The casting of the secondary mirror blank for the ESO Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) was completed by SCHOTT at Mainz, Germany on 11 May 2017. The completed mirror will be 4.2 metres in diameter and weigh 3.5 tonnes. It will be the largest secondary mirror ever employed on an optical telescope and also the largest convex mirror ever produced. See the Release for more details.
A ceremony marking the First Stone of the ESO Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) on 26 May 2017 was attended by the President of the Republic of Chile, Michelle Bachelet Jeria. The event was held at Paranal Observatory in northern Chile, close to Cerro Armazones, site of the ELT. This milestone marked the beginning of the construction of the dome and main telescope structure. The occasion also marked the connection of the Paranal Observatory to the Chilean national electrical grid. See the Release for more details.
Contracts for the manufacture of the 39-metre primary mirror of the ESO Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) were signed on 30 May 2017 at a ceremony at ESO Headquarters. The German company SCHOTT will produce the blanks of the mirror segments, and the French company Safran-Reosc will polish, mount and test the segments. The contract to polish the mirror blanks is the second-largest contract for the ELT construction. See the Release for more details.
ESO Workshop, Garching, Germany, 25–27 October 2017
Full polarisation observation has been routine at the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (JVLA) and will become standard for the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in the mm and sub-mm wavelength bands (30–1000 GHz) in near future. The aim of the QUESO workshop is to bring together leading and potential science users of mm/sub-mm polarimetry, from research fields including AGN, star formation, solar observations and CMB, with observatory calibration experts and software developers.
Joint Workshop: INAF Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera and ESO
Milan City Aquarium, Italy, 9–11 October 2017
The aim of the workshop is to bring together researchers and engineers involved in the design, realization and construction of spectroscopic instrumentation, and companies and institutes that produce dispersing elements and associated optical components. The workshop provides a forum for discussing the scientific needs for future instruments and the technological challenges in developing new types of dispersing elements.
The Advanced Telescope for High ENergy Astrophysics (Athena) is the X-ray observatory mission selected by ESA within its Cosmic Vision 2015–2025 programme to address the Hot and Energetic Universe scientific theme. The ESO-Athena Synergy Team has been tasked to single out the potential scientific synergies between Athena and optical/near-infrared (NIR) and sub/mm ground-based facilities, in particular those of ESO (i.e., the VLT and ELT, ALMA and APEX).
ALMA Long Baseline Workshop (2nd announcement)
Mielparque Kyoto, October 3-5, 2017
The Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) is now the most powerful mm/submm interferometer in the world, and it is producing a total of > 500 refereed papers in nearly all fields of astronomy and astrophysics. In particular, the ~0.02” submm images obtained during the long baseline campaign in 2014 (ALMA Partnership et al. 2015) have led to numerous publication and followup observational and theoretical studies, signifying the extreme importance of the high resolution imaging capabilities of ALMA.
The report on the ALMA Cycle 5 proposal submission statistics is now available. It provides a summary of items such as the number of submitted proposals and time requested, subscription rates, and comparisons with the number of hours requested in previous Cycles.
The deadline for ALMA PIs to submit their Phase 2 material for the approved projects has been set to 7 September 2017. Users can delegate the submission of the Phase 2 material in case of unavailability. Guidelines to PIs will be made public in July.
The fifth ALMA user survey was conducted between the 22 September and 24 October 2016. Overall, the users showed a relatively high level of satisfaction. On a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being best and 5 being worst), the overall satisfaction across all ALMA regions was generally rated ~2, or better, for all the topics. The complete ALMA User Satisfaction Survey is available.
The ALMA Observatory sincerely thanks all users who took the time to answer this survey and provide valuable comments.
The European Week of Astronomy and Space Science (EWASS) Special Session No. 20, will be devoted to the three modes of observing with ALMA that demonstrate its unique capabilities: High-Frequency Observations (specifically in Bands 8, 9 and 10); High-Angular-Resolution Observations with baselines up to 16 km; Solar Observations. Further details on the SS20 site.
Stars are mostly found in binary and multiple systems: at least 50% of all solar-like stars have companions and that fraction approaches 100% for the most massive stars. A large fraction of these systems will interact in some way and alter the structure and evolution of the components, leading to the production of exotic objects. This workshop will examine in detail the impact of binaries on stellar evolution from observational and theoretical viewpoints. Full details on the ImBaSE2017 webpage.
Proto-clusters, high redshift galaxy clusters and merging clusters represent the initial stages in the formation of largest gravitationally-bound structures in the Universe. (Proto-)cluster assembly via mergers and accretion has a decisive impact on the subsequent cluster evolution. The aim of GCF2017 is to discuss cluster formation over the last ten billion years. This is truly a multi-wavelength topic and participants with expertise across the electromagnetic spectrum are encouraged. Further details can be found on the workshop webpage.
The fate of a galaxy is governed by an intricate ballet of gas flows: flow of cool gas into the system, conversion of baryons into stars and ejection of gas enriched with heavy elements. Determining what rules and mutually relates these three aspects still remains a critical and very complex problem in cosmology. The conference aims at addressing this core topic from many observational and theoretical viewpoints. Full details on the workshop webpage.
A range of planned ground- and space-based facilities will gather an unprecedented amount of data in observational astrophysics and cosmology, allowing open problems to be tackled, some of which require new physics. The aim of the school is to prepare the next generation of astrophysicists for this exciting quest, in the context of current and forthcoming ESO facilities, in particular the ELT. The School will feature a range of lectures and hands-on tutorials. More information and application conditions on the School website or by email. Applicants are still being accepted.
Reaching New Heights in Astronomy
Celebrating ESO's achievements and perspectives from 10 years of Tim de Zeeuw as Director General ESO Headquarters, Garching, Germany, 28–30 August 2017
Conference to mark the decade of Tim de Zeeuw as Director General on the occasion of his departure from ESO. The conference will feature only invited talks. Full details and registration information on the webpage. Registration deadline is 14 July 2017.
Science operations are becoming ever more complex and this 3rd ESA-ESO collaborative SCIOPS Workshop on "Working together in support of science" will focus on the challenges that distributed science operations present to space- and ground-based projects, promoting the interchange of ideas and information between ESA, ESO and the broader community. Full details can be found here; the abstract and registration deadline is 6 September 2017.
MOSAIC, a powerful multi-object spectrograph for the ELT, combining wide field high multiplex near-infrared and visible spectroscopy with adaptive optics, is in the design phase. MOSAIC will contribute to a wide variety of science areas, particularly surveys of galaxies to the highest redshift. The worskop is timed to discuss the scientific opportunities of surveys with MOSAIC, focussing in particular on simulated performance from the conceptual design. Full details on the webpage. The registration deadline is 30 June 2017.