Science Announcements

Upgrade of the Paranal Astronomical Site Monitor

Published: 06 Apr 2016

The ESO astronomical site monitor (ASM) system on Paranal has undergone a major overhaul. This upgrade was required due to hardware and software obsolescence and the demands of the Adaptive Optics Facility (AOF) to measure additional atmospheric properties (altitude of atmospheric turbulence along the observing path). This upgrade also includes a new display tool of the ambient conditions.

MOONS passes Its Preliminary Design Review

Published: 05 Apr 2016

The Multi-Object Optical and Near-Infrared Spectrograph (MOONS), has officially passed the major milestone of Preliminary Design Review (PDR). MOONS will be able to deploy ~1000 fibres over a field of view of ~500 square arcminutes, the largest patrol field offered at VLT Nasmyth focus. Total wavelength coverage is 0.6–1.8 μm in the medium resolution (4000–6000) mode; higher (R~9000) resolution will be available for the Ca II triplet (~0.85 μm) region and one region at R~20000 in H-band.

Scheduled Upgrade of the ESO Phase 3 System until 11 April 2016

Published: 31 Mar 2016

Starting on Friday, 1 April 2016, the ESO Phase 3 services, including the dedicated FTP server, the release manager, and the delegation service, will be unavailable due to a scheduled software upgrade. All services are planned to be again up and running by Monday, 11 April 2016.

The Archive Science Group apologize for any inconvenience this may cause to Phase 3 users!

New Release of UltraVISTA Public Survey Data

Published: 23 Mar 2016

UltraVISTA is an ultra-deep VISTA near-infrared Public Survey of the central region of the COSMOS field. This third UltraVISTA data release (DR3) comprises stacked images in YJHKs and NB118 narrow-band filters together with a five-band merged catalogue. The principal difference with respect to the previous DR2 release is a substantial increase in exposure time in all five bands (by a factor of 1.7–4.6) in the four "ultra-deep stripes" regions, corresponding to an increase in depth of 0.4 – 0.8 mag.

Release of HARPS Laser Frequency Comb Commissioning Data

Published: 18 Mar 2016

The first commissioning run of the HARPS Laser Frequency Comb (LFC) was held from 8–17 April 2015. The HARPS LFC is described in a Messenger article (Lo Curto et al. 2012). In addition to numerous calibration measurements, spectra of 4 asteroids and 20 stars were repeatedly observed during commissioning to monitor their radial velocity variations and to compare with published data. These spectra are available for download from the Science Archive Facility. See the HARPS LFC commissioning page for details.

Call for Proposals for Period 98

Published: 29 Feb 2016

The Call for Proposals for observations at ESO telescopes in Period 98 (1 October 2016 - 31 March 2017) has been released. Please consult the Call for Proposals document PDF for the main news items and policies related to applying for time on ESO telescopes. All technical information about the offered instruments and facilities is contained on ESO webpages that are linked from the Call.
The deadline for proposals is 12:00 CEST 31 March 2016.

Revised Acknowledgement for Publications Based on ESO Data

Published: 29 Feb 2016

When findings based on ESO data are published, acknowledgement is requested through a specific statement, to be found here. In order to provide an acknowledgement which authors can easily cut and paste into their manuscripts, this statement has recently been revised and shortened to:

    "Based on observations collected at the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere under ESO programme(s) PPP.C-NNNN(R)."

Call for GRAVITY Science Verification Proposals

Published: 28 Feb 2016

The Science Verification (SV) for the VLTI - GRAVITY spectro-interferometric combiner with the Auxilliary Telescopes (ATs) will take place on the nights of 15–23 June and 15–23 September 2016. All community astronomers are kindly invited to participate in this opportunity to obtain early science with GRAVITY and thus demonstrate the scientific capability of this unique instrument. Details of the SV Call can be found here; the deadline is 18:00 CET 25 March 2016.

Upgrade of SINFONI

Published: 28 Feb 2016

SINFONI was dismounted from UT4 on 20 December 2015 and upgraded during January 2016. The upgrade included a new pre-optics collimator, new J, H and K filters, a new baffle at the entrance focal plane, and new collimator mirrors. In addition, the membrane mirror of the MACAO adaptive optics system was replaced. SINFONI re-commenced routine observations at the end of January 2016.

VLTI Fringes with Four UTs and STS

Published: 27 Feb 2016

An important milestone for VLTI, first fringes using the four VLT Unit Telescopes (UTs) equipped with the Star Separator (STS) systems, was achieved on 10–11 February 2016. This is the configuration to be offered for Observing Period 97 (from 1 April 2016). The tests are an important step towards operating GRAVITY with four UTs, necessary for micro-arcsecond astrometry observations of the Galactic Centre.

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