Science Announcements

ALMA Cycle 6 Programmes & Phase 2 Deadline

Published: 23 Aug 2018


A record number of 1836 proposals were submitted in response to the ALMA Cycle 6 Call for Proposals. The proposals were reviewed during a meeting in Tokyo from 18-23 June 2018. The review committee consisted of 146 Science Assessors grouped into 18 ALMA Review Panels (ARP) covering five scientific categories. The global oversubscription rate for Cycle 6 was 4.9, for European PIs it was 6.2. Of the submitted proposals, 100 received the highest priority of Grade A, 269 received Grade B, and 292 received Grade C. In addition, four new Large Programmes were selected for Cycle 6. The list of all Grade A and B proposals can be found on the ALMA science portal. A detailed report of the Cycle 6 review process is also available. Cycle 6 programmes will be scheduled for observation from 1 October 2018 until 30 September 30 2019.

We remind all Principal Investigators of approved Cycle 6 projects to submit their Phase 2 Science Goals by September 6, 2018 at 1500 UT. The corresponding scheduling blocks (SBs) will be generated by the observatory shortly after the Phase 2 submission deadline.


Welcoming the European ALMA Programme Scientist: Francisca Kemper

Published: 22 Aug 2018

ESO is very pleased to introduce Francisca Kemper as the next European ALMA Programme Scientist. Ciska will join ESO on 1 November 2018, and will act as the primary contact between the ALMA Observatory, the ESO ALMA Support Centre and the European astronomical community with respect to the scientific capabilities, mission and exploitation of the ALMA facility.

ALMA Band 5 Enables the Discovery of Radioactive Molecules

Published: 20 Aug 2018

Earlier this year, ALMA saw its receiver complement extended with the installation of the last Band 5 receivers. These receivers were built by a European consortium consisting of the Nederlandse Onderzoekschool voor Astronomie (NOVA) and the Group for Advanced Receiver Development (GARD). The first science results with this brand new receiver are already starting to appear. One exciting result is the detection of a radioactive molecule in CK Vulpeculae, which heavily relied on ALMA Band 5, as well as the discovery with the prototype Band 5 receiver at APEX.

SEPIA Reinstalled at APEX with an Upgraded Band 9 Receiver

Published: 19 Aug 2018

The Swedish-ESO PI Instrument (SEPIA) was successfully reinstalled at APEX last August. The instrument contains a dual polarization sideband-separating ALMA band 5 receiver (covering 159 to 211 GHz), and a new dual-polarization sideband-separating Band 9 receiver, replacing the previous double sideband receiver. This new facility receiver has an excellent sideband rejection ratio exceeding 15 dB at all frequencies, which is particularly important in Band 9 where there are many atmospheric absorption lines. In addition, the new receiver covers an extended tuning range from 578 to 738 GHz, adding 24 GHz on the lower edge and 18 GHz on the upper edge. Both receivers are offered in ESO Period 103 (see the Call for Proposals).

ESO Public Spectroscopic Surveys with ARO telescopes: Final Call for Proposals

Published: 06 Jul 2018

ESO has issued the final call for proposals to conduct Public Spectroscopic Surveys using the Arizona Radio Observatory (ARO) telescopes as part of an agreement with the University of Arizona. The deadline for submitting Public Survey proposals for ESO ARO time is 27 September 2018. Up to 2000 hours of observing time will be available in this call. Detailed information on the Public Spectroscopic Surveys with the ARO telescopes is available here, together with a LaTeX template for proposal submission. Note the availability of the new ARO Wideband Spectrometer (AROWS) at the 12-metre AEM antenna, allowing two 4 GHz wide intermediate frequencies (IFs) to be recorded.  The final list of available backends is now available.

Period 102 Telescope Allocation

Published: 04 Jul 2018

The 102nd Observing Programmes Committee (OPC) met on 22-24 May 2018. A total of 1174 (8-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 2 August 2018; see the separate announcement for further details.

Phase 2 for Observing Period 102

Published: 04 Jul 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 102 observations is 2 August 2018.

Enhanced Data Discovery Services for the ESO Science Archive

Published: 03 Jul 2018

The archive of the La Silla Paranal Observatory (LPO) is a powerful scientific resource for the ESO astronomical community. We are delighted to announce new capabilities and user services to enhance data discovery and usage in the face of the increasing volume and complexity of the archive holdings:

  • The ESO Archive Science Portal: New web-based access enables browsing and exploration of the archive with interactive, iterative queries. The results are presented in real time in various tabular and/or graphic forms, including interactive previews, allowing an evaluation of the usefulness of the data which can then be selected for retrieval.
  • Direct database and Virtual Observatory access: The inherent limitation in the intuitive way that the web interface enables archive content to be discovered is that it is unsuited to more complex queries, such as those that include sequences with logical statements like “and”, “or” and “not”, or queries that join different sources of information. This restriction can be overcome through direct access to the ESO database tables. Extensive documentation is provided in terms of practical examples, which are intended to provide templates for users to customise and adapt to their specific needs.

Announcement of 2019 ESO Workshops

Published: 02 Jul 2018

Science workshops are an essential component of ESO's programmes and represent a unique opportunity to promote and foster ideas and collaborations within the scientific community. Every year, through the Directorate for Science, ESO provides support and funding to organise two workshops in Santiago and four in Garching, as well as co-funding some external workshops (see ESO Workshops calendar). In 2019, eight conferences have been selected with four being held at ESO Garching, two at ESO Vitacura, and two elsewhere (in Europe and Australia). ESO would like to sincerely thank all workshop proposers for the time and effort they invested in preparing their proposals and for their participation in the call, which resulted in a pressure factor of above three.

Workshop: AtLAST II Science - Spaces Available

Published: 01 Jul 2018

Higgs Centre for Innovation, Royal Observatory, Edinburgh, UK, 10–13 September 2018

The Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) is the most sensitive millimeter/submillimeter-wave observatory spanning 84–950 GHz, and will soon be extended to down to 35 GHz through Bands 1 and 2. However, ALMA's small field of view limits its mapping speed, and the size of the array elements restricts its ability to recover extended scales. In January 2018, a meeting was held to discuss a possible large, 40-metre-class single dish called the Atacama Large Aperture Sub-mm/mm Telescope (AtLAST). A new workshop has been organised to specifically address the many AtLAST science cases, and white papers covering the science, site selection, telescope design, and instrumentation will follow by the beginning of 2019. To get involved in this community effort, please register via the AtLAST wiki.

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