Science Announcements

Science with UV-Efficient Ground-based Spectrographs Online Workshop: 3-5 February 2021

Published: 14 Dec 2020

A broad range of fundamental science is pushing for significantly better spectroscopic sensitivity at near-UV wavelengths. The four 8.2m telescopes of ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) are the world's most scientifically productive ground-based observatory at visible/infrared wavelengths. Looking to the future of the VLT there is a long-standing aspiration for an optimised ultraviolet spectrograph, culminating in plans for the Cassegrain U-Band Efficient Spectrograph (CUBES). An on-line workshop on science with UV-efficient ground-based spectrographs will take place on 3-5 February 2021.

ELT News

Published: 14 Dec 2020

The ELT has recently received a 10% increase to its budget, which brings the total cost of the project to €1.3 billion. The funding boost was approved by the ESO Council, the organisation’s main governing body. An 80% of the ELT’s budget is being invested in contracts with industry in ESO member states and in Chile. The revised budget includes the procurement of components originally deferred to a second phase of the project, such as the telescope’s second prefocal station, two more laser guide star systems, a set of astronomy-relevant atmospheric monitoring equipment and a small technical building at Armazones to optimise operations and maintenance activities. The new budget includes the cost of activities needed to bring the ELT into operation as part of ESO’s Paranal Observatory.

Information on the Period 107 Telescope Schedule

Published: 14 Dec 2020

Under normal circumstances, the Period 107 telescope schedule would have been announced at this point in time. However, as previously announced, the corresponding Call for Proposals has been suspended, as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Chile, and a special call will be opened in the coming months. Principal Investigators whose programmes have been affected by the loss of science time in Period 105 will be contacted in January on a case-by-case basis with information on the specific plans for their observations in Period 107. Further information can be found on the COVID-19 impact FAQ webpage and on the La Silla Paranal Observatory news webpage.

New data release (DR4) from the Gaia-ESO Spectroscopic Public Survey

Published: 10 Dec 2020

The new data release from the Gaia-ESO Public Spectroscopic Survey (GES) DR4 delivers about 190,000 stacked, quality-controlled, 1-d spectra (R between 18000 and 54000) of 114,500 unique stellar targets. These stars were observed with GIRAFFE and UVES from 31.12.2011 to 26.01.2018, during the entire period of execution of the survey. These targets were selected from all the major structural components of the Milky Way: bulge, thick and thin discs, halo, including open star clusters of all ages and masses. The 1-D spectra from GES DR4 augment or update the spectra published in the previous data releases, which included observations up to July 2014 (~44000 spectra for ~25000 objects).

High-Resolution MUSE Data of the Inner Region of NGC 7130 Released

Published: 10 Dec 2020

The Seyfert starburst galaxy NGC 7130 was targeted for commissioning and science verification of the MUSE Narrow Field Mode, in programmes 60.A-9100(K) and 60.A-9493(A), P.I. Marja Seidel. The reduced data cube provides an angular resolution of 0.17 arcsec across a field of view of 7.5x7.5 arcsec2 covering the spectral range between 4750 and 9300 Å with a resolution of about 2.5 to 2.7 Å.

Second Data Release from the Galaxy Clusters At Vircam (GCAV) ESO VISTA Public Survey

Published: 09 Dec 2020

Galaxy Clusters At Vircam (GCAV) is a survey (programme 198.A-2008, PI M. Nonino) belonging to the second cycle of ESO VISTA Public Surveys. It aims to observe 20 massive galaxy clusters covering in total ~30 deg2 in the infrared Y, J, and Ks bands. Those clusters have also been observed in many ground- and space-based programmes (e.g. CLASH, RELICS, HFF/ BUFFALO). The survey will mainly explore galaxy evolution over a wide, and still largely unexplored, diversity of cluster environments. This second release adds new data of 15 galaxy clusters to the previous DR1.

ESO Summer Research Programme 2021 Call for Applications is Now Open

Published: 08 Dec 2020

After its success in the past two editions, ESO is now ready to launch its Summer Research Programme 2021. This fully-funded initiative is open to all university students not yet enrolled in a PhD programme from any country, although priority will be given to students from ESO Member States, Strategic Partners (Australia) and the Host State (Chile). Applications are now open with deadline 3rd of February 2021, 23:59 CET, and full details can be found on the Programme webpage.

Special Call for Proposals for Period 107

Published: 08 Dec 2020

Following the announced suspension of the regular Call for Proposals for ESO Period 107 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, ESO is implementing a special call for the submission of projects consisting of novel and urgent observations that could be executed during P107. This Special Call for Period 107 will be open only to proposals concerning a highly compelling and competitive scientific topic, requiring urgent observations; proposals of a risky nature, requiring a small amount of observing time to test the feasibility of a programme; and proposals asking for follow-up observations of a programme recently conducted from ground-based and/or space telescope facilities, where rapid implementation holds the promise of breakthrough results.

Operations Ramp-up at Paranal and La Silla

Published: 12 Nov 2020

The gradual ramp-up of observing facilities at La Silla and Paranal continues, with FORS2, UVES, X-Shooter and MUSE (no-AO) being in operation on Paranal, and EFOSC2 and HARPS in operation on La Silla.  It is planned to add most of the remaining telescope and instrument systems by the end of the year, including the Adaptive Optics Facility at UT4 and the VLTI. The current status of the systems in operations can be consulted here.

ALMA Operation Support Facility in Ramp-up Phase

Published: 11 Nov 2020

ALMA started the ‘Operation Support Facility (OSF) Ramp-up phase’ on 21 October. During this phase, the focus of the recovery is on returning to normal services at the OSF, including food service, opening of labs and offices, and the confirmation of the stability of critical services.

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