Science Announcements

‘The ALMA Wideband Sensitivity Upgrade’: First Announcement of a Workshop on the Most Ambitious Upgrade of ALMA since its Conception

Published: 06 Nov 2023

This is the first announcement of the ESO workshop 'The promise and challenges of the ALMA Wideband Sensitivity Upgrade' to take place at ESO - Garching from 24 to 28 June 2024. This upgrade constitutes the top priority of the ALMA 2030 roadmap. It consists of an increase of the instantaneous spectral bandwidth by as much as a factor of four, while retaining full spectral resolution over the entire bandwidth, thus resulting in increases of the spectral scan speed up to a factor of 50 for the highest spectral resolution. In addition, an upgrade of the full signal chain of ALMA – from the receivers and digitizers, all the way through to the correlated data – will result in increases in sensitivity for all observations.

'What Was That?' - Workshop Registration and Abstract Submission are now Open

Published: 31 Oct 2023

The abstract submission and the registration for 'What was that? – an ESO workshop on planning follow up for transients, variables, and solar system objects in the era of LSST' is now open.

The Messenger 191 is Now Available

Published: 31 Oct 2023

The latest issue 191 of ESO’s science and technology journal, The Messenger, is now available online. It features articles in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the collaboration between ESO and Chile, as well as the 10th anniversary of ALMA’s operations. The Astronomical Science section presents a selection of the scientific highlights from the first ten years of the MUSE Collaboration, as well as an overview of the VISTA Star Formation Atlas (VISIONS) public survey’s data release and scientific outlook.

First Release of X-Shooter Spectra from the Young Stellar Objects Observed under the PENELLOPE Large Programme

Published: 27 Oct 2023

The PENELLOPE Large Programme (Pr.Id. 106.20Z8) is a multi-instrument spectroscopic survey aimed at obtaining complementary data to the targets of the ULLYSES program. The latter is a Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Director’s Discretionary Time that was executed in a three-year period, from HST Cycle 27 through Cycle 29 (2020-2022). The HST ULLYSES program is aimed at obtaining low- and medium-resolution spectra of young stars covering the wavelength range from ∼140 nm to ∼1 μm, hence providing a view of accretion and ejection tracers at ultraviolet wavelengths. The PENELLOPE program is a public community-driven effort. It provides optical high-resolution (ESPRESSO, UVES, R>60,000) and medium-resolution flux-calibrated optical and infrared spectra (up to 2.5 μm) with X-Shooter (R > 10,000), giving access to information that is otherwise not obtainable with the HST spectra provided by ULLYSES, such as main stellar properties, accurate interstellar extinction, and veiling; kinematics and geometry of the accretion and wind processes, and more.  

What Was That? – An ESO Workshop on Planning Follow Up for Transients, Variables, and Solar System Objects in the Era of LSST

Published: 11 Oct 2023

Participants are invited to a workshop to prepare for effective follow up of alerts from the Vera C. Rubin Observatory’s Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) using European Southern Observatory (ESO) telescopes. This workshop will cover a broad range of science topics associated with variable, transient or moving objects that will be discovered in vast numbers by the LSST. It is intended to mix overview talks on how LSST will impact these fields, lessons learned from previous surveys and ESO programmes, the expected yield of discoveries from LSST, and the planned capabilities of ESO facilities in the coming decade. There will be invited talks that introduce the LSST, its alert brokers and other tools and services designed to enable follow-up observations. The workshop will include dedicated breakout sessions to plan broad community follow up programmes at ESO. Attendants of this workshop will be able to present their work with a poster/lightning talk. 

Release of Band-to-Band High-Frequency Long-Baseline ALMA Test Data Taken in 2021

Published: 02 Oct 2023

ALMA is releasing data acquired as part of the Extension and Optimisation of Capabilities effort (EOC). These data were taken as part of the High-Frequency Long-Baseline Campaign (HF-LBC-2021) during Cycle 7, which was organised to test the calibration and imaging capability of ALMA at high-frequencies (397 - 908 GHz, Band 8-10) and using long baselines (~16 km). One main priority was to make a final validation of the band-to-band (B2B) phase referencing observation mode in Bands 8, 9, and 10. This technique allows the calibration of high-frequency observations by using a phase calibrator observed at a lower frequency, e.g. pairing Band 10 target observations with a Band 7 phase calibrator. The campaign conducted validation tests observing a complex structure (non-point-source) target source, R Lep, a carbon-rich evolved star in Bands 8, 9, and 10. Details of the campaign is detailed by Asaki et al (2023 Aug ApJ accepted). The successful campaign helped lead to the opening of Bands 8-10 long-baselines during Cycle 9. R Lep in Bands 8, 9, and 10 are available for download.

European ALMA School

Published: 02 Oct 2023

The European ALMA Regional Centre network is organising an ALMA School that will be hosted by the UK ARC Node on 10 - 14 June 2024 in Manchester. This school is designed to provide training on a broad range of aspects related to ALMA, including interferometry, data calibration and imaging, the ALMA archive, analysis techniques, ALMA science, and future ALMA developments. For more details and registration please visit the meeting website.

Period 113 Proposal Submission Statistics

Published: 27 Sep 2023

The deadline for proposal submission for Period 113 (1 April 2024 - 30 September 2024) was 26 September 2023: 782 valid proposals were submitted, noting that submission of Large Programmes is not open in odd Periods.  On the VLT, the most demanded ESO instrument was MUSE with a request of 266 nights, followed by  X-Shooter with 169 nights and ERIS with 138 nights. HARPS/NIRPS on the ESO 3.6-metre telescope was the most demanded instrument at La Silla, with a combined request of 122 nights.

La Silla Observing School 2024

Published: 27 Sep 2023

La Silla Observing School 2024 will include lectures on the basics of observing techniques and will teach participants on how to prepare for observing with ESO telescopes. The participants will work on specific science projects within groups and observe with the NTT, the 3.6m and the ESO/MPG 2.2m telescopes at La Silla Observatory, after which they will reduce and analyse their datasets and present their findings to the public. Registration deadline is 30 October. 

Raising the Veil on Star Formation Near and Far: A Conference in Honour of Richard Hills

Published: 18 Sep 2023

Abstract submission is now open for the conference "Raising the veil on star formation near and far: a conference in honour of Richard Hills". This conference will bring together scientists from multiple areas to discuss the recent developments in understanding star formation both in our Galaxy and across the cosmic epochs, with focus on its elusive and obscured components. It will also be an occasion to commemorate the fundamental contribution in these areas by the late Richard Hills, former ALMA Project Scientist, about two years after his passing. Richard guided the development of instrumentation and observatories that have shaped our understanding of the cold and dusty Universe over the last 50 years both through his insightful technical understanding and his broad scientific knowledge of multiple areas of astrophysics.

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