ESO Science Newsletter December 2022
20 Dec 2022

This newsletter is a summary of recent ESO Science Announcement items. Follow the links or visit ESO Science Announcements to read more.

Science Announcements

Joint VLT-ALMA Proposals to be offered in P112 and ALMA Cycle 10

20 Dec 2022:

With the aim of taking full advantage of the complementarity of optical-NIR and sub-millimetre observing facilities, ESO and ALMA have entered into a Joint Proposal agreement, to enable those science cases that require observations with both ALMA and VLT(I) telescopes to have their goals fulfilled.

In this framework, ESO is glad to announce that Joint VLT-ALMA Proposals will be offered as of Period 112 and ALMA Cycle 10, with the formal ESO call to be published at the end of February 2023. By agreement with the ALMA Observatory, ESO may award a maximum of 50 hours of ALMA observing time on each of its arrays to Joint Proposals per year. Similarly, ALMA will be able to allocate up to 50 hours per cycle on the VLT(I) in the yearly ALMA Call for Proposals.

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Restart of ALMA Cycle 9 observations

19 Dec 2022:

ALMA has resumed performing PI science observations following the cyber-attack. The end-to-end data acquisition and processing workflow and software were successfully re-tested prior to the restart. ALMA is currently taking observations in configuration C-3. User services are also now back online, including access to ALMA user profiles, SnooPI, and the Cycle 9 DDT submission server. As previously announced, ALMA’s most compact configurations (C-1 and C-2) will not be visited again in Cycle 9.

Some Scheduling Blocks (SBs) requiring configuration C-2 were already observed in the days prior to the cyber-attack. Projects with SBs in nominal configurations C-1 and C-2 that can still be observed in configuration C-3 will remain in the observing queue. As per usual ALMA policy, incomplete Cycle 9 Grade A projects will carry over into Cycle 10.

Regarding Cycle 10, due to the disruption caused by the cyber-attack, the Cycle 10 pre-announcement will now be issued in the week of 16th January.

For any comments or concerns, please contact your local ALMA Regional Centre (ARC) via the ALMA Helpdesk at

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New data release from the APEX Large CO Heterodyne Outflow Legacy Supercam survey of Orion (ALCOHOLS) project

16 Dec 2022:

This collection provides wide-field spectral line imaging data cubes (5 cubes, total volume: 11.50Gb) of the Orion A and B giant molecular clouds in the 12CO (J=3-2) line at a frequency of 345.795990 GHz from observations collected under ESO programme 094.C-0935(A), PI: T. Stanke, and the Swedish programme 094.F-9343. The data were obtained using the SuperCAM 64-pixel heterodyne array camera at the APEX telescope in December 2014. The cubes cover a total area of ~2.7 deg2 in the Orion A and B giant molecular clouds. The frequency axis includes the full spectral extent of the CO line detected in the area, including high-velocity line wings from protostellar molecular outflows. The data reveal a wealth of cloud structures and allow for an unbiased search for protostellar molecular outflows over a large portion of a star-forming cloud. A full presentation of the survey overview and data was published in Stanke et al. (2022, A&A 658, A178).

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Release of pipeline-processed high-resolution imaging data obtained with SPHERE/IRDIS

16 Dec 2022:


SPHERE (Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet REsearch) is an extreme adaptive optics system and coronagraphic facility feeding three science instruments: IRDIS, IFS, and ZIMPOL. The primary science goal of SPHERE is imaging, low-resolution spectroscopic, and polarimetric characterisation of extra-solar planetary systems. IRDIS, the infrared dual-band imager and spectrograph, provides classical imaging (CI), dual-band imaging (DBI), dual-polarisation imaging (DPI), and long-slit spectroscopy (LSS) between 0.95 – 2.3 µm.

The first data release covers 602 IRDIS imaging observations acquired between April 2019 and March 2020, i.e., ESO periods P103 and P104. The data were processed by the SPHERE Data Centre, a support service provided by the French community, which is jointly operated by OSUG/IPAG (Grenoble), PYTHEAS/LAM/CESAM (Marseille), OCA/Lagrange (Nice, France), Observatoire de Paris/LESIA (Paris), and Observatoire de Lyon.

