Messenger No. 101 (September 2000)

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1-1 (PDF)
C. Cesarsky
Successful Completion of an Ambitious Project - A Midwinter Night's Dream

ADS BibCode:
2000Msngr.101....1C
Author(s)/Affiliation(s):
Cesarsky, C.
AA(Director Gerneral of ESO)
Abstract:
At 21:44 hours on the night of September 3, the test camera at the Cassegrain focus was opened for 30 seconds, and the fourth VLT U n i t Telescope, Yepun, saw First Light. A historic event in the life of ESO; this first light marks the successful conclusion of the important period which started with the approval of the VLT project by the ESO Council in December 1987. Exceptionally for such a complex and expensive project, the four VLT telescopes have come into operation ahead of schedule. The VLT is no longer only a project, it is now also an Observatory. The first challenge has been met, thanks to the skill and dedication of astronomers, engineers and technicians at ESO and its collaborating institutes and of many industrial firms throughout Europe: four 8.2-m telescopes of exceptional quality are standing on Cerro Paranal.
2-8 (PDF)
J. G. Cuby et al.
ISAAC: 18 Months of Paranal Science Operations

ADS BibCode:
2000Msngr.101....2C
Author(s)/Affiliation(s):
Cuby, J. G.; Lidman, C.; Moutou, C.
AA(ESO) AB(ESO) AC(ESO)
Abstract:
ISAAC was offered to the ESO astronomical community on April 1st, 1999, as one of the first two VLT instruments installed at UT1-Antu. ISAAC (Infrared Spectrometer And Array Camera) is a 1–5 mm imager and spectrometer and has been fully developed by ESO (P.I. Alan Moorwood). Figure 1 shows it mounted on the adaptor/rotator of the Nasmyth B focus. Following integration and extensive testing in Garching, ISAAC was delivered to the Paranal Observatory in June 1998, where it was re-assembled and re-tested in the Integration Laboratory prior to installation on the telescope as scheduled. There were two commissioning periods, in November 1998 and in February 1999 (Moorwood et al., 1998; Moorwood et al., 1999).
References:
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p. 1134–1150.
8-8 (PDF)
ESO
Message to the ESO Community: Opening of the VLT Visitor Focus

ADS BibCode:
2000Msngr.101....8.
Author(s)/Affiliation(s):
ESO
AA(ESO)

Reports from Observers

10-14 (PDF)
R. Maoli et al.
COSMIC SHEAR WITH ANTU/FORS1: An Optimal Use of Service Mode Observation

ADS BibCode:
2000Msngr.101...10M
Section:
Reports from Observers
Author(s)/Affiliation(s):
Maoli, R.; Mellier, Y.; van Waerbeke, L.; Schneider, P.; Jain, B.; Erben, T.; Bernardeau, F.; Fort, B.; Bertin, E.; Dantel-Fort, M.
AA(Dipartimento di Fisica, Università di “Roma La Sapienza”, Italy & Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris, France & Observatoire de Paris, DEMIRM, France) AB(Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris, France & Observatoire de Paris, DEMIRM, France) AC(Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris, France & Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics, Toronto, Canada) AD(Institut für Astrophysik und Extraterrestrische Forschung, Bonn, Germany & Max-Planck-Institut für Astrophysik, Garching, Germany) AE(Department of Physics, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA) AF(Max-Planck-Institut für Astrophysik, Garching, Germany) AG(Service de Physique Théorique, C.E. de Saclay, France) AH(Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris, France) AI(Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris, France & Observatoire de Paris, DEMIRM, France) AJ(Observatoire de Paris, DEMIRM, France)
Abstract:
The measurement of weak gravitational lensing induced by large-scale structures is one of the most challenging programmes for imaging with g r o u n d-based telescopes. The VLT, used in Service Mode, offers an exceptional technical configuration which in principle guarantees high-quality data for demanding programmes. The first attempt done in Period 63 turned out to work very well and provides a remarkable data set on a short time-scale as well as first constraints on cosmological models. It demonstrates that the VLT is a perfectly suited telescope for cosmic shear measurements. Moreover, when it is operated in service mode, this is the most competitive ground-based tool which could make a major breakthrough in the field.
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15-17 (PDF)
R. Falomo et al.
VLT/ISAAC images of quasar hosts at z = 1.5

ADS BibCode:
2000Msngr.101...15F
Section:
Reports from Observers
Author(s)/Affiliation(s):
Falomo, R.; Kotilainen, J.; Treves, A.
AA(Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova, Italy), AB(Tuorla Observatory, Finland), AC(Universita dell'Insubria, Italy)
Abstract:
Our present knowledge of quasar host galaxies is essentially limited to z < 1. Fundamental data come specifically from observations obtained using both Hubble Space Telescope (HST, e.g. Disney et al. 1995; Bahcall et al. 1997; Boyce et al. 1998; McLure et al. 1999) and ground-based 4-m-class telescopes (e.g. McLeod & Rieke 1994, 1995; Taylor et al. 1996; Kotilainen, Falomo & Scarpa 1998; Hutchings et al. 1999; Kotilainen & Falomo 2000; Percival et al. 2000).
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18-20 (PDF)
C. Lidman et al.
Type Ia Supernovae, Cosmology and the VLT

