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 eleven 15-meter telescopes) in the French Alps. Both instruments are prime facilities for radio astronomy and among the most powerful observatories today operating at millimetre wavelengths. [...]
June 8, 2021
10th IRAM 30-meter School on Millimeter Astronomy
This is the first announcement of the 10th IRAM 30-meter School on Millimeter Astronomy. Due to the special circumstances derived from the COVID-19 pandemic, the 10th edition will be held on-line, on 15-19, 22 and 23 November. On-line registration will open shortly.
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May 25, 2021
Prebiotic molecule ethanolamine found in space
A multidisciplinary team of researchers involving astrophysicists, astrochemists and biochemists, has reported the detection of the prebiotic molecule ethanolamine in space, which could have been incorporated into the early Earth. This species forms the simplest head of phospholipids that make up the membranes of all present-day cells.
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March 25, 2021
Launch of Europe’s largest astronomy network
Two astronomy networks are coming together to form Europe’s largest ground-based astronomy collaborative network: the OPTICON-RadioNet PILOT (ORP). The ORP will provide scientists with access to a wide range of instruments, promote training for young astronomers, and open the way to new discoveries.
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March 24, 2021
Astronomers Image Magnetic Fields at the Edge of M87’s Black Hole
The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) collaboration, who produced the first ever image of a black hole, has revealed today a new view of the massive object at the centre of the M87 galaxy: how it looks in polarised light. This is the first time astronomers have been able to measure polarisation, a signature of magnetic fields, this close to the edge of a black hole. The observations are key to explaining how the M87 galaxy, located 55 million light-years away, is able to launch energetic jets from its core.
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January 11, 2021
EHT collaboration honored with Royal Astronomical Society's Group Achievement Award
The EHT collaboration, including an important number of IRAM scientists, has been granted the Royal Astronomical Society's 2021 Group Achievement Award. In its citation, the RAS stated that the EHT image of the black hole shadow of M87 is "one of the finest examples of an achievement resulting from close collaboration by researchers from around the World". The image "represents an important milestone in human ingenuity and scientific endeavour, and is opening new doorways to study the physics of accretion around super-massive black holes in completely unprecedented ways.”
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November 24, 2020
Funding promises a new performance era for the IRAM 30m
The IRAM 30-meter telescope is a lighthouse facility for millimeter wave astronomy since more than three decades and, for this type of telescope, unequaled in sensitivity and scientific productivity with world leading instrumentation. The Spanish science ministry has now decided to dedicate important amounts of European structural funds (FEDER) to refurbish and upgrade the facility.
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November 19, 2020
Artificial intelligence, a game-changer for studying stellar nurseries
Star formation is a complex riddle because molecular hydrogen, the material that forms stars, cannot be directly detected at the low temperatures that prevail in the molecular interstellar medium. Radio-astronomers and signal and image processing experts have recently joined forces to develop new techniques that shed light into this long-standing astrophysical problem. By applying a new pluri-disciplinary approach to a state-of-the art mapping survey of 20 molecules in the famous Orion molecular cloud with the IRAM 30-meter telescope, the ORION-B team has...
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November 13, 2020
A star, eventually!
It is a story many parents are hoping for: Imagine there’s a very young kid that seems like a real low-performer, but then it turns out that secretly it has its very powerful moments - such that the odds are pretty good it will become a real star, eventually. In fact, this is very much what an international team of astronomers found when they examined the very young protostar IRAM 04191 with the NOEMA observatory...
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October 13, 2020
IRAM Executive Council member Reinhard Genzel is awarded Nobel Prize in Physics
The prestigious award honours the scientist Reinhard Genzel for the discovery of the supermassive compact object at the center of our galaxy. Reinhard Genzel has been member of IRAM’s Executive Council for now more than 30 years, a major proponent and facilitator of the NOEMA project and a power user of the IRAM facilities.
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September 29, 2020
The NOEMA observatory: antenna 11 joins the array
As of September 2020, antenna 11 has joined the NOEMA observatory for scientific observations following a very successful and efficient commissioning. Despite the tight antenna maintenance schedule this year and challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, observations with the entire eleven antenna array were made possible...
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September 23, 2020
Wobbling shadow of the M87* black hole
In 2019, the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Collaboration delivered the first image of a black hole, revealing M87* - the supermassive object in the center of the M87 galaxy. The EHT team has now used the lessons learned last year to analyze the archival data sets from 2009-2013, some of them not published before. The analysis reveals the behavior of the black hole image across multiple years, indicating...
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September 1, 2020
IRAM 30-meter telescope detects a possible precursor of biological RNA
Using the IRAM 30-meter telescope, a group of astronomers led by Víctor M. Rivilla detected for the first time the molecule hydroxylamine (NH2OH) towards the molecular cloud G+0.693-0.027 in the center of our Galaxy. This molecular species has been the subject of intensive research in the last years due to its importance in prebiotic chemistry.
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July 28,2020
A growing stellar system directly fed by the mother cloud
For the first time, astronomers have observed a conveyor belt from the outskirts of a star-forming dense cloud directly depositing material near a pair of young forming stars. Scientists at the German Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) and the French Institut de Radioastonomie Millimétrique (IRAM) found that gas motions in the conveyor belt, dubbed a 'streamer', mainly obey the gravitational pull of the innermost part of the core, near the protostar pair.
