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 seven 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. [...]
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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