ADS BibCode:
2000Msngr.101...18L
Section:
Reports from Observers
Author(s)/Affiliation(s):
Lidman, C.; Goobar, A.; Pain, R.
AA(European Southern Observatory, Santiago, Chile) AB(University of Stockholm) AC(LPNHE, CNRS-IN2P3 and University of Paris VI & VII)
Abstract:
Over the last decade, two international teams have used the magnituderedshift relation of type Ia supernovae (SNe) to measure the mass density WM and the cosmological constant WL of the universe. Both teams, using largely independent data sets and independent analysis methods, reach the conclusion that the cosmological constant is non-zero and that the expansion of the universe is accelerating (Riess et al. 1998, Perlmutter et al. 1999).
References:
Perlmutter et al. 1995, in Thermonuclear
Supernovae, ed. P. Ruiz-Lapuente, R.
Canal & J. Isern (NATO ASO ser. C, 486)
(Dordrecht: Kluwer), 749.
Perlmutter et al. 1999, ApJ, 517, 565.
Riess et al. 1998, AJ, 116, 1009.
Riess et al. 2000, ApJ, 536, 62.
20-24 (PDF)
F. Courbin et al.
Lensed quasars: a matter of resolution

ADS BibCode:
2000Msngr.101...20C
Section:
Reports from Observers
Author(s)/Affiliation(s):
Courbin, F.; Lidman, C.; Burud, I.; Hjorth, J.; Magain, P.; Golse, G.; Castander, F.
AA(Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Departamento de Astronomía y Astrofísica, Santiago, Chile) AB(European Southern Observatory, Santiago, Chile) AC(Institut d’Astrophysique de Liège, Liège, Belgium) AD(Astronomical Observatory, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark) AE(Institut d’Astrophysique de Liège, Liège, Belgium) AF(Laboratoire d’Astrophysique, Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées, Toulouse, France) AG(Laboratoire d’Astrophysique, Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées, Toulouse, France)
Abstract:
The interest in studying lensed quasars amongst the astronomical community has always been somewhat fluctuating. Periods of great enthusiasm and of profound disappointment have regularly followed one another.
References:
Burud, I., et al. 2001, in preparation.
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24-27 (PDF)
D. Currie et al.
3D Structure and Dynamics of the Homunculus of Eta Carinae: an Application of the Fabry-Perot, ADONIS and AO Software. I. Motions in Homunculus.

ADS BibCode:
2000Msngr.101...24C
Section:
Reports from Observers
Author(s)/Affiliation(s):
Currie, D.; Le Mignant, D.; Svensson, B.; Tordo, S.; Bonaccini, D.
AA(European Southern Observatory, Garching, Germany) AB(European Southern Observatory, Garching, Germany) AC(European Southern Observatory, Garching, Germany) AD(Osservatorio Astronomico di Bologna, Bologna, Italy) AE(European Southern Observatory, Garching, Germany)
Abstract:
Eta Carinae is an extremely massive and highly evolved member of the Carinae starburst region. It has undergone numerous eruptions over the past millennium. In 1841, a giant eruption ejected several solar masses or more of material. Most of this material is currently in the dusty nebula denoted as the “Homunculus”.
References:
1Currie, D.G. and D.M. Dowling. (1999) “Eta
Carinae at the Millennium”, ASP Conference
Series, Vol. 179, 1999, J.A. Morse,
R.M. Humphries, and A. Damineli, eds.
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AJ 112, 1115.
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Hester (1996), “Role of Dust in the Formation
of Stars”, Garching bei München,
Federal Republic of Germany, 11 – 1 4
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2000, SPIE, 4007-73.
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Expansion and 3-D Structure of eta
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27-30 (PDF)
F. Kerber et al.
Unlocking the Past of Sakurai's Object Using FORS/VLT