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July 1, 2020
Tiny globules around young and massive stars: what do they hide?
A unique combination of the IRAM 30-meter telescope and SOFIA images of the Orion Nebula reveals how the winds and UV radiation from young massive stars eat up their natal molecular cloud. The detection of small molecular globules inside the disrupted material can be explained as a result of the unavoidable cloud destruction process. These tiny globules, however, hide unexpected surprises.
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May 25, 2020
COVID-19 epidemic - UPDATE 2
Following the development of the COVID19 epidemic and the measures foreseen and scheduled by the French and Spanish authorities, IRAM adapts its activities to the specific national situation. During the last two weeks gradual restart of activities at the Grenoble headquarters and the Granada office has taken place.
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April 7, 2020
Mysterious Heart of Quasar 3C 279
The IRAM 30-meter Telescope participated in first Event Horizon Telescope observations of a black-hole powered jet. One year ago the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Collaboration published the first ever image of a black hole in the nearby galaxy M 87. Now the collaboration has extracted new information from the EHT data on the distant quasar 3C 279: they observed the finest detail ever seen in a jet produced by a supermassive black hole.
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March 18, 2020
COVID-19 pandemic -- UPDATE
Following the development of the COVID19 epidemic and the measures recently enforced by the French and Spanish authorities, the activities at the institute headquarters in Grenoble as well as at the Granada office have been reduced to a strict minimum.
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March 6, 2020
Guidelines for IRAM users and visitors during the corona virus epidemy
The evolution of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) over recent days requires us to update and strengthen prevention measures for staff and visitors. In this context, we wish to inform you on the present update of preventive measurements for IRAM users and visitors.
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December 19, 2019
IRAM 30-meter telescope and NASA's GISMO camera map inner Milky Way with cosmic ‘Candy Cane’
The spectacular image spans 190 light-years and is one of a set of long, thin strands of ionized gas that emit radio waves. Installed at the IRAM 30-meter telescope, GISMO observed these curious structures in the shortest wavelength ever. To the scientists' surprise they also detected the most prominent radio filament in the galactic center, known as the Radio Arc, a feature delineating the backbone of a candy cane.
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October 28, 2019
A revised timeline for planetary formation? Sounding the cosmic dust around young stars
An international team led by researchers from the CEA Paris-Saclay Astrophysics Department (DAp) has probed for the first time the dust envelopes surrounding stars in formation thanks to the large NOEMA interferometer. Surprisingly, the researchers discovered the presence of large grains whose size grows as one gets closer to the central star. The presence of such large grains, formed only a few 10000 years after the beginning of the gravitational collapse of the molecular cloud from which the star will form, is completely unexpected.
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September 10, 2019
IRAM Conference, Multi-line Diagnostics of the Interstellar Medium - 30 March - 01 April 2020
The conference aims to bring together scientists from a wide interdisciplinary community to address recent advances, current challenges and future directions in the field. The conference will feature three days of contributed and invited talks as well as posters on the topic of multi-line observations, analysis and modeling research.
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September 5, 2019
IRAM scientists share in 2020 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics
The EHT telescope collaboration has won the 2020 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. Hundreds of researchers on the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) team, including an important number of IRAM scientists will share the Breakthrough prize in fundamental physics for their image of the black hole at the heart of Messier 87, a galaxy 55 million light years from Earth. Congratulations to the entire team, across 60 institutions and 20 countries!
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May 20, 2019
Filaments around the Horsehead Nebula are still too young to form stars
An extensive observational survey of the Orion B molecular cloud shows why so few stars are forming in its dense gaseous filaments, despite the fact that the cloud shares similarities with other star forming regions.
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10 avril, 2019
La toute première image d'un trou noir
La toute première image d’un trou noir a été obtenue avec l’Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), un réseau de huit radiotélescopes sur 4 continents différents, conçu à cet effet et qui inclut le télescope de 30-mètres de l'IRAM. Cette image dévoile l’ombre du trou noir supermassif situé au cœur de la galaxie M87.
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April 10, 2019
First-ever picture of a black hole
The first ever image of a black hole has been obtained with the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), a dedicated array of eight radio-antennas over four continents, which includes the IRAM 30-meter telescope. This image reveals the shadow of the supermassive black hole at the center of the M87 galaxy.
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10. April 2019
Das erste Bild eines schwarzen Lochs
Das allererste Bild eines Schwarzen Lochs ist mit dem Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) aufgenommen worden. EHT ist ein zu diesem Zweck gegründeter Verbund aus 8 Radioteleskopen auf 4 verschiedenen Kontinenten, zu dem auch das IRAM 30-Meter-Teleskop gehört. Dieses Bild zeigt den Schatten des supermassiven Schwarzen Lochs im Zentrum der Galaxie M87.
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March 21, 2019
3D rendering of the environment of a red supergiant star
An international team of astronomers led by Dr. Miguel Montargès from KU Leuven has succeeded in reconstructing the 3D geometry of the environment surrounding the red supergiant star μ Cep. The material expelled by the star during its late evolutionary stage provides the building blocks for future planetary and star forming systems. The rate at which the material is expelled is key to understand the further evolution of the star to its next stage, a supernova.
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