Science Announcements

SPHERE Science Verification

Published: 17 Dec 2014

SPHERE Science Verification (SV) took place from 4 to 11 December 2014 on VLT UT3. Out of 67 submitted proposals, 40 programmes were scheduled for a total of 88.4 hours of observations. Nineteen programmes were completed, with an additional 9 programmes receiving partial data sets. Some more SV time is planned in February 2015 and it is hoped to undertake some of the remaining 12 observing programmes.

E-ELT Two-Phase Construction

Published: 17 Dec 2014

As announced in the Organisation Release eso1440, the ESO Council has approved the construction of the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) in two phases and authorised spending of around one billion euros for the first phase. This first phase will cover the construction costs of a fully working telescope with a suite of powerful instruments and first light targeted in ten years. The context for this decision is reported in an article (PDF) in the December issue of The Messenger.

Exchange of FORS2 Atmospheric Dispersion Corrector

Published: 16 Dec 2014

The coatings of the FORS2 linear atmospheric dispersion corrector (LADC) prisms have degraded, so it was decided to replace them with the uncoated prisms of the twin FORS1 LADC. The exchange took place on 10 November 2014 and the performance of the prisms has been extensively tested.

ESO GOODS Data Products Now Entirely Served by Phase 3

Published: 15 Dec 2014

The ESO GOODS advanced data products are now available via the Science Data Product query forms of the ESO Archive Facility.

MUSE Pipeline Version 1.0 Available

Published: 15 Dec 2014

The MUSE pipeline recipes version 1.0 are available and can be obtained here. With respect to the previous release, many aspects have been significantly enhanced based on analysis of commissioning data. The V1.0 pipeline includes improvements to the bias subtraction and cosmic ray rejection, better smoothing of the response function, redesign of the twilight flatfield handling and a per slice illumination correction to take into account thermal effects. A detailed Cookbook is also available.

Supercam Installed on APEX

Published: 14 Dec 2014

After an intensive installation campaign, the Supercam visiting instrument has been successfully installed in the Cassegrain cabin of APEX. Supercam is a 64-pixel 345 GHz heterodyne array built by the University of Arizona

ALMA Cycle 3 Pre-announcement

Published: 14 Dec 2014

The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) will start the next cycle of observing (Cycle 3) in October 2015. A Call for Proposals will be issued on 24 March 2015, with an anticipated deadline for proposal submission on 23 April 2015. Cycle 3 operations will include standard and nonstandard modes, with non-standard mode observations being conducted on a best-effort basis similar to previous Cycles. More details here.

Joint ESO MPA MPE TUM Excellence Cluster Universe Conference:
Theoretical and Observational Progress on Large-scale Structure of the Universe

Published: 12 Dec 2014

Joint Workshop, ESO Headquarters, Garching, Germany, 20–24 July 2015

The conference will cover both theory and observations of the large-scale structure of the Universe to discuss recent progress and future directions. Measuring the distribution of matter in the Universe as a function of time and space is a powerful probe of cosmology, both for gravity on scales much greater than the conventional tests of General Relativity and the origin of cosmic acceleration. Statistical properties of the matter distribution can also constrain the nature of initial fluctuations, hence the physics of inflation and the neutrino mass.

Early E-ELT Science: Spectroscopy with HARMONI

Published: 27 Nov 2014

Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Oxford, United Kingdom, 29 June – 3 July 2015

This workshop will explore some of the first science that will emerge from the European Extremely Large Telescope (E‐ELT) in the next decade. The primary spectroscopic capability of E-ELT at first light will be provided by the HARMONI instrument, a visible and near-infrared integral field spectrograph that will be capable of working close to the diffraction limit of the telescope or in natural seeing mode.

ALMA Community Days: Cycle 3 Proposal Preparation

Published: 27 Nov 2014

ESO Headquarters, Garching, Germany, 13–15 April 2015

The ESO ALMA Regional Centre (ARC) will organise another Community Days workshop at ESO Headquarters in order to optimally prepare the European astronomical community for ALMA Cycle 3. The call for Cycle 3 observing proposals will be released in March 2015 and the main new scientific capability will be significantly longer baselines than in previous cycles.

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