IRAM is an international research institute for radio astronomy. Its overall objective is to explore the universe and to study its origins and evolution.

IRAM was founded in 1979 and its headquarters are located in Grenoble, France. With a staff of more than 120 scientists, engineers, technicians and administrative personnel, IRAM develops and maintains two observatories: the 30-meter telescope located on the Pico Veleta near Granada, Spain, and the NOEMA interferometer (currently an array of eight 15-meter telescopes) in the French Alps. Both instruments are prime facilities for radio astronomy and the most powerful observatories today operating at millimetre wavelengths. [...]
July 21, 2016
Expanding molecular bubble unveiling the mysterious origin of Tycho's supernova remnant
An international team of astronomers from China, UK, and Canada has discovered an expanding molecular gas bubble surrounding the remnant of Tycho’s supernova with the IRAM 30-meter telescope. This is the very first unambiguous detection of an expanding bubble driven by the progenitor star of a Type Ia supernova, and an important clue to understanding the mysterious origin of this historical supernova and its remnant.
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June 21, 2016
IRAM opens a new spectral window on the Universe
The spectral range from 71 to 80 GHz is of fundamental importance for a number of questions in the extragalactic and galactic research areas but, despite of this, is one of the few spectral windows that remained inaccessible to interferometers. While the IRAM 30m telescope started in the winter semester 2015/2016, after the EMIR upgrade offering the possibility to observe in this spectral window,
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June 14, 2016
First detections of the key prebiotic molecule P-O in star-forming regions
An international group of scientists from the Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory (INAF-OAA, Florence, Italy), the Center of Astrobiology (CAB-CSIC, Madrid, Spain) and the Max-Plank Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE, Garching, Germany) has detected for the first time the prebiotic molecule P-O in star-forming regions. This molecule plays a key role in the double helix structure of DNA, and is therefore directly linked to the origin of life in the Universe.
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April 28th, 2016
And then they were 8... NOEMA stays on track
NOEMA has seen the successful deployment of the 8th antenna early April with first fringes on all baselines detected only 10 days later on the 19th of April. The NOEMA project stays on track with the ambitious timescales for construction, commissioning and integration of its future antennas.
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April 20th, 2016
9th IRAM Millimeter Interferometry School
The 9th IRAM millimeter interferometry school will be held October 10th-14th 2016 at the IRAM headquarters (Grenoble, France). It is intended for students, post-docs and scientists who want to acquire a good knowledge of interferometry and data reduction techniques at millimeter wavelengths, with a special emphasis on the NOEMA interferometer.
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March 24, 2016
Sulfur monoxide, a key to unlocking the birth sites of future planets?
NOEMA and IRAM 30-m radiotelescope observations have provided the very first detection of sulfur monoxide (SO) in a protoplanetary disk. The IRAM 30-m radiotelescope observations were performed in the frame of ASAI, an IRAM Large Program led by R.Bachiller (OAN/Spain) and B.LeFloch (IPAG/France). Follow up NOEMA observations were obtained by an international collaboration led by A.Fuente and S.Pacheco (OAN/Spain).
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March 03, 2016
IRAM Science Software User Meeting, April 6th-8th, IRAM Grenoble headquarters
The IRAM Science Software team will present the projects that were developed in the past 5 years and the projects that will be delivered in the next few years.
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January 11, 2016
The shadow of the Flying Saucer: A very low temperature for large dust grains.
ALMA and IRAM-30m observations of carbon monoxide (CO) were used to determine a very low temperature of large dust grains in the disk around a young star in the Ophiuchus star forming region. These observations were conducted by an international team, led by a scientist at the Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Bordeaux.
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January 05 & February 05, 2016
NIKA 2 - A revolutionary imaging instrument for millimeter waves sees first light
NIKA 2, the second generation Neel-IRAM-KID-Array, is a dual band camera operating simultaneously at 150 and 260 GHz. The instrument is based on large arrays of superconducting Kinetic Inductance Detectors (KID) operated at temperatures of 100 mK. NIKA 2 is built by an international consortium, led by the Institute Neel (Grenoble France).
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November 13, 2015
IRAM and ALMA link to create Earth-size virtual telescope
In a series of recent Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) observations, ALMA was succesfully linked to the IRAM 30-m antenna (located in the Sierra Nevada of southern Spain) and to NRAO's VLBA antennas in the United States.
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November 10, 2015
Inauguration of the Bure cable car: a new access to science
On 2nd of October 2015, the new cable car to the NOEMA observatory was inaugurated with the presence of participating companies, the IRAM staff and numerous officials from the partner organizations as well as local authorities and representatives.
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October 23, 2015
Ethyl alcohol and sugar in a comet!
