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SSALMON - Solar Simulations for the Atacama Large Millimeter Observatory Network

SSALMON is an international scientific network, which was initiated on September 1st, 2014, in order to  coordinate modeling efforts that will help to plan, optimize and analyze solar observations with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA).

This website is kindly hosted by the University of Oslo, Norway. See also the closely related, ERC-funded SolarALMA project.

What ALMA may see on the Sun: Time sequence of synthetic brightness temperature maps at a wavelength of 1 mm based on a 3D model (Wedemeyer-Böhm et al. 2005, ESA SP-560, 1035).

ALMA observations of the Sun and the role of numerical simulations

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is a valuable tool for observing the chromosphere of our Sun at (sub-)millimeter wavelengths at high spatial, temporal and spectral resolution with large potential to address long-standing scientific questions in solar physics. The interferometric array is located on the Chajnantor plateau in the Chilean Andes at an altitude of 5000 m and consists of 66 antennas (most of them with a diameter of 12 m). By combining the antennae, they act like a giant telescope with baselines of up to 16 km. (Introductory movie and more information.)

Numerical simulations of the solar chromosphere can play an important role for the planning, optimizing and interpretation of observations with ALMA. Synthetic brightness temperature maps, which are calculated from numerical models, can be used to simulate what ALMA would observe (see animation to the right). This way different instrumental set-ups can be tested and adjusted to the scientific requirements. The activities of our network will focus on all related simulation and modelling aspects from calculating models of the solar atmosphere, producing synthetic brightness temperature maps, applying instrumental effects to comparison with real ALMA observations of the Sun. The general procedure is outlined in the illustration below (click for large version).



Current and upcoming activities

See our activity calendar for a full overview including previous activities.

December 2016: First regular solar observations with ALMA will be carried out in the period December 8th to 28th.
April 2017 First meeting of team 387 ("A New View of the Solar-stellar Connection with ALMA"); funded by the International Space Science Institute (Bern, Switzerland)
April 2017: Deadline for observing proposals for Cycle 5


All newsletters can be found here.


No upcoming events

The aims of SSALMON:

Key goal 1 Raising awareness of science opportunities with ALMA.

Key goal 2 Clear visibility of solar science within the ALMA community.

Key goal 3 Constraining ALMA observing modes through modeling efforts that will help to plan, optimize and analyze solar observations.

Click here for a more detailed descriptions of the aims.

More information

A poster with more information on SSALMON was presented at the 14th European Solar Physics Meeting, in Dublin, Ireland (September 8th-12th, 2014). Download PDF version (2.7 MB).



The network is open to everybody who has a professional interest in contributing to potential ALMA solar science, which include or require simulations.

The ERC-funded SolarALMA project

ALMA – The key to the Sun’s coronal heating problem (SolarALMA)

The SolarALMA project is funded with a Consolidator Grant by the European Research Council (ERC) and runs from September 2016 to August 2021. The team will consist of 4 (post-doctoral) researchers (incl. the PI) and 2 PhD students. The aim is to utilize the first observations of the Sun with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to study the chromosphere of our Sun, which promises significant steps towards solving the solar coronal heating problem.