Science Announcements

Instrumentation Developments

Published: 26 May 2015

Recent developments of the Adaptive Optics Facility (AOF) project and the use of a laser comb for improved wavelength calibration have been announced.
The 4 Laser Guide Star Facility (4LGSF) achieved first light with the first of the laser guide star units on VLT UT4; see Announcement. The components of the AOF will be installed later this year and commissioned in 2015 and 2016.
The laser frequency comb installed on HARPS has completed an intense first commissioning phase. A velocity precision of better than 5 cm s-1 was obtained on a single laser comb exposure, improving to better than 2 cm s-1 on combining exposures. See Announcement for more details.

ALMA Early Science Cycle 3 Submission

Published: 25 May 2015

The submission of proposals for the ALMA Early Science Cycle 3 closed on 23 April 2015. The entire process went smoothly and without any problems. The number of proposals reached the record number of 1582 for a total of 9037 hours of 12-m array time; a total of ~2100 hours is available for observations. This compares to a total of 1382 proposals in Cycle 2. The fraction of proposals from European PIs was 42%. More details of the submission statistics are available.

Release of the ArTéMiS Data Reduction Package

Published: 24 May 2015

The submillimetre wide field bolometer camera ArTéMiS was successfully re-commissionned in July 2014 on APEX. ArTéMiS data can now be reduced using the BoA package. Dedicated ArTéMiS data reduction scripts are now available and the required receiver parameter files. Alternative data reduction scrips in IDL will be released in the near future.

New User Guide for Archival Reduced Data Products

Published: 23 May 2015

The Archive Science group has now published a user guide providing a description of the reduced data products that can be browsed and downloaded from the dedicated Phase 3 query forms of the Science Archive Facility. The user guide contains an overview of the data types, a description of their reduction/calibration levels and instructions on how to browse and access these products.

FLAMES/GIRAFFE Reduced 1D Spectra Available from ESO Archive

Published: 22 May 2015

All spectra obtained with the FLAMES/GIRAFFE spectrograph in the multi-object (MEDUSA) mode, from June 2005 until December 2014, are now published via the Science Archive as reduced data. The extracted, wavelength calibrated, one-dimensional spectra are in tabular FITS format, using the science data products standard.

New Installation of ESO Reflex

Published: 22 May 2015

ESO's recommended environment to run data reduction pipelines ESO Reflex is now much easier to install on Apple computers. Under Apple Mac OS X 10.9 or newer, a substantially simplified installation procedure using MacPorts is now available. This procedure should resolve most of the installation problems users experienced in the past.

ESO Period 96 Proposal Statistics

Published: 25 Apr 2015

The proposal submission for ESO Period 96 (1 October 2015 – 31 March 2016) closed on 26 March 2015. 958 proposals were received, including 27 Large Programme and 46 Target of Opportunity proposals, for a total of 2450 nights. This is some 30 proposals more than last period, but for a similar number of nights.

Paranal Infrastructure Projects

Published: 24 Apr 2015

Two large infrastructure projects are currently taking place on Paranal. The combined Coudé room that will merge the light from the incoherent foci of the VLT is being prepared for the arrival of ESPRESSO. The other project concerns the preparation of the infrastructure of the VLT Interferometer (VLTI) for the arrival of the second generation instruments GRAVITY and MATISSE.

Data Format Specification for APEX Sub-millimetre Sky Maps and LESS Phase 3 Data Release

Published: 24 Apr 2015

Phase 3 allows users to return their reduced data for publication via the ESO Science Archive Facility. The Phase 3 data format specifications and Phase 3 validator have now been extended to astrometrically registered and flux calibrated sky maps in the submillimetre domain. This format is relevant to the Phase 3 data release for the LESS extra-galactic submillimetre survey.

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