Science Announcements

Last Chance to Participate in Global Survey of Mathematical and Natural Scientists

Published: 17 Dec 2018

The 2018 Global Survey of Mathematical, Computing, and Natural Scientists aims to collect data from scientists across the world to inform policy makers from all countries, especially developing countries, on ways to reduce the gap between men and women in mathematical, computing, and natural sciences. The survey opened on 1 May 2018 and has so far collected feedback from more than 25 000 scientists. Unfortunately the field of astronomy has received one of the lowest number of respondents (about 1500), a mere 11% of the total International Astronomical Union (IAU) membership. Contributions will be accepted until 31 December 2018 so there is still time to remedy what may otherwise become a missed opportunity!

Important Dates for ALMA Cycle 7

Published: 17 Dec 2018

The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) will start the next observing cycle (Cycle 7) in October 2019. ALMA Cycle 7 will introduce new capabilites in Band 7, including long baselines and solar observations. A Call for Proposals with detailed information on Cycle 7 will be issued in March, with a deadline for proposal submission in April. This first announcement highlights aspects of Cycle 7 that may be needed to plan proposals. More information can be found via the ALMA Science Portal.

ESPRESSO Data Reduction Pipeline Released

Published: 16 Dec 2018

The first public version of the  data reduction pipeline for the ESPRESSO instrument has been released. The new pipeline supports all observing modes of ESPRESSO. The release includes the reduction software, demo data to test the pipeline, as well as an ESOREFLEX workflow to reduce and display the data, and interactively explore the resulting spectra or any of the calibrations used in the reduction. For further information and installation instructions, please visit the VLT Instrument Pipelines webpage. An improved version of the pipeline is expected to be released in early 2019.

Workshop: The Very Large Telescope in 2030 - Registration Open

Published: 14 Dec 2018

ESO, Garching, Germany, 17–21 June 2019  

The VLT provides a powerful suite of visible and infrared instruments, including unique capabilities like coherent and incoherent combinations of the four 8-metre Unit Telescopes and a multi-laser guided adaptive optics system.  In combination with ALMA, it represents comprehensive coverage across  the full parameter space encompassing ground-based observations in visible, infrared and sub-mm wavelengths. With the advent of ESO's Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) the VLT will take on a new role. It will still serve a large community and will continue to provide unique data. Its strengths will include a suite of versatile instrumentation on four 8-metre telescopes, the spatial resolution achievable by interferometry and a flexible operations model. The VLT, VLTI and the instrumentation have been maintained at peak performance and new capabilities have been developed.

A discussion of future science served by the VLT should be the basis for its development in the ELT era. The ELT, VLT in its many functions and the ESO 4-metre telescopes will form a powerful astrophysics resource. The new role of the VLT needs to be defined and this workshop will provide a discussion forum aimed at shaping the VLT's future.

Save the Date for the ALMA Development Studies Workshop

Published: 13 Dec 2018

ESO, Garching, Germany 3–5 June 2019

In order to keep ALMA at the forefront of technology, all ALMA partners have a continuous development programme. ESO strives to closely involve the member state institutes in this programme by issuing calls for development studies every three years (see the  ALMA European Development webpage). The next call is expected to be issued in 2019. To optimally develop the ideas for new studies – especially in the context of the ALMA development roadmap – ESO will organise a development study workshop in Garching; further details will be announced soon. See the workshop webpage for more information.

Save the Date for ALMA2019: Science Results and Cross-Facility Synergies

Published: 13 Dec 2018

Cagliari, Italy 14–18 October 2019

The aim of this meeting is to once again bring together the worldwide ALMA community to discuss the observatory's recent scientific highlights. This follows on from the success of previous meetings held in 2012, 2014 and 2016 in Chile, Japan and the USA, respectively. A first announcement with further information will be distributed in early 2019.

Workshop: Linking Galaxies from the Epoch of Initial Star Formation to Today

Published: 27 Nov 2018

Sydney, Australia 18–22 February 2019

Over the last two decades, surveys mapping the Universe have made clear that star formation activity peaks about 10 billion years ago (known as cosmic noon). The driver of this behaviour is still an open area of research. A better understanding of star-forming regions and physical processes is required to explain the rise and fall of star formation around cosmic noon.  This joint Australia–ESO conference addresses a range of topical issues, more details are available below. This conference forms part of the Elizabeth and Frederick White research conference series.

Workshop: The La Silla Observatory - From the Inauguration to the Future

Published: 26 Nov 2018

La Serena, Chile, 25–28 March 2019

The La Silla Observatory was officially inaugurated on 25 March 1969. This event marked the culmination of the vision of European astronomers to create a major observatory in the Southern Hemisphere. In the following decades, La Silla served as the test-bed for developing technical and scientific expertise in the European astronomical community, establishing communications channels with the public at large and the interaction of an inter-governmental organisation and its host country, Chile. Relations with other astronomical facilities in the Andes mountains are also part of its history. La Silla has served as a superb site where national communities of ESO member states could install their experiments; some of these facilities regularly put the La Silla Observatory in the news. This conference celebrates the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of La Silla. We will review the significance of its history in all aspects and discuss possible future scenarios. The history of the Observatory including all of its many facets, and the research areas where La Silla telescopes have made important contributions will be reviewed.

Workshop: Preparing for 4MOST - Registration Open

Published: 26 Nov 2018

ESO, Garching, Germany, 6–8 May 2019

4MOST is a state-of-the-art, high-multiplex, optical spectroscopic survey facility currently under construction for ESO’s 4-metre VISTA telescope. During the first five years of operations 4MOST will be used to execute a comprehensive programme of both Galactic and extragalactic Public Surveys, and 30% of the observing time during this period will be available to the community. The process of selecting Community Public Surveys will be initiated by a Call for Letters of Intent for Public Spectroscopic Surveys, to be issued by ESO in mid-2019. In preparation of this Call, ESO and the 4MOST Consortium are jointly organising a workshop to prepare the ESO community for this exciting scientific opportunity, to assist potential PIs in successfully responding to the Call, and to foster scientific collaborations between the community and the 4MOST Consortium.  

ELT News

Published: 25 Nov 2018

A concrete step towards the ELT: Onsite at Cerro Armazones there has been good progress in escavating the platform for the foundations of the Dome and the Main Structure and in pouring the lean concrete. The outline of the telescope’s main structure is clearly visible. The 55-metre diameter circular pit at the centre will eventually contain the foundation for the telescope structure. To put things into perspective, see how small the various construction vehicles look when compared to the size of the ELT’s foundations.

ELT Instrument update: Work on all ELT instruments is proceeding. HARMONI has almost completed addressing the actions from its Preliminary Design Review (PDR), while MICADO is undergoing PDR at the end of November. METIS and MAORY have planned their PDRs for mid-2019. 

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