from all the spectral windows, using median values of channel widths.
  em_xel                       int                        Number of elements along the spectral axis
  facility_name        char(3)                    telescope name
  first_author         char(256*)                 The first author as provided by <a href=""></a>.
  frequency            double          GHz        Observed (tuned) reference frequency on the sky.
  frequency_support    char(4000*)     GHz        All frequency ranges used by the field
  gal_latitude         double          deg        Galactic latitude of the observation for RA/Dec. Estimated using PyEphem and RA/Dec.
  gal_longitude        double          deg        Galactic longitude of the observation for RA/Dec. Estimated using PyEphem and RA/Dec.
  group_ous_uid        char(64*)                  Group OUS ID
  instrument_name      char(4)                    instrument name
  is_mosaic            char(1)                    Flag to indicate if this ASDM represents a mosaic or not.
  lastModified         char(*)                    Time stamp of last modification of the metadata
  member_ous_uid       char(64*)                  Member OUS ID
  o_ucd                char(35)                   UCD describing the observable axis (pixel values)
  obs_collection       char(4)                    short name for the data collection
  obs_creator_name     char(256*)                 case-insensitive partial match over the full PI name. Wildcards can be used
  obs_id               char(64*)                  internal dataset identifier
  obs_publisher_did    char(33*)                  publisher dataset identifier
  obs_release_date     char(*)                    timestamp of date the data becomes publicly available
  obs_title            char(256*)                 Case-insensitive search over the project title
  pol_states           char(64*)                  polarization states present in the data
  pol_xel              int                        Number of polarization samples
  proposal_abstract    char(4000*)                Text search on the proposal abstract. Only abstracts will be returned which contain the given text. The search is case-insensitive.
  proposal_authors     char(2000*)                Full name of CoIs .
  proposal_id          char(64*)                  Identifier of proposal to which NO observation belongs.
  pub_abstract         char(4000*)                Case insensitive text search through the abstract of the publication.
  pub_title            char(256*)                 Case insensitive search through the title of the publication.
  publication_year     int                        The year the publication did appear in the printed version of the refereed journal.
  pwv                  float           mm         Estimated precipitable water vapour from the XML_CALWVR_ENTITIES table.
  qa2_passed           char(1)                    Quality Assessment 2 status: does the Member / Group OUS fulfil the PI's requirements?
  s_dec                double          deg        DEC of central coordinates
  s_fov                double          deg        size of the region covered (~diameter of minimum bounding circle)
  s_ra                 double          deg        RA of central coordinates
  s_region             char(*)         deg        region bounded by observation
  s_resolution         double          deg        typical spatial resolution
  s_xel1               int                        Number of elements along the first spatial axis
  s_xel2               int                        Number of elements along the second spatial axis
  scan_intent          char(256*)                 Scan intent list for the observed field.
  schedblock_name      char(128*)                 Name of the Scheduling Block used as a template for executing the ASDM containing this Field.
  science_keyword      char(200*)                 None
  science_observation  char(1)                    Flag to indicate whether this is a science observation.
  scientific_category  char(200*)                 None
  sensitivity_10kms    double          mJy/beam   Estimated noise in an nominal 10km/s bandwidth. Note this is an indication only, it does not include the effects of flagging or Hanning smoothing, and a 10km/s bandwidth may not be achievable with the data as taken.
  spatial_resolution   double          arcsec     Average of the maximum and minimum spatial resolution values of all spectral windows
  spatial_scale_max    double          arcsec     Due to the fact that radio antennas can not be placed infinitely close, measurements do have a smallest separation which translates into a maximal angular distance beyond which features can not be resolved reliably any more. Adding observations with the ALMA Total Power array can add those missing largest scales.
  t_exptime            double          s          exposure time of observation
  t_max                double          d          end time of observation (MJD)
  t_min                double          d          start time of observation (MJD)
  t_resolution         double          s          typical temporal resolution
  t_xel                int                        Number of elements along the time axis
  target_name          char(256*)                 name of intended target
  type                 char(16*)                  Type flags.
  velocity_resolution  double          m/s        Estimated velocity resolution from all the spectral windows, from frequency resolution.

