Science Announcements

Period 99 Delta Call for VLTI Proposals

Published: 06 Apr 2017

ESO is issuing a Delta Call, inviting proposals for VLTI time in July–September (Period 99B) with the Auxiliary Telescopes. Owing to a combination of circumstances, approximately 150 hours have become available for specific baselines in the date range 14 July – 23 September 2017 (see accompanying table).

ESO Period 100 Proposal Submission Statistics

Published: 05 Apr 2017

The deadline for proposal submission for Period 100 (1 October 2017 – 1 April 2018) was 30 March 2017. 895 valid proposals were submitted, including 16 Large Programmes, of which one is a GTO Large Programme. The number of proposals for P100 is very similar to that of periods 91 (893), 92 (892), 93 (898), 94 (901), 98 (901) and 99 (887). This indicates a return to a steady situation following the peak observed in periods 95 (934), 96 (960) and 97 (1024), corresponding to the deployment of MUSE and SPHERE. The total time request also remained very similar to the steady state, with the total number of distinct scientists exceeding 3500.

Release of Pipeline-Processed PIONIER Data

Published: 04 Apr 2017

As part of the agreement between ESO and Institut de Planétologie et d'Astrophysique de Grenoble (IPAG) to offer the VLTI PIONIER instrument in Service and Visitor Modes for Periods 96 to 99, IPAG has committed to process the raw data and deliver calibrated visibility data (squared visibility amplitudes and closure phases) to the ESO Science Archive Facility.

VISTA Magellanic Survey Data Release 4

Published: 02 Apr 2017

The VISTA Magellanic Survey (VMC) aims at the determination of the spatially resolved star formation history and three-dimensional geometry of the Magellanic system, reaching sources below the oldest main-sequence turn-off with multi-epoch Ks mean magnitudes for pulsating variable stars. This new data release (DR4) is based on observations of twelve survey fields covering a total of about 18 square degrees, acquired between November 2009 and August 2013, with at least three visits per field in Y and J filters and 12 in Ks.

Reaching New Heights in Astronomy

Published: 23 Mar 2017

Celebrating ESO's achievements and perspectives from 10 years of Tim de Zeeuw as Director General
ESO Headquarters, Garching, Germany, 28–30 August 2017

Planning is underway for a conference to mark the decade of Tim de Zeeuw as Director General on the occasion of his departure from ESO. The conference will feature mostly invited talks and will extend from Monday afternoon until Wednesday midday. Full details and registration information will be available soon on the conferences and workshops page. Please mark your calendar.

Users Committee Meeting and Users Poll 2017

Published: 22 Mar 2017

The Users Committee (UC) represents ESO's astronomical community at large and acts as an advisory body to the ESO Director General on matters related to the performance, scientific access, operation and user interfaces to the La Silla Paranal Observatory and ALMA. The annual meeting of the UC is scheduled at ESO Headquarters on 9–10 May 2017. In preparation for the upcoming meeting, the UC has designed a Poll which you are kindly invited to complete.

APEX Going Into Extended Shutdown Starting October 2017

Published: 21 Mar 2017

As announced in the Call for Proposals for Period 100, no science observations are foreseen with APEX from October 2017 to March 2018. This extended shutdown period is required to perform a number of major telescope maintenance activities, such as the replacement of the subreflector, the gearboxes and the shutter mechanism.

Release of SPHERE Commissioning Data

Published: 20 Mar 2017

The Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet REsearch instrument (SPHERE) on VLT UT3 was commissioned in May – October 2014. Selected stellar targets were observed to demonstrate the capabilities of the instrument. The data are packaged by science targets with sets of matching calibration data and are available from the SPHERE commissioning page.

Postponement of MUSE Public Deep Field

Published: 20 Mar 2017

Following the call for ideas for selection of target field(s) for a Public MUSE Deep Field, six submissions were received. These were carefully assessed by a committee of community experts. Many of the proposals were felt to be scientifically interesting, but unfortunately none were judged to be urgent or compelling enough to warrant the very large allocation of up to 60 nights laid out in the call, especially in view of the huge oversubscription for MUSE. The campaign strategy as originally envisioned also carried risks, which only crystallised during the assessment process, most significantly due to lack of agreement with JWST and HST to undertake a joint public campaign.

New Release of Imaging and Multi-band Catalogue Data from VST ATLAS

Published: 19 Mar 2017

The ESO Public Survey ATLAS with VST is targeting 4500 square degrees of the southern sky in u,g,r,i,z to depths comparable to those of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey SDSS. Its wide wavelength coverage, from the u- to z-band complements the VISTA VHS and VIKING Surveys in YJHK bands. This third release provides stacked reduced images, associated source lists and the band-merged catalogue from the beginning of observations in August 2011 to end September 2014.

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