Astronomers of ESA and ESO share their views on future cooperation between space and ground-based astronomy.
A meeting between representatives of the ESA and ESO science advisory structures took place in Garching (Germany) on 15-16 September 2003, to explore possibilities for future coordination between ground and space astronomy. Members of the executives of both ESO and the ESA Science Programme also participated.
The meeting took place in the context of the long range planning activities currently underway at both ESO and ESA. The objective was to exchange ideas for further coordination of activities, given the European nature of the two organizations and their service to essentially the same scientific community, and to serve as input for the long range studies being carried out by both organizations.
The meeting started with brief overviews of the current programmes of both organizations, followed by discussions of scientific areas of common interest. Areas of overlap and complementarity were identified, and possibilities for future coordination were discussed.
A number of actions are being undertaken as a result of the meeting.
- A document is being jointly prepared on the relevant activities carried out by both organizations and the synergies identified for future planning. This information will be widely distributed to the scientific community in Europe.
- A framework is being outlined on how to deal jointly with large programmes requiring space and ground-based support. Further discussion will then lead to a proposal to ESA and ESO for possible implementation.
- A proposal is being prepared for exchanging time on existing facilities. A practical case discussed at the meeting was the joint use of Newton-XMM and VLT.
- Initially three working groups are being established, to consider coordination in the areas of extrasolar planets, the scientific exploitation of the Herschel and ALMA projects, and the monitoring and study of NEOs.
At the meeting, ESO and ESA reconfirmed their support to the further development of the AVO activities in integrating access to data archives from ground and space-based facilities. The documents and reports from the above activities will be released as they become available.