Science Announcements

Update on Suspended ESO Operations due to the Coronavirus Pandemic

Published: 08 May 2020

All ESO observatories continue to operate in safe mode and no science operations are taking place. As in April and May,  all Visitor Mode runs have also been cancelled for the first two weeks of June. An update will be posted on the La Silla Paranal Observatory news page as soon as ESO starts to ramp up and resume science observations. At present, no date has been set for the commencement of operations.

2020 ESO Studentships

Published: 08 May 2020

The ESO research studentship programme provides an outstanding opportunity for PhD students to experience the exciting scientific environment at one of the world's leading observatories. ESO's studentship positions are open to students enrolled in a university PhD programme in astronomy or related fields. Students accepted into the programme work on their doctoral project under the formal supervision of their home university, but they come to ESO to work and study under the co-supervision of an ESO staff astronomer for a period of between one and two years.

ESO Cosmic Duologues

Published: 07 May 2020

ESO is organising a web-based series of Cosmic Duologues aiming to cover the current state of some of the major questions in astronomy today in a lively way, via a duologue between two professional astronomers, each expert in their field. These events take place on Mondays at 15:30 CEST. The events are streamed live via YouTube and are open to all members of the scientific community. A list of the upcoming duologues, including information on how to access them will be provided on the dedicated website in due time. The next event on Intermediate Mass Black Holes (IMBH) will take place on Monday 11 May. Please see the event webpage for more details of the event.

Online Munich Joint Astrophysics Colloquia (JAC)

Published: 05 May 2020

The Munich Astrophysics Colloquium (JAC) series is jointly organised by ESO, the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestial Physics and the Observatory of the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich. JAC presentations cover the most exciting topics and developments in astrophysics. A video archive of presentations given in  2020 and 2019 is available and earlier presentations can be found through the ESO Garching Seminar Web page.

Update on Status of ALMA Cycles 7 and 8

Published: 03 May 2020

The COVID-19 crisis has continued to affect the global community, including ALMA users and staff. ALMA operations remain suspended, as announced on March 20. On behalf of the ALMA Director, with support from all Executives, a number of decisions were taken regarding the status of Cycle 7 and Cycle 8. Cycle 8 has been postponed until 2021 October. It is anticipated that the Cycle 8 Call for Proposals will open again in 2021 March. ALMA Cycle 7 will continue through 2021 September, with currently non-completed projects ranked A, B and C remaining in the observing queue.

ESO Period 106 Submission Statistics

Published: 01 May 2020

The deadline for proposal submission for Period 106 (1 October 2020 - 31 March 2021) was 23 April, 2020, after an extension of four weeks due to the COVID-19 crisis. 1070 valid proposals were submitted, including 47 Large Programmes, which is the largest number of Large Programme proposals ever submitted in a single period. On the VLT the most requested ESO instrument was MUSE with a request of 486 nights, followed by X-shooter with 364 nights. HARPS on the ESO 3.6-metre telescope was the most demanded instrument at La Silla, with 396 nights.

ALMA Band 2 Contracts Signed

Published: 29 Apr 2020

The contract has been signed for the production of the final set of receivers to be installed on the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). Of the originally foreseen ten receiver bands, eight have already been installed, and the ninth, Band 1, is currently in production in East-Asia. Now, contracts have been signed to start the production of the final band in the original ALMA definition —  Band 2 (67-116 GHz), led by ESO. Exceeding the originally defined frequency range for this Band (69-90 GHz), the proposed receiver will operate over the full 67-116 GHz frequency window. The hugely successful Band 3 receiver already opened up the 86-116 GHz frequency range years ago, but the new Band 2 will allow for observations across the entire 67-116 GHz atmospheric window using a single receiver. The ALMA board approved pre-production of a series of six cartridges, with the goal of moving into production of the full set, one for each ALMA antenna.

ALMA and La Silla Paranal Data Jointly Accessible from the ESO Archive Science Portal

Published: 28 Apr 2020

ALMA data products have been integrated into the ESO Archive Science Portal along with data products from the La Silla Paranal Observatory (including APEX). Millions of datasets can be browsed jointly through a uniform set of query items, providing a unique integrated panchromatic view of the southern hemisphere extending from the near-ultraviolet to millimetre wavelengths. Queries can be carried out interactively through a web application which presents the results on the celestial sphere and provides aggregate and detailed individual information, or via direct database and Virtual Observatory access for programmatic, recurring and/or massive queries. The selected data can then be downloaded from the respective portals for ALMA and ESO. In this initial phase content from the ALMA Archive Interface is synchronised every two weeks, with the cadence progressively increasing with time.

Online Conference: Assessing Uncertainties in Hubble's Constant Across the Universe

Published: 25 Apr 2020

Online, 22–26 June 2020, daily from 12:50 - 15:10 UTC

What's lurking behind the discord in the Hubble constant? This conference will discuss a wide range of observational methods, how to improve their systematics, and what H0 and other cosmological tensions tell us about cosmology and possible new physics beyond the Lambda-CDM model. The registration deadline is 29 May. Please see the conference webpage for more information.

Conference Galaxy Cluster Formation (GCF) 2020 Postponed

Published: 24 Apr 2020

ESO Headquarters, Garching, Germany (postponed)

The aim of GCF2020 is to discuss cluster formation over the last roughly ten billion years, from its beginnings to the present day, with a particular focus on the progress and developments since our first GCF meeting in 2017. Given the rapidly evolving and highly uncertain situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, the second installment of the Galaxy Cluster Formation Workshop series is postponed until 2021. The workshop will most likely take place in summer 2021, although the month and dates have not been decided. Those who have already submitted an abstract will have the chance to update and resubmit. For updates and revised deadlines, please follow the workshop website.

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