Science Announcements


Published: 22 Feb 2018

First Segments of ELT's Primary Mirror Successfully Cast: The first six hexagonal segments for the primary mirror of ESO's Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) have been successfully cast by SCHOTT (Germany) at their facility in Mainz. These segments will form parts of the ELT's 39-metre primary mirror, which will have 798 segments in total. After casting, the mirror segment blanks will go through a slow cooling and heat treatment sequence and will then be ground to the right shape and polished to a precision of 15 nm across the entire optical surface. The shaping and polishing will be performed by Safran Reosc (France), which will also be responsible for further testing.

ESO Publication Statistics 2017

Published: 21 Feb 2018

Statistics on refereed publications in 2017 that make use of data from ESO telescopes have been published by the ESO library. The statistics are calculated using the ESO Telescope Bibliography (telbib), a database of refereed publications resulting from ESO data. An impressive total of 1085 papers were published in 2017. MUSE and X-SHOOTER papers both took a big leap forward, along with VIMOS, VISIR and the VST. On La Silla, HARPS continues to be outstanding. The annual summary of publication statistics, with breakdown by telescopes and instruments and a comparison with other observatories, is available as Basic ESO Publication Statistics (DOI 10.18727/docs/1).

ESO's Training Programmes: Studentships

Published: 20 Feb 2018

ESO offers a wide range of opportunity to young astronomers to help develop their careers, including including summer and winter astronomy camps for high school students, internships for masters students, PhD studentships and research fellowships. The Director General tells us more about each of these schemes in the latest entry of the ESO Blog.

Period 101 Telescope Allocation

Published: 02 Feb 2018

The 101st Observing Programmes Committee (OPC) met on 14–16 November 2017. A total of 1000 nights (10-hour equivalent) of Visitor Mode and Service Mode observations were allocated on the VLT/VLTI, VISTA, VST, the 3.6-metre and NTT, and APEX telescopes. The outcome of the time allocation was communicated to the Principal Investigators of the 899 proposals submitted for Period 101 on 21 December 2017. The submission deadline for Phase 2 Service Mode observations was on 1 February 2018.

ALMA Programme Scientist

Published: 01 Feb 2018

The position for European ALMA Programme Scientist is open for applications. The Programme Scientist will serve as the primary contact between the ALMA Observatory, the European ALMA Support Centre and the European astronomical community with respect to the scientific capabilities, mission and exploitation of the ALMA facility. The successful candidate will be responsible for ensuring that the European share of the observatory and its future development will enable ALMA to meet scientific requirements. Additionally the Programme Scientist will monitor the scientific performance of ALMA operations and its ability to carry out forefront science.  

Release of VLT/VLTI Instrument Data Reduction Software Packages

Published: 01 Feb 2018

The annual public release of ESO VLT/VLTI instruments data reduction software packages is scheduled for April 2018. Please note that the updated pipeline packages will be released for the following operating systems: Fedora 24–27, CentOS 7, Scientific Linux 7 and macOS 10.10–10.13. In addition to the release of data reduction pipelines in April, some instruments with pipelines under active development have intermediate releases throughout the year. To get announcements of new pipeline releases, please send an email or visit the VLT Instrument Pipelines webpage.

Phase 2 for Observing Period 101

Published: 22 Dec 2017

The allocation of ESO telescope time for Period 101 (1 April – 30 September 2018) is expected to be emailed in the week of 18 December 2017. With the release of the telescope schedule, preparation of Service Mode (SM) observations (Phase 2) starts. The deadline for the submission of the Phase 2 material for Period 101 observations is 1 February 2018.

Workshop: Planning ESO observations of future gravitational wave events

Published: 18 Dec 2017

ESO Headquarters, Garching, Germany, 31 January–1 February 2018

Understanding the nature and results of black hole and neutron star mergers has become a hot topic in astrophysics. The combination of gravitational wave and electromagnetic observations of GW170817/GRB 170817A have triggered new and interesting science projects. In particular, these observations involved more than 50 observatories and highlight the importance of coordination between different instruments and facilities. The timeline for observations of gravitational wave events spans from seconds to days and coordinated observations of any electromagnetic radiation is critical to obtain relevant information.

LIGO-VIRGO Gravitational Wave GW170817: Reduced NACO Data

Published: 17 Dec 2017

The detection of the gravitational wave source GW170817 by the LIGO-VIRGO observatory network on 17 August 2017 has resulted in one of the largest Target of Opportunity campaigns at ESO (see announcement). This new data release adds reduced NACO images in the L' filter, centred at 3.80 microns, to the previously released VISIR reduced frames and finds no detection of the gravitational wave source within the derived sensitivity limits.

Workshop: Science with the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment

Published: 15 Dec 2017

Schloss Ringberg, Tegernsee, Germany, 11–14 March 2018

The Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) 12-metre submillimetre telescope has been in operation for more than 12 years and has contributed to a wide variety of submillimetre astronomy science areas, from the discoveries of new molecules to deep imaging of the submillimetre sky. The telescope is currently undergoing a major upgrade to ensure reliable operations until at least 2022. In addition, a new suite of instruments is being commissioned, including new large cameras for wide-field continuum imaging and new heterodyne instruments highly complementary to ALMA. The conference venue at Ringberg Castle provides a unique setting for in depth discussions on new scientific results with APEX, synergies with other observatories, and the exploitation of the upcoming new APEX capabilities.

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