Science Announcements

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.

Public VLTI Survey of Environments of Early-type Stars

Published: 28 Nov 2013

A public interferometric survey of the gaseous circumstellar environments of hot stars is being conducted. It is named OHANA — the Observatory survey at High ANgular resolution of Active OB stars. The survey is a bad weather/filler programme currently carried out by the VLTI group at the Paranal Observatory.

First Release of VST Public Survey ATLAS Imaging Data

Published: 28 Nov 2013

ATLAS is a ugriz imaging survey targeting ~4500 square degrees of the southern sky with the VLT Survey Telescope (VST). Data products resulting from the first release of the ATLAS public survey are now available via the dedicated Phase 3 query interface at the ESO Science Archive Facility.

First Release of Gaia–ESO Spectroscopic Public Survey Data

Published: 28 Nov 2013

The Gaia–ESO survey is the first of the ESO public spectroscopic surveys. It is a systematic study of more than 100 000 stars covering all the major components of the Milky Way. Data products resulting from the first release of the Gaia–ESO Public Spectroscopic Survey are now available via the dedicated Phase 3 query interface at the ESO Science Archive Facility.

ALMA Cycle 2 Call for Proposals

Published: 28 Nov 2013

ALMA proposals for Cycle 2 have been arriving since the publication of the Call for Proposals on 24 October 2013. ALMA Early Science Cycle 2, will start in June 2014. This Call provides an important opportunity for Early Science from this cutting-edge facility. The Cycle 2 period will span 17 months and users of any professional background, nationality, or affiliation may submit proposals.

VIPERS First Public Data Release

Published: 24 Oct 2013

The VIMOS Public Extragalactic Redshift Survey (VIPERS) is an ongoing Large Programme to map in detail the large-scale distribution of galaxies at 0.5<z<1.2. The project is focused on precisely measuring galaxy clustering and related cosmological quantities, while providing a detailed description of galaxy properties and evolutionary trends, when the Universe was about half its current age. The survey includes a broad legacy for the community, with fairly fast release of the measured redshifts.

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