2017 ESO Calibration Workshop: the second generation VLT instruments and friends

Santiago, Chile,  January 16-19, 2017


Scientific Rationale

Calibration is a critical component in the conversion of  raw data to material  ready for  scientific  analysis.   Consequently a complete, consistent  calibration plan  for  each data  set fulfilling  quality control criteria was recognized as a cornerstone of VLT operation.  In 2007, ESO organized  its first calibration workshop to  (a) foster the sharing of  information, experience and techniques  between observers, instrument developers  and instrument operation teams,  (b) review the actual precision and limitations of the applied instrument calibration plans, and (c) collect the current  and future requirements by the ESO users. It focused on calibration issues affecting the first generation instruments.

Ten years  later, ESO  instrumentation has changed  considerably following the  arrival of  second generation  instruments or  the completion  of major upgrades of  first generation ones - HARPSKMOS, MUSE, SPHERE, VISIR, X-shooter. In the near future, it will evolve further with the completion of the upgrade of CRIRES, the  arrival of ESPRESSO and  the AOF-assisted instruments MUSE and  HAWK-I, as well as the proposed  SOXS and NIRPS, ERIS, MOONS, and 4MOST. For many of them,  the increase  in  complexity requires challenging calibration for optimum performance.

With the 2017 ESO Calibration Workshop we intend to bring together astronomers and instrument scientists from various fields of expertise to share their experience, engage in open discussion, challenge current limitations and try to develop creative concepts for better calibration in the future. We plan to cover

  • all calibration aspects that are relevant to the user community or science operations for ESO’s Paranal (VLT) and La Silla sites,
  • the progress made in characterizing the properties of the atmosphere that allow  science operations to  make the  best use of  the current conditions,
  • the progress made in data reduction and pipeline tools.

Potential topics therefore  include high  quality flat-fielding;  high precision wavelength calibration;  metrology;  calibration  for  high  contrast imaging,  astrometry,  integral  field spectroscopy,  multiple  object spectroscopy  (multi-slit,  multi-fiber),  photometry;  infra-red  sky background  correction;  reference  data (atomic  and  molecular  line parameters); characterization of atmospheric properties and forecasting; atmospheric modeling for data reduction, calibration challenges of survey instruments.
On  the other  hand, the  workshop will  not cover  calibration issues specific to E-ELT instruments, ALMA,  APEX, and VLTI as their specific needs are better served by separate meetings.

We extend a special invitation to our colleagues from  other ground-based observatories to foster collaboration  between organisations and to learn from each other. The venue of the conference has been chosen with a view to the high concentration of major observatories in Chile covering  a wide range of facilities.

As a first we have decided to pre-allocate time at the VLT in preparation of the calibration workshop. This time will be used to execute novel  and  innovative self-contained calibration  methods and concepts. We plan to collect such proposals in advance, discuss their content and merit  with all participants at the workshop and select the most convincing projects in a competitive peer-reviewed process. These will then be executed during the pre-allocated time in due course. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to present your exciting ideas to a group of experts and have them tested in real-life as a fast track project.


Conference email: calibration2017@eso.org

Organizer: ESO

Second Announcement