Science Newsletter February 2014
27 Feb 2014
Startrails over the Paranal Observatory

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

Science Announcements

Call for Observing Proposals for Period 94

27 Feb 2014:

The Call for Proposals for observations at ESO telescopes during Period 94 (1 October 2014 - 31 March 2015) has been released.

Please consult the Call for Proposals 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 deadline is 12:00 CET Thursday 27 March 2014.

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Call for Ideas for the NTT

27 Feb 2014:

A call for ideas for scientific projects with the ESO New Technology Telescope (NTT) at the La Silla Observatory has been issued.

This call opens new opportunities for large scientific projects at the NTT. In order to enable telescope access for innovative ideas, upgraded or new scientific instruments, up to 50% of the telescope time from 2016 to 2020 will be made available to selected projects in return for contributions to the NTT operation.

For the first phase of the definition of these projects, ESO is requesting ideas for scientific projects to be submitted no later than 31 March 2014. For details see the full text of the Call in PDF.

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User Support Department Feedback Campaign

26 Feb 2014:

The User Support Department (USD) invites principal investigators and their Phase 2 delegates to participate in the most recent user feedback campaign. This newly revamped survey is designed to provide USD with the opinions of the science community on a number of services. As such it is an important way for the department to know where we are doing well, and where there is room for improvement.

Participating in the survey should take no more than 5-10 minutes, and it can be found here.

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Status of ALMA Cycle 1 and 2

25 Feb 2014:

ALMA Cycle 1 science observations continued until 28 January 2014 and started again during the third week of February. Seven periods of observations of about 100 hours each have been executed, and about 35% of the estimated number of observation executions needed for Cycle 1 have been completed. All observed data are under analysis or have been delivered to scientists.

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Revolution in Astronomy with ALMA - The 3rd Year -

24 Feb 2014:

Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Japan, 8-11 December 2014

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has been producing a growing number of impressive and transformational science results as the most powerful mm/submm interferometer in the world. Held in central Tokyo, the aim of this workshop is to highlight the science results from ALMA obtained during the first three years of science operations. The science topics include all fields of astronomy: cosmology and galaxies in the distant Universe; nearby galaxies and the Galactic Centre; the interstellar medium and star formation in our own Galaxy; astrochemistry, circumstellar disks, exoplanets and the Solar System; stellar evolution and solar physics; and fundamental physics.

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RASPUTIN: Resolved And unresolved Stellar PopUlaTIoNs

23 Feb 2014:

ESO Workshop, ESO Headquarters, Garching, Germany, 13-17 October 2014

The study of stellar populations is one of the most relevant diagnostics to constrain galaxy formation and evolution. Quantitative analyses of the stellar content of galaxies pave the way to 'convert' starlight into physical quantities like stellar masses, chemical abundances and star formation rates, and to trace the evolution and chemical enrichment history of galaxies.

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Upcoming ESO or ESO-Related Workshops

  • 3D2014 - Gas and stars in galaxies: A multi-wavelength 3D perspective
    Garching, 10 - 14 March 2014

    This workshop aims to bring together the optical/near-infrared, millimetre and radio communities working on 3-dimensional extragalactic data, following on from the similarly themed 2008 workshop. Science topics are centered on both gas and stars in galaxies and examples include dynamics, AGN and supermassive black holes, high redshift galaxies and deep fields. Tools to visualise and analyse multi-wavelength data cubes will also be discussed. In association with the workshop, three parallel user workshops on reduction and analysis of 3D data from KMOS, MUSE and ALMA will be held.

  • Herbig Ae/Be Stars: The Missing Link in Star Formation
    Santiago, ESO Santiago, 7 - 11 April 2014

    Herbig Ae/Be (HAeBe) stars are a class of early-type pre-main sequence objects whose stellar mass corresponds to the transition regime between Solar-type stars and high-mass stars. They are generally bright at most wavelengths allowing a detailed view of their evolving environment and are pivotal objects for the formation of both stars and planets. The high-resolution observational and theoretical advances of the past 10 to 15 years provide the primary motivation and the evolution of the circumstellar disk material constitutes the main, but not the exclusive topic, for the workshop. Areas to be addressed include circumstellar disk structure, transition and debris disks, disk dispersal, jets and outflows, young clusters and the impact of future instrumentation.

    This workshop will commemorate the life and work of George H. Herbig (2 January 1920 - 12 October 2013). Herbig pioneered the field of star formation, especially that of young stars and their nebulous surroundings. A brief appreciation of his life and work can be found at

  • The Formation and Growth of Galaxies in the Young Universe
    Obergurgl, Austria, 26 - 30 April 2014

    It is now about 4 years since the last galaxy evolution ski conference at the University of Innsbruck Obergurgl Center. Since then several major surveys have been completed by Hubble and Herschel, wide-field near-infrared imaging has been delivered by VISTA, SCUBA2 has commenced sub-mm surveys on the JCMT, near-infrared multi-object spectrographs have commenced operation on 8-m class telescopes, and the first results have emerged from ALMA and Planck. The aim of this meeting will be to review and discuss these observational advances, alongside progress in theory/simulation, with a dual focus on galaxy/black-hole evolution at z > 2 and reionization/first-galaxies at z > 6.

    The meeting will consist of invited and contributed talks and there will space for posters. Each day will be split to allow ~4 hours for lunch/skiing/scientific discussion between 12pm and 4pm. More details here

  • European Week of Astronomy and Space Science 2014
    International Conference Centre, Geneva, Switzerland, 30 June - 4 July 2014

    The European Week of Astronomy and Space Science (EWASS, formerly JENAM) is the annual meeting of the European Astronomical Society (EAS). In addition to plenary sessions and the award of prestigious prizes, the conference hosts many parallel symposia, special sessions and meetings.

    EWASS 14 accommodates five lectures from EAS prize awardees, seven additional plenary talks on various topics and also the ESA and ESO reports, ten symposia and four special sessions. Among the symposia, one is dedicated to millimetre and submillimetre astronomy in the ALMA era. Registration for EWASS and the symposia is open until 15 April and the abstract deadline is 15 March 2014. Full details are available on the conference website.

  • Clustering Measurements of Active Galactic Nuclei
    ESO Headquarters, Garching, Germany, 14 - 18 July 2014

    Galaxies and active galactic nuclei (AGN) are not randomly distributed in the Universe. The distribution of AGN, measured by clustering, enables new insights into the physical conditions that govern the accretion onto supermassive black holes and AGN clustering can provide constraints on cosmological parameters. AGN clustering measurements have gained significant interest in the last decade and upcoming large surveys will generate samples with several million objects. These surveys offer the unique opportunity to study AGN and galaxy co-evolution, AGN physics, and cosmology with AGN clustering measurements.

    This ESO workshop, which will be the first workshop ever dedicated to AGN clustering, aims to summarize our current understanding of AGN clustering and how the community should prepare for upcoming datasets and challenges. More details are available on the workshop web page, or by email. Registration closes on 18 April 2014.