Downloading Data

You can download ALMA data with astroquery, but be forewarned, many data sets are >100 GB!

>>> import numpy as np
>>> from astroquery.alma import Alma
>>> alma = Alma()
>>> alma.archive_url = ''  # optional to make doctest work
>>> m83_data = alma.query_object('M83')
>>> uids = np.unique(m83_data['member_ous_uid'])
>>> print(uids)

The new `get_data_info` method can be used to get information about the data such as the file names, their urls, sizes etc.

>>> alma = Alma()
>>> alma.archive_url = ''  # optional to make doctest work
>>> link_list = alma.get_data_info(uids[:3])

By default, ALMA data is delivered as tarball files. However, the content of some of these files can be listed and accessed individually. To get information on the individual files:

>>> alma = Alma()
>>> alma.archive_url = ''  # optional to make doctest work
>>> link_list = alma.get_data_info(uids[:3], expand_tarfiles=True)

You can then go on to download those files. The download will be cached so that repeat queries of the same file will not re-download the data. The default cache directory is ~/.astropy/cache/astroquery/Alma/, but this can be changed by changing the cache_location variable:

>>> 1/0
>>> myAlma = Alma()
>>> myAlma.cache_location = '/big/external/drive/'
>>> myAlma.download_files(link_list, cache=True)

You can also do the downloading all in one step:

>>> myAlma.retrieve_data_from_uid(uids[0])  

If you have huge files, sometimes the transfer fails, so you will need to restart the download. By default, the module will resume downloading where the failure occurred. You can check whether the downloads all succeeded before triggering a new download by using the verify_only keyword, which will not download but will return useful information about the state of your downloads:

>>> myAlma.download_files(link_list, cache=True, verify_only=True)  

Downloading FITS data

If you want just the QA2-produced FITS files, you can directly access the FITS files:

>>> from astroquery.alma.core import Alma
>>> from astropy import coordinates
>>> from astropy import units as u
>>> s255ir = coordinates.SkyCoord(93.26708333, 17.97888889, frame='fk5',
...                               unit=(u.deg, u.deg))
>>> alma = Alma()
>>> alma.archive_url = ''  # optional to make doctest work
>>> result = alma.query_region(s255ir, radius=0.034*u.deg)
>>> uid_url_table = alma.get_data_info(result['member_ous_uid'][0], expand_tarfiles=True)
>>> # downselect to just the FITSf files
>>> fits_urls = [url for url in uid_url_table['access_url'] if '.fits' in url]
>>> filelist = alma.download_files(fits_urls[:5])  

You might want to look at the READMEs from a bunch of files so you know what kind of S/N to expect:

>>> readmes = [url for url in uid_url_table['access_url'] if 'README' in url]
>>> filelist = Alma.download_files(readmes)  


A set of ALMA-maintained Jupyter Notebooks that showcase further examples of how to programmatically access the archive can be found here.


astroquery.alma Package

ALMA Archive service.




Configuration parameters for astroquery.alma.

astroquery.alma.utils Module

Utilities for making finder charts and overlay images for ALMA proposing



ALMA "Frequency Support" strings have the form:


ALMA footprints have the form: 'Polygon ICRS 266.519781 -28.724666 266.524678 -28.731930 266.536683 -28.737784 266.543860 -28.737586 266.549277 -28.733370 266.558133 -28.729545 266.560136 -28.724666 266.558845 -28.719605 266.560133 -28.694332 266.555234 -28.687069 266.543232 -28.681216 266.536058 -28.681414 266.530644 -28.685630 266.521788 -28.689453 266.519784 -28.694332 266.521332 -28.699778' Some of them have additional polygons

approximate_primary_beam_sizes(...[, ...])

Using parse_frequency_support, determine the mean primary beam size in each observed band