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ESO Summer Research Programme 2023 - Call for Applications Is Now Open

12 Dec 2022:

After the great success of the programme in the last four editions, we are happy to announce that the call for applications for the 5th ESO Summer Research Programme is now open. The fully-funded programme is open to all university students not yet enrolled in a PhD course.

Seven projects spanning a variety of topics are offered this year and successful applicants will be invited to work at the ESO Headquarters in Garching for six weeks between July 3 and August 11, 2023. 

Applicants should apply online using the dedicated form before the deadline of 31 January 2023, 23:59 CET.

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Upcoming ESO or ESO-related workshops

The Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) and the Atacama Large Millimeter/sub-millimeter Interferometer (ALMA) are two leading facilities prominent for high-resolution imaging. VLTI and ALMA data alone provided breakthroughs in astronomy, widening our knowledge of the Universe on several hot topics, such as evolved stars, extrasolar planets, star-forming regions, galaxies, and the high-z Universe. Since the last lustrum, interest is growing within the scientific community to employ both VLTI and ALMA data to derive high-impact results (e.g., A&A 658, A183).

During the three-day workshop, a historical overview of image reconstruction methods will lead the participants to develop the know-how for mutual understanding. Further themes include traditional reconstruction methods, advanced statistical, and machine learning methodology applied to image analysis and model fitting, as well as tools at the interface between the data and imaging. Ample time for discussion is foreseen at the end of each session. 

In addition, ample time will be reserved for more focused discussion sessions to forge synergies between different teams and develop plans for collaborative surveys.

Supported by the EU-funded Opticon RadioNet Pilot (ORP), the "VLTI and ALMA Synthesis Imaging" Workshop will be held at the ESO Headquarters in Garching near Munich, from 9 to 12 January 2023. 

The registration deadline is 20 December 2022. Registration to the workshop as remote participant is possible until 23 December.

Many aspects of modern peer review have not changed from its inception in the 18th century despite drastic changes in the scientific community. Specifically, contrary to the early days of peer review, it has become a significant challenge to identify experts that can effectively review the more and more specialized fields of science. The problem is exacerbated by the ever-rising number of researchers (having grown by 15% between 2014 and 2018 according to a UNESCO report) also seen through the staggering increase of publications and proposals (doubling every 14 years in astronomy). Some say that peer review has not adequately innovated as technology has advanced and the dissemination of publications has surged, creating a space for stagnant and biased reviews. In this workshop, we want to bring together experts from a large number of facilities (ESO, ESA, ALMA, Space Telescope, NASA, NOIRLab) to discuss the state of peer review and the ways forward for a digital and interconnected science community.

The workshop will be held at the ESO headquarters in Garching near Munich, from 6 to 10 February and will allow virtual as well as in-person participation. Registration is open.

The European Southern Observatory (ESO) and the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Observatory are jointly organising a symposium with the main goal of maximising the science impact of surveys conducted by both organisation’s facilities.  The aims of the symposium are to raise awareness across the respective communities of survey capabilities and to build liaisons in preparation for synergetic surveys, as well as for multi-wavelength follow-up programs. To achieve this, the symposium will have sessions focussing on planned surveys and current and upcoming survey facilities, including SKA pathfinder and precursor instruments as well as the SKA, and ESO’s optical, near infrared and mm facilities. It will cover a variety of research areas: the Galaxy and Solar System science, galaxies and galaxy evolution, EOR and the high-redshift Universe, and transients and time-domain science. In addition, ample time will be reserved for more focussed discussion sessions to forge synergies between different teams and develop plans for collaborative surveys and cross-facility follow-up programs.

The symposium will be held at the ESO headquarters in Garching near Munich (Germany, UTC+1), from 27 February to 3 March and will allow virtual as well as in-person participation. 

Abstract submission deadline has passed, but registration is still open.