Science Announcements

New Features for the ESO Archive Science Portal

Published: 02 Oct 2018

ESO’s Archive Science Portal provides an intuitive yet very powerful way of browsing, searching and downloading reduced science-ready data. Since the initial rollout three months ago, it has already been visited by more than approximately 1700 users (as inferred from the count of distinct IP addresses). Based on user feedback a new view mode has been implemented as a central new feature in addition to the already existing sky view (left-hand panel of figure above). It allows users to inspect, at a glance, the multi-dimensional query space in up to seventeen 1D distributions (right-hand panel of figure). They include physical parameters like sensitivity and signal-to-noise ratio, alongside more traditional ones such as Programme ID or instrumental setup. Users can easily interact with any list or histogram to add or remove search constraints and to build up rather complex queries in a progressive fashion.  

Data Release: VANDELS ESO Public Spectroscopic Survey

Published: 01 Oct 2018

VANDELS  is a deep Public Spectroscopic Survey of high-redshift galaxies with the VIMOS spectrograph. It is designed to exploit the multi-wavelength imaging and near-infrared grism spectroscopy available in the CANDELS UDS and CDFS fields. The goal is to obtain spectra with sufficient signal-to-noise to derive metallicities and velocity offsets for absorption and emission lines independently, allowing a detailed investigation of the physics of galaxies in the early Universe. Within an area of 0.2 square degrees, the survey aims at delivering more than 2500 high signal-to-noise (~15-20) spectra of star-forming galaxies in the redshift range 2.5 < z < 5.5 and passive galaxies in the redshift range  1.5 < z < 2.5. This second data release (DR2) is based on observations carried out between August 2015 and August 2017 under the ESO Run IDs 194.A-2003(E-Q).

European Interferometry Initiative: Fizeau Exchange Visitors Program

Published: 30 Sep 2018

The Fizeau program in optical interferometry funds visits of researchers to institutes of their choice within the European Community to perform collaborative work and training on one of the active topics of the European Interferometry Initiative. The visits typically last for one month, and strengthen the network of astronomers engaged in technical, scientific and training work on optical/infrared interferometry. The programme is open for all levels of astronomers (from PhD students to tenured staff), with priority given to PhD students and young postdocs. Non-EU based missions will only be funded if considered essential by the Fizeau Committee. Applicants are also strongly encouraged to seek partial support from their home or host institutions.

ESO Postdoctoral Fellowships

Published: 09 Sep 2018

ESO’s prestigious postdoctoral fellowship programme in both Garching (Germany) and Santiago (Chile) offers outstanding early-career scientists the opportunity to further develop their independent research programmes. From exoplanets to cosmology, observational, theoretical and fundamental astrophysics, these are all areas where ESO Fellows can benefit from a highly dynamic scientific environment, at some of the most advanced ground-based telescopes in the world. Do watch ESOCast 165 to hear what current ESO fellows have to say about the fellowship programme.

Call for Proposals for Period 103

Published: 30 Aug 2018

The Call for Proposals for observations at ESO telescopes in Period 103 (1 April 2019 – 30 September 2019) has been released. Please consult the Period 103 document for the main news items and policies related to applying for time on ESO telescopes. All technical information about the offered instruments and facilities is contained on ESO webpages that are linked from the Call. The proposal submission deadline is 12:00 CEST 27 September 2018.

Volunteers Needed to Test a Distributed Peer Review System at ESO

Published: 29 Aug 2018

Distributed peer review is an increasingly popular method used for science evaluations. By distributing the review load among many peers (as opposed to burdening a single panel or committee) reviewers have a lower workload (i.e. more time to spend per proposal) while investing significantly less time overall, hence allowing more opinions per proposal and a faster proposal evaluation process. ESO is now aiming to add "distributed peer review" as a new method for the future evaluation of proposals in certain categories, while retaining the Observing Programmes Committee (OPC) to oversee the whole process.  

Changed Format for ESO proposals: Principal Investigator Information Removed During Peer Review

Published: 29 Aug 2018

In an effort to mitigate the effects of unconscious bias inherent in any evaluation process, in Period 103, the email address, affiliation and country of the Principal Investigator (PI) of each proposal will no longer be available to the reviewers in the Observing Programmes Committee. In addition, the names of the PI and co-investigators will be listed alphabetically on the last page of the proposal, in such a way that the identity of the PI is unknown. These changes to every proposal are made immediately after submission when the proposal reaches the ESO system, and are already in effect for Director's Discretionary Time proposals.

Call for ESO Public Spectroscopic Surveys with ARO Telescopes - New Backend Available

Published: 24 Aug 2018

The Arizona Radio Observatory has announced the successful commissioning of the new ARO Wideband Spectrometer (AROWS) spectrometer on the 12-metre ALMA Prototype antenna. AROWS covers two 4-GHz wide intermediate frequencies, and is planned to be upgraded to cover four 4 GHz wide intermediate frequencies. It is used with the sideband-separating receiver covering 82.5 to 116 GHz, and replaces the old MAC and filterbanks.

The deadline for ESO Public Spectroscopic Surveys with ARO is 27 September 2018 at 12:00 CEST, as announced in July. Full details are available via the web page of the call for public survey proposals.

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.

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