ADS BibCode:
2000Msngr.101...27K
Section:
Reports from Observers
Author(s)/Affiliation(s):
Kerber, F.; Palsa, R.; Köppen, J.; Blöcker, T.; Rosa, M. R.
AA(Space Telescope European Coordinating Facility) AB(European Southern Observatory) AC(Observatoire Astronomique, Strasbourg, France & International Space University, Illkirch, France & Universität Kiel, Germany) AD(Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Bonn, Germany) AE(Space Telescope European Coordinating Facility)
Abstract:
Sakurai’s object (V4334 Sgr) was discovered by Japanese amateur astronomer Y. Sakurai in February 1996 and first classified as a slow nova. Follow-up observations though immediately showed this to be a very special object indeed. It turned out to be a true stellar chameleon, perhaps the most rapidly evolving star ever witnessed. Details of its discovery and early observations are found in Duerbeck et al. (1996, 1997), Kerber et al. (1998) and Clayton & de Marco (1997). We have now used the combined power of FORS/VLT in order to deepen our insight into this object and its evolution. Using FORS/VLT observations, we have obtained the best spectrum of the old PN surrounding Sakurai’s object. We have derived improved values for the interstellar reddening and we have been able to reliably measure additional diagnostic lines. In particular, the value found for the He II 4686 line is in excellent agreement with our earlier model calculations. We thereby confirm the previous result that the star was a hot, highly evolved PN nucleus before the flash.
References:
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Kameswara Rao, N., 1997, A&A 321, L
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Data Management and Operations

31-36 (PDF)
P. Ballester et al.
The UVES Data Reduction Pipeline

ADS BibCode:
2000Msngr.101...31B
Section:
Data Management and Operations
Author(s)/Affiliation(s):
Ballester, P.; Modigliani, A.; Boitquin, O.; Cristiani, S.; Hanuschik, R.; Kaufer, A.; Wolf, S.
AA(European Southern Observatory) AB(European Southern Observatory) AC(Royal Observatory of Belgium, Brussels) AD(European Southern Observatory) AE(European Southern Observatory) AF(European Southern Observatory) AG(Science Computing GmbH, Munich)
Abstract:
The Ultraviolet-Visible Echelle Spectrograph (UVES) was the first instrument installed at the second VLT Unit Telescope KUEYEN at the end of 1999. UVES is a high-resolution cross-dispersed echelle spectrograph covering the wavelength domain from the ultraviolet at 300 nm to the near-infrared at 1100 nm with two optical arms, which can be used in dichroic mode for parallel observations (Dekker et al., 2000). Its large-size echelle gratings, each 84 cm long, make it possible to achieve a spectral resolution of up to 80,000 in the blue arm and 115,000 in the red. It is equipped with 3 CCD detectors each of size 4K ´ 2K pixels, one EEV CCD in the blue arm, and an EEV/MIT CCD mosaic in the red arm. Commissioning observations have shown the high intrinsic efficiency of this instrument, particularly in the ultraviolet domain (13% at 360 nm). More than 200 hours of scientific observations from UVES commissioning and science verification time have been released for public use. The instrument started regular operation in visitor and service mode on A p r i l1 , 2000, and is used for about 75% of the telescope time (D’Odorico, 2000).
References:
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regression and automated detection,
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D e k k e r, H., D’Odorico, S., Kaufer, A . ,
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Design, construction and operation at
the telescope of UVES, the Echelle
spectrograph for the UT2 Kueyen
Telescope at the ESO Paranal Observatory,
Proc. Conf. SPIE 4008-61.
D’Odorico, S., 2000, UVES at Kueyen:
Bright prospects for high-r e s o l u t i o n
Spectroscopy at the VLT, The Messenger
99, March 2000, 2.
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Other Astronomical News

37-39 (PDF)
C. Waelkens
The ESO Observing Programmes Committee - an Evolving Process

ADS BibCode:
2000Msngr.101...37W
Section:
Other Astronomical News
Author(s)/Affiliation(s):
Waelkens, C.
AA(Chairman of the OPC)
Abstract:
The Universe and its contents are evolving, but our tools to study the heavens at ESO are evolving at a much more rapid pace. The task of the Observing Programmes Committee (OPC) is each semester to recommend to the Director General among the typically 700 proposals introduced by the community those which are thought to lead to the best science with the available instrumentation. It is a challenging task, but also a gratifying one, since it continually confronts one with the rich scientific imagination of the ESO community. This community also frequently expresses its curiosity about the OPC procedures and criteria to rank the observing proposals. The information which is currently posted on the ESO web site might not be detailed enough on the procedures, which in fact recently underwent some changes which needed discussion within the committee before being implemented. The purpose of this contribution is then to explain to the community in some detail how the OPC currently operates.

Announcements

39-39 (PDF)
ESO
Scientific Preprints (July – September 2000)

ADS BibCode:
2000Msngr.101...39.
Section:
Announcements
Author(s)/Affiliation(s):
ESO
AA(ESO)
Abstract:
1381. S.A. Ehgamberdiev et al.: The Astroclimate of Maidanak Observatory in Uzbekistan. A&A.

40-40 (PDF)
ESO
Contents

ADS BibCode:
2000Msngr.101Q..40.
Author(s)/Affiliation(s):
ESO
AA(ESO)
40-40 (PDF)
ESO
Personnel Movements

ADS BibCode:
2000Msngr.101R..40.
Section:
Announcements
Author(s)/Affiliation(s):
ESO
AA(ESO)