Science Announcements

First Data Release of the VIKING Five-band Photometric Catalogue

Published: 19 Dec 2013

The VISTA Kilo-degree Infrared Galaxy Survey (VIKING), one of the 6 VISTA public surveys, is a wide area (eventually ~1500 square degrees), intermediate-depth (5-sigma detection limit J~21 [Vega]) near-infrared imaging survey, in the 5 broadband filters Z, Y, J, H, Ks. The first VIKING data release, which is based on observations until mid-February 2011, covers 226 square degrees in all 5 filters and consists of 14.7 million sources (including low-reliability single-band detections).

Release of Additional Pipeline-processed UVES Data

Published: 19 Dec 2013

The collection of pipeline-processed high-resolution spectral data obtained with UVES has been significantly extended, now also including the observations that make use of the image slicers. In addition to the previously announced UVES data release, over 10 000 individual spectra, acquired 2003 - 2013, are now available from the Science Archive Facility.

New Version of Reflex Supports SINFONI and KMOS

Published: 19 Dec 2013

Version 2.5 of the ESO data reduction environment Reflex has been released. Reflex provides an easy interface to run and supervise VLT data reduction pipelines. Reflex can be installed with a self-explanatory installation script and the workflows are pre-configured to run right out of the box on demo or user data. All Reflex workflows come with a detailed step-by-step tutorials, and a detailed discussion of the design principles has been presented by Freudling et al, 2013, AA 559, 96.

Update from the Scientific Technical Committee

Published: 19 Dec 2013

The 81st Scientific Technical Committee (STC) meeting was held on 22–23 October 2013. The STC meets twice a year, is composed of representatives from the ESO member states and is the primary interface between the scientific community and the telescope and instrumentation projects. The STC also has sub-committees for the La Silla Paranal Observatory (LSP), ALMA and APEX (European Science Advisory Committee, ESAC) and for E-ELT (ESC). The ESC was constituted by ESO Council in June and met for the first time this October.

ALMA Cycle 2 Proposal Statistics

Published: 19 Dec 2013

The proposal submission deadline for ALMA Early Science Cycle 2 proposals closed on the 5 December 2013. A total of 1382 proposals were received, requesting 7314 hours of 12-metre array time and 3325 hours of Morita Array (ALMA Compact Array, ACA) time. ToO observations were requested in 24 proposals. A total of 1049 individual PIs and 3408 proposers (PIs and CoIs) were involved in the submitted proposals.

Restricted Services from 21 December to 01 January

Published: 19 Dec 2013

ESO-Garching Operations will provide only minimal support during the Christmas–New Year holiday period, mostly limited to core operational tasks. Full support (user) services will resume on 2 January 2014.

Time Allocation for Period 93

Published: 19 Dec 2013

Proposers for ESO Period 93 (1 April–30 September 2014) have just been notified of their allocation of observing time on Paranal and La Silla instrumentation. The Phase 2 observation preparation now starts for Service Mode users. The P93 deadline for Phase 2 submission will be on Thursday, 6 February 2014. In order to prepare their Phase 2, we recommend users to download the latest release of P2PP 3.4.0.

Retirement of ISAAC

Published: 19 Dec 2013

A page of VLT history was turned last week. After 15 years of service and more than 800 scientific publications (and still counting), FORS1, ISAAC was one of the first two instruments on the VLT, obtaining first light in November 1998. The last astronomical observation was of SN 2013ct in the spiral galaxy NGC 428. ISAAC was disconnected on Monday 16 December 2013, ready to be removed from the telescope. The UT3 (Melipal) Nasmyth-A focus will occupied by one of the 2nd generation instruments, SPHERE the VLT planet­ finder instrument, which will be delivered to the Paranal Observatory next year. A Messenger article is being prepared, which will summarise the main scientific achievements obtained with this workhorse instrument.

Paranal Instrumentation Changes

Published: 19 Dec 2013

Due to previously unforeseen new requirements on the extended lifetime of NACO until 2018, imposed by the delay of the ERIS project, it was decided to limit the number of relocations of NACO between VLT focal stations to a single one. A careful evaluation of the scientific and technical advantages and disadvantages was discussed by the Scientific Technical Committee in a special teleconference. NACO will not be mounted on UT4 in place of HAWK-I in Period 93 as announced in the Call for Proposals but will replace CRIRES on UT1 as of September 2014. CRIRES will already be dismounted by July 2014 and handed over to the CRIRES+ upgrade project. These constraints have been used to schedule UT1 and UT4 for Period 93.

PIONIER Science Meeting and VLTI Community Days

Published: 28 Nov 2013

The PIONIER science meeting will be held on 13–14 January 2014, followed by the VLTI community days (15–16 January), and is organized by IPAG, ESO and Eii. The spirit of the meeting is to provide a direct way for the community to exchange ideas with those at ESO who take care of the VLTI.

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