SPHERE Science Verification

SPHERE Science Verification

SPHERE Science Verification Observations has been carried out between December 1 and December 12, 2014, and, in a service-mode like fashion, between Dec. 30 and Feb. 13, 2015.  The observations have been performed in "service mode style" by a dedicated team and the collected data are made available to the whole ESO user community. See VLT Science Verification Policy and Procedures for more details.

WARNING: all (raw) data and calibrations are public immediately after the observations. There is no proprietary period nor earlier data release to the PIs.

Clicking on the programme ID for each programme provides a link to the raw data in the ESO archive.

A pre-release version of the SPERE data reduction pipeline can be found here.


Selected observing programmes

Programme ID PI Name Title Status
60.A-9352(A) Daniel Apai A SPHERE Discovery of Exoplanet Variability Completed
60.A-9353(A) Claes Fransson SN1987A at the right resolution. Completed
60.A-9354(A) Melissa McClure Distribution and abundance of water ice in a young extrasolar system Partly Completed
60.A-9355(A) Matthias Schreiber The First Ever Detection of a Circumbinary Companion in a Post-Common Envelope Binary Completed
60.A-9356(A) Stefan Kraus Searching for the accretion signatures of young protoplanets Completed
60.A-9357(A) John Carter Mapping Io's volcanism with SPHERE-IFS: where did the silica go? Partly Completed
60.A-9358(A) Christian Thalmann Revealing the true face of the LkCa 15 disk with ZIMPOL Completed
60.A-9359(A) Wouter Vlemmings The mass loss of supergiant VY CMa Completed
60.A-9360(A) Nuria Huelamo The Young Proto-Planet in the Transitional system LkCa 15 Completed
60.A-9361(A) Damien Gratadour The NGC1068 core Partly Completed
60.A-9362(A) Bin Yang Origin of Multiple Asteroid Systems by Component-Resolved Spectroscopy Completed
60.A-9363(A) Markus Kasper Resolving the Mysteries of the T Tau System with SPHERE-IRDIS Completed
60.A-9364(A) Gergely Csepany Examining disks in young multiple T Tauri systems Completed
60.A-9365(A) Cecile Gry Search for close companions around Sirius Completed
60.A-9366(A) Theo Khouri Unveiling the wind-driving mechanism of RDoradus Completed
60.A-9367(A) Pierre Kervella The dust disk of the nearest AGB star L2 Pup in polarized light Completed
60.A-9368(A) Ralf Siebenmorgen The structure in the ejecta of the extreme red supergiant VY CMa Completed
60.A-9369(A) H. Sana Hunting for sub-solar companions around massive stars Completed
60.A-9370(A) E. Buenzli Search for signs of disk-planet interactions around GG Tau A Partly Completed
60.A-9371(A) Mario van den Ancker Seeing Through the Dust: High-Resolution Infrared Polarimetry of R Mon Completed
60.A-9372(A) Leigh Fletcher Revealing the Thermochemical Properties of Jupiter's Satellites Partly Completed
60.A-9373(A) Siyi Xu Are There Jupiter Analogs around White Dwarfs? Partly Complted
60.A-9374(A) Justine Lannier Astrometry of suspected extremely tight young low-mass binaries with SPHERE: uncovering the best dynamical calibrators Completed
60.A-9375(A) Jos de Boer Direct imaging of the Proto Planetary Disk around the CTTS or G giant BP PSC Completed
60.A-9376(A) Olivier Absil The first image of an exozodiacal disk Completed
60.A-9377(A) M. Bonnefoy Optical images of a gas giant exoplanet Partly Completed
60.A-9378(A) Jun Hashimoto Is the Spiral Structure in Transitional Disks Excited by Planet(s)? Not Started
60.A-9379(A) Christophe Dumas 3-D shape of main-belt asteroids: Probing their internal structure Completed
60.A-9380(A) Anne-Marie Lagrange Unveiling the inner part of the beta Pic disk Completed
60.A-9381(A) Sasha Hinkley Spectroscopy of a "Bridge" Companion to a Nearby Young M dwarf Completed
60.A-9382(A) Anne-Marie Lagrange Searching for new planets around beta Pictoris and testing the photometric and astrometric precisions achievable on close giant planets
60.A-9383(A) Catherine Dougados Resolving protostellar jet launching regions with SPHERE Not Started
60.A-9384(A) Toshiya Ueta Enabling Polarimetric Angular Differential Imaging with SPHERE Not Started
60.A-9385(A) Blake Pantoja Search for Companions to Radial Velocity Search Stars Completed
60.A-9386(A) Markus Janson Resolving the orbit of the AB Dor Ba/Bb pair Completed
60.A-9387(A) Amelia Bayo Testing IRDIS limits: resolving the debris disk around the M dwarf TWA7 Completed
60.A-9388(A) Veselin Kostov Is a circumbinary brown dwarf to blame for the irregular eclipse clock of V471 Tau? Not Started
60.A-9389(A) Myriam Benisty Understanding disk evolution through the distribution of small dust particles in MWC758 Partly Completed
60.A-9390(A) Matthias Maercker The binary companion of R Sculptoris Completed
60.A-9391(A) M. Kuerster The dynamical mass of a brown dwarf candidate Completed


Night Logs

Further information on the observations can be found in the VLT/Melipal night-log for the night in which the observations were obtained:


General Information

An integral part of the commissioning of a new instrument at the VLT is the Science Verification phase. SV programmes include a set of typical scientific observations that should verify and demonstrate to the community the capabilities of the new instrument in the operational framework of the VLT Observatory. In accordance with its SV Policy and Procedures (http://www.eso.org/sci/activities/vltsv/svdoc.pdf) ESO encourages the community to submit also highly challenging or risky science observations that will push SPHERE and the VLT to its limits in order to better understand the performance parameter space and its envelope. Such observations should focus on the instruments core modes in order to benefit a wide community.

SPHERE, the Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet Research instrument is the extreme adaptive optics system and coronagraphic facility at the VLT. Its primary science goal is imaging, low-resolution spectroscopic, and polarimetric characterization of extra-solar planetary systems at optical and near-infrared wavelengths. SPHERE is fully described at:


Eleven nights from 3 to 11 December 2014 and from 9 to 12 February 2015 (all half-nights) were allocated to the SPHERE science verification. A call for proposals has been issued and the community was invited to submit proposals for the SPHERE science verification using the simplified proposal template.

In addition to the observing modes offered in P95. The restriction of some P95 SPHERE modes to visitor observing only will not apply to science verification, which is done entirely in service mode. SV will also consider proposals for the coronagraphic modes and IRDIS DPI will be offered on a best effort basis, depending on the remaining commissioning runs.

The limiting magnitudes will be relaxed relative to the P95 call for proposals. Please refer to the figure below for the expected performance.


Deadline for SPHERE SV proposals was 18:00 Central European Summer Time on 15 October 2014. Proposals need to be submitted to spheresv@eso.org. This is the only submission channel.

The list of protected targets for SPHERE Guaranteed Time Observations is given at http://www.eso.org/sci/observing/teles-alloc/gto/95.html.

Observations of targets protected by SPHERE GTO will not be accepted for SV.


The observations will be conducted in Service Mode by a dedicated team of ESO astronomers. The SPHERE SV team will be able to assist the successful PI¹s in the preparation and optimisation of the OBs on a best effort basis only.

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