Scientific and Technical Committee Meeting

Published: 15 May 2023

Under its remit to “Advise Council and the Director General on policy matters of scientific and technical importance related to the planning and operation of ESO”, the STC had its 102nd meeting on 17 and 18 April in Vitacura, Chile. The agenda included the updates on current and future ESO facilities. As always the STC was deeply impressed by the high level of activity at all of ESO’s observatories -ALMA, ELT and Paranal/La Silla.

In addition to the regular ALMA status reports (where the STC noted once again the high oversubscription rate of ALMA proposals), discussions on the wide-band sensitivity upgrade and proposals for European development studies for the coming three years took place.

The substantial progress on the ELT was also noted by the STC. Indeed, a highlight of the STC meeting was its visit to Armazones, where progress on the dome and main structure was witnessed firsthand. The status of the first ELT instruments was also discussed by the STC, particularly METIS, MICADO, MORFEO and HARMONI.

Similarly, the status of new VLT and La Silla instruments, both imminently arriving and planned for the longer term, was also discussed. This included the status of ERIS commissioning, the future status of VISIR, the imminent arrival of MOONS and 4MOST to Paranal, and a proposal for new VLTI visitor instrument.

The current situation of CTA was presented, the newest addition to ESO’s portfolio of powerful observatories.

Finally, the STC expressed its gratitude to all at ESO who made the visit such a successful and memorable one.

The STC will formulate its recommendations for the June Council meeting.