Messenger No. 142 (December 2010)

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The Organisation

2-3 (PDF)
G. Filippi
Enabling Virtual Access to Latin-American Southern Observatories

ADS BibCode:
2010Msngr.142....2F
Section:
The Organisation
Author(s)/Affiliation(s):
Filippi, G.
AA(ESO)
Abstract:
EVALSO (Enabling Virtual Access to Latin-American Southern Observatories) is an international consortium of nine astronomical organisations and research network operators, part-funded under the European Commission FP7, to create and exploit high-speed bandwidth connections to South American observatories. A brief description of the project is presented. The EVALSO Consortium inaugurated a fibre link between the Paranal Observatory and international networks on 4 November 2010 capable of 10 Gigabit per second.
References:
Filippi, G. et al. 2010, Proc. SPIE, 7740, 77401G

Telescopes and Instrumentation

5-7 (PDF)
G. Witzel et al.
On the Instrumental Polarisation of NAOS–CONICA

ADS BibCode:
2010Msngr.142....5W
Section:
Telescopes and Instrumentation
Author(s)/Affiliation(s):
Witzel, G.; Eckart, A.; Lenzen, R.; Straubmeier, C.
AA(I. Physikalisches Institut, Universität Köln, Germany) AB(I. Physikalisches Institut, Universität Köln, Germany) AC(Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie, Heidelberg, Germany) AD(I. Physikalisches Institut, Universität Köln, Germany)
Abstract:
As expected for a Nasmyth instrument, NAOS–CONICA shows a significant instrumental polarisation that is strongly dependent on the parallactic angle of the source and can reach up to 4% in the degree of linear polarisation. Detailed modelling of the polarimetric properties of the optical components of NAOS–CONICA using the Stokes/Mueller formalism allows the instrumental polarisation to be corrected with an accuracy of better than 1% in linear polarisation. In addition we propose an observation strategy that is expected to allow instrumental polarisation effects to be corrected to an accuracy of about 0.1%.
References:
Eckart, A. et al. 2006c, A&A, 455, 1 Knacke, R. F. & Capps, R. W. 1977, ApJ, 216, 271 Meyer, L. et al. 2006a, A&A, 460, 15 Meyer, L. et al. 2006b, A&A, 458, L25 Witzel, G. et al. 2010, A&A, in press Zamaninasab, M. et al. 2010, A&A, 510, A3+
8-11 (PDF)
P. Hammersley et al.
Upgrading VIMOS

ADS BibCode:
2010Msngr.142....8H
Section:
Telescopes and Instrumentation
Author(s)/Affiliation(s):
Hammersley, P.; Christensen, L.; Dekker, H.; Izzo, C.; Selman, F.; Bristow, P.; Bourget, P.; Castillo, R.; Downing, M.; Haddad, N.; Hilker, M.; Lizon, J.-L.; Lucuix, C.; Mainieri, V.; Mieske, S.; Reinero, C.; Rejkuba, M.; Rojas, C.; Sánchez-Janssen, R.; Smette, A.; Urrutia del Rio, J.; Valenzuela, J.; Wolff, B.
AA(ESO) AB(Excellence Cluster Universe, Technische Universität München, Germany) AC(ESO) AD(ESO) AE(ESO) AF(ESO) AG(ESO) AH(ESO) AI(ESO) AJ(ESO) AK(ESO) AL(ESO) AM(ESO) AN(ESO) AO(ESO) AP(ESO) AQ(ESO) AR(ESO) AS(ESO) AT(ESO) AU(ESO) AV(ESO) AW(ESO)
Abstract:
The high multiplex of the VLT visible imager and multi-object/integral-field spectrometer, VIMOS, makes it a powerful instrument for large-scale spectroscopic surveys of faint sources. Following community input and recommendations by ESO’s Science and Technology Committee, it was decided to upgrade the instrument in phases. The first phase of the upgrade is described and included changing the shutters, installing an active flexure compensation system, replacing the detectors with CCDs with a far better red sensitivity and less fringing, and improving the data reduction pipeline.
References:
Izzo, C., Jung, Y. & Ballester, P. 2007, in The 2007 ESO Instrument Calibration Workshop, 191 Pettini, M. & Pagel, B. E. J. 2004, MNRAS, 348, 59 Scodeggio, M. et al. 2009, Messenger, 135, 13
12-16 (PDF)
R. Arsenault et al.
Progress on the VLT Adaptive Optics Facility

ADS BibCode:
2010Msngr.142...12A
Section:
Telescopes and Instrumentation
Author(s)/Affiliation(s):
Arsenault, R.; Madec, P.-Y.; Paufique, J.; Ströbele, S.; Pirard, J.-F.; Vernet, É.; Hackenberg, W.; Hubin, N.; Jochum, L.; Kuntschner, H.; Glindemann, A.; Amico, P.; Lelouarn, M.; Kolb, J.; Tordo, S.; Donaldson, R.; Sönke, C.; Bonaccini Calia, D.; Conzelmann, R.; Delabre, B.; Kiekebusch, M.; Duhoux, P.; Guidolin, I.; Quattri, M.; Guzman, R.; Buzzoni, B.; Comin, M.; Dupuy, C.; Quentin, J.; Lizon, J.-L.; Silber, A.; Jolly, P.; Manescau, A.; Hammersley, P.; Reyes, J.; Jost, A.; Duchateau, M.; Heinz, V.; Bechet, C.; Stuik, R.
AA(ESO) AB(ESO) AC(ESO) AD(ESO) AE(ESO) AF(ESO) AG(ESO) AH(ESO) AI(ESO) AJ(ESO) AK(ESO) AL(ESO) AM(ESO) AN(ESO) AO(ESO) AP(ESO) AQ(ESO) AR(ESO) AS(ESO) AT(ESO) AU(ESO) AV(ESO) AW(ESO) AX(ESO) AY(ESO) AZ(ESO) BA(ESO) BB(ESO