An international team led by French researchers from LESIA and LERMA (both Observatoire de Paris) announces the first detection of ethyl alcohol (C2H5OH) and the simplest sugar, glycolaldehyde (CH2OHCHO) in comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy). Putting into evidence an important organic complexity in cometary material is provding key information to get a better understanding of the conditions that lead to the emergence of life on Earth
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October 6, 2015
IRAM reveals a large reservoir of organic material in the starless core L1544
Placed in the Taurus star forming region, at about 450 light-years from Earth, L1544 is the prototype of prestellar cores, the cold gas condensations on the verge of collapsing to form new stars. An unbiased frequency survey of this dense core has been carried out with the IRAM 30-m radiotelescope, as a part of the Large Program ASAI (Astrochemical Surveys at IRAM; Lefloch, Bachiller et al. 2015), and has recently been used by Vastel et al. (2014, 2015) to provide the full census of oxygen bearing complex organic molecules (COMs) in its central region. As an example, Figure 1 shows the richness of the spectrum in the frequency range from 81 to 89 GHz, together with the identification of the most prominent lines.
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September 1, 2015
Is the black hole in NGC 1277 really obese?
It is well known that each galaxy hosts in its nucleus a super-massive black hole, of mass equal to 0.2-1% of its bulge mass. Recently a few exceptions of over-massive black holes might have been discovered, although this is still under debate. In the lenticular galaxy NGC 1277 in the Perseus cluster, the largest black hole ever has been claimed, through stellar kinematics measurements, to be about 50% of its bulge mass! Some astronomers have contested this value...
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June 16, 2015
NOEMA discovers previously unknown extreme star formation region - the ‘Eye of Medusa’
NOEMA, the most powerful millimetre radio telescope of the Northern Hemisphere, has unveiled its first astronomical image: a unique and spectacular view of a previously unknown region of extreme star formation in the ‘Medusa merger’ – a luminous collision of two galaxies at more than 100 million light years from Earth.
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June 2, 2015
Jérôme Pety and Javier Goicoechea winners of the SF2A-SEA 2015 prize with a program of molecular astrophysics
IRAM congratulates Jérôme Pety (IRAM, France) and Javier Goicoechea (ICMM-CSIC, Spain), the winners of the SEA-SF2A 2015 prize for outstanding achievements in a French-Spanish scientific research cooperation. The winners received special recognition for the study of...
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May 19, 2015
Observational evidence for a new stage in the birth of a star: the first hydrostatic core
A research team has found very serious clues for the presence of a first hydrostatic core in a protostellar core located in the Perseus molecular cloud. The first hydrostatic core is a critical phase in the evolution pathway of a prestellar core towards the formation of a star. It’s a challenging premiere because...
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March 16, 2015
A distant galaxy cluster merger
A team of scientists using the Goddard-IRAM Superconducting 2-Millimeter Observer (GISMO) on the IRAM 30 meter telescope selected one spectacular cluster previously found by Planck to image at 30 times higher resolution than Planck’s original detection. The cluster they observed, called PLCK G147.3-16.6, was known from early X-ray follow-up observations with the ESA’s XMM-Newton telescope to be a merger of two smaller clusters. To the surprise of the scientists...
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January 20, 2015
Galactic ‘hailstorm’ in the early Universe
Astronomers have been able to peer back to the young Universe to determine how quasars – powered by supermassive black holes with the mass of a billion suns – form and shape the evolution of galaxies.
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December 4, 2013
Observing galactic 'blow out'
For the first time, an international team of astronomers has revealed the dramatic ‘blow out’ phase of galactic evolution. The astronomers discovered dense gas being blasted out of a compact galaxy (called SDSS J0905+57) at speeds of up to two million miles per hour. The gas is being driven to distances of tens of thousands of light years by the intense pressure exerted on it by the radiation of stars that are forming rapidly at the galaxy’s centre.
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November 13, 2014
Questing for black holes in the early Universe
Observations of the infant Universe have shown that the most distant galaxies discovered so far host black holes that are extremely massive, characterized by thousand of billions solar masses. These objects, known with the name of “quasars” are generally discovered through the intense X-ray radiation they emit. The mechanism responsible for the formation of these black holes is still not known. To unveil this mystery...
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October 30, 2014
Journey into the formation of a triple solar system
An international research group from LAB (CNRS / University of Bordeaux), IPAG (CNRS / Université Joseph Fourier Grenoble) and IRAM (CNRS / MPG / IGN), led the most accurate study to date, to observe the distribution of dust and gas in a multiple-star system called GG Tau-A.
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October 6, 2014
Construction of the 1st NOEMA antenna - watch this video!
Watch a video about the construction of the 1st NOEMA antenna commented by NOEMA station manager Bertrand Gautier. Welcome to the Plateau de Bure, unique plateau in Europe at 2550 meters above sea level...
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September 25, 2014
Spectacular aerial views of the Plateau de Bure Observatory!
The Plateau de Bure Observatory seen from the sky - a video documentation by DiVertiCimes
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September 25, 2014
First step for NOEMA: MPG President, INSU Director and German Ambassadress inaugurate 1st antenna!
With the official inauguration of the first of six planned NOEMA antennas on 22 September, IRAM is taking a crucial step towards one of the largest Franco-German projects in astronomy: the expansion of the Plateau de Bure observatory in the French Alps into the most powerful and most sensitive millimetre radio telescope in the northern hemisphere. The scientists are hoping that this state of the art observatory will provide answers to questions about our origins and the formation of the universe...
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