Science Announcements

ALMA Cycle 4 Science Operations

Published: 25 Feb 2017

ALMA Cycle 4 (1 Oct 2016 – 30 Sept 2017) continues and PI observations will resume on 1 March 2017 after the "austral winter" engineering period through February. More information on the ALMA Status page.


New Weather Restrictions for La Silla ESO Telescopes

Published: 24 Feb 2017

Amended restrictions on humidity, wind and dew point applicable to opening and closing of the domes of the ESO 3.6-metre and the New Technology Telescope (NTT) have been recently released. Both telescopes wil be closed when humidy reaches 80% and can only be opened when it is below 70% for 30 minutes. For the ESO 3.6-metre, the new wind speed restriction will be 18 ms-1. The full listing of the weather restrictions for La Silla telescopes is available here (PDF). These stricter limits lead to a very small increase in weather downtime as result of increased telescope and instrument safety.

2017 VLTI Community Days

Published: 07 Feb 2017

VLTI Community Days: ESO Headquarters, Garching, Germany, 8–10 March 2017
VLTI Winter School: ESO Headquarters, Garching, Germany, 6–8 March 2017

The Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) is currently undergoing deployment of the second generation instruments and infrastructure upgrades, and the K-band multi-beam combiner instrument GRAVITY is being commissioned. The VLTI Community Days are a unique opportunity to get together and reflect on the present and plan for the future.

Data Release 4 of Images and Source Lists from VVV

Published: 06 Feb 2017

The VISTA Variables in the Via Lactea (VVV) survey fourth data release (DR4) provides VISTA tile images and source lists in ZYJHKs filters, processed by the Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit (CASU), for a total sky coverage of 560 square degrees. DR4 contains science data products from observations in the period 1 October 2013 – 15 October 2015, and also science data products from observations in September 2010 to September 2013 not included in the previous release.

Additional Scope for ALMA Long Baseline Science Verification Targets

Published: 06 Feb 2017

The ALMA Long Baseline Campaign, taking place from 1 September to 30 November 2014, has been proceeding well. As a result, the observatory has decided to expand the scope of the capabilities to be demonstrated with two Science Verification (SV) targets with Band 7: the pre-main sequence star HL Tau and the gravitational lens SDP 81. Information on ALMA SV can be found here.

ESSENCE FORS1 Advanced Data Products Available Via Phase 3

Published: 06 Feb 2017

The project "Equation of State: SupErNovae trace Cosmic Expansion" (ESSENCE) aimed to collect ~200 Type Ia SNe over the redshift range 0.15 to 0.75 to study the equation of state of Dark Energy. Spectra were taken for this project with FORS1 in a Large Programme (ID 170.A-0519) and published by Matheson et al. 2005. Advanced data products are now available for these spectra via the query form of the Science Archive.

Announcement of 3mm VLBI in ALMA Cycle 5

Published: 19 Jan 2017

It is expected that phased ALMA will participate in some Global 3mm VLBI Array (GMVA) observations during ALMA Cycle 5 (1 October 2017 – 30 September 2018); see the full announcement for further details. Any GMVA proposal requesting phased ALMA during Cycle 5 must be submitted by the 1 February 2017 deadline; see the proposal call .

Availability of ALMA Solar SV Data

Published: 19 Jan 2017

The latest release of ALMA Science Verification (SV) data will contain observations of the Sun obtained during the Solar commissioning campaigns in 2014 and 2015. The release contains mosaics and single pointing observations in quiet and active solar regions at Band 3 and 6 with the 12-metre, 7-metre and total power arrays. The data are available under ALMA Science Portal SV.

Period 99 Telescope Allocation

Published: 18 Jan 2017

The 99th Observing Programmes Committee (OPC) met on 15–17 November 2016. A total of 1044 (10-hour equivalent) nights of Visitor Mode and Service Mode observations were allocated on the VLT/VLTI, VISTA, VST, the 3.6-metre and NTT and APEX telescopes. Of these, 193 nights were allocated to filler programmes. The submission deadline for Phase 2 Service Mode observations is 9 February 2017, see announcement.

Recommissioning of UT4 with the Deformable Secondary Mirror

Published: 17 Jan 2017

From October to December 2016, Unit Telescope 4 (UT4) was shut down to install the new Deformable Secondary Mirror (DSM), as part of the Adaptive Optics Faciity (AOF) project. The joint planning by the AOF Project and Paranal teams allowed a very efficient re-commissioning of the telescope, and tests were also successfully performed on some of the AOF sub-systems.

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