Science Announcements

First Data Release: Galaxy Clusters At Vircam (GCAV) VISTA Public Survey

Published: 29 Jan 2019

Galaxy Clusters At Vircam (GCAV) is a survey belonging to the second cycle of ESO VISTA Public Surveys. It is aimed at observing 20 clusters of galaxies covering ~30 square degrees in total, in the infrared YJKs bands. It will mainly explore galaxy evolution over a large and largely unexplored, diverse range of cluster environments. The first data release (DR1) concerns nine clusters and contains tile images and related source lists from data collected between October 2016 and September 2017. Observations were completed for two clusters, RXCJ1514.9-1523 and RXCJ2129.6+0005, in Periods 98 and 99; for these clusters DR1 also contains deep stacks in the YJKs filters as well as merged catalogues containing aperture matched photometry in these filter bands. Data files and sky coverage can be explored via the Science Portal. The accompanying release documentation has more information.

First Data Release: APEX Data of the Boomerang Nebula

Published: 27 Jan 2019

The ESO APEX science operations team has started processing public APEX archival data using standard calibrations. This initial release contains a flux map from  LABOCA observations of the Boomerang Nebula (ESO Programme ID 092.F-9305) in 2013. The planetary nebula shows a unique high speed wind and mass expansion features, resulting in temperature even colder than the CMB radiation. The released flux map at 870 μm provides the opportunity to study dust around the envelope and the grain size distribution of the planetary nebula. The products are available via the ESO Archive Science Portal or the Programmatic Access page. More details about the release can be found in the associated Phase 3 data release description.

Period 103 Telescope Allocation

Published: 21 Dec 2018

The 103rd Observing Programmes Committee (OPC) met on 20-22 November 2018. A total of 1082 (10-hour equivalent) nights of Visitor Mode and Service Mode observations were allocated on the VLT/VLTIVISTAVST, the 3.6-metre and NTT, and APEX telescopes. The submission deadline for Phase 2 Service Mode observations is Thursday 7 February, 2019; see the separate announcement for further details.

Phase 2 for Observing Period 103

Published: 20 Dec 2018

With the release of the telescope schedule, the preparation of Service Mode (SM) observations (Phase 2) starts. The deadline for the submission of the Phase 2 material for Period 103 observations is 7 February 2019.

Call for VLTI Science Verification Proposals for MATISSE and for NAOMI+PIONIER/GRAVITY

Published: 19 Dec 2018

The VLTI has recently seen the commissioning of the MATISSE beam combiner and the NAOMI Adaptive Optics (AO) modules for the Auxiliary Telescopes. ESO is now calling for Science Verification (SV) Proposals, to be executed in April and May 2019. MATISSE SV aims at demonstrating the imaging capabilities and updated limiting magnitudes (compared to P103). NAOMI SV, performed with the PIONIER and GRAVITY instruments, aims at demonstrating the gain in sensitivity and precision delivered by the AO correction.

Last Chance to Participate in Global Survey of Mathematical and Natural Scientists

Published: 17 Dec 2018

The 2018 Global Survey of Mathematical, Computing, and Natural Scientists aims to collect data from scientists across the world to inform policy makers from all countries, especially developing countries, on ways to reduce the gap between men and women in mathematical, computing, and natural sciences. The survey opened on 1 May 2018 and has so far collected feedback from more than 25 000 scientists. Unfortunately the field of astronomy has received one of the lowest number of respondents (about 1500), a mere 11% of the total International Astronomical Union (IAU) membership. Contributions will be accepted until 31 December 2018 so there is still time to remedy what may otherwise become a missed opportunity!

Important Dates for ALMA Cycle 7

Published: 17 Dec 2018

The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) will start the next observing cycle (Cycle 7) in October 2019. ALMA Cycle 7 will introduce new capabilites in Band 7, including long baselines and solar observations. A Call for Proposals with detailed information on Cycle 7 will be issued in March, with a deadline for proposal submission in April. This first announcement highlights aspects of Cycle 7 that may be needed to plan proposals. More information can be found via the ALMA Science Portal.

ESPRESSO Data Reduction Pipeline Released

Published: 16 Dec 2018

The first public version of the  data reduction pipeline for the ESPRESSO instrument has been released. The new pipeline supports all observing modes of ESPRESSO. The release includes the reduction software, demo data to test the pipeline, as well as an ESOREFLEX workflow to reduce and display the data, and interactively explore the resulting spectra or any of the calibrations used in the reduction. For further information and installation instructions, please visit the VLT Instrument Pipelines webpage. An improved version of the pipeline is expected to be released in early 2019.

Workshop: The Very Large Telescope in 2030 - Registration Open

Published: 14 Dec 2018

ESO, Garching, Germany, 17–21 June 2019  

The VLT provides a powerful suite of visible and infrared instruments, including unique capabilities like coherent and incoherent combinations of the four 8-metre Unit Telescopes and a multi-laser guided adaptive optics system.  In combination with ALMA, it represents comprehensive coverage across  the full parameter space encompassing ground-based observations in visible, infrared and sub-mm wavelengths. With the advent of ESO's Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) the VLT will take on a new role. It will still serve a large community and will continue to provide unique data. Its strengths will include a suite of versatile instrumentation on four 8-metre telescopes, the spatial resolution achievable by interferometry and a flexible operations model. The VLT, VLTI and the instrumentation have been maintained at peak performance and new capabilities have been developed.

A discussion of future science served by the VLT should be the basis for its development in the ELT era. The ELT, VLT in its many functions and the ESO 4-metre telescopes will form a powerful astrophysics resource. The new role of the VLT needs to be defined and this workshop will provide a discussion forum aimed at shaping the VLT's future.

Save the Date for the ALMA Development Studies Workshop

Published: 13 Dec 2018

ESO, Garching, Germany 3–5 June 2019

In order to keep ALMA at the forefront of technology, all ALMA partners have a continuous development programme. ESO strives to closely involve the member state institutes in this programme by issuing calls for development studies every three years (see the  ALMA European Development webpage). The next call is expected to be issued in 2019. To optimally develop the ideas for new studies – especially in the context of the ALMA development roadmap – ESO will organise a development study workshop in Garching; further details will be announced soon. See the workshop webpage for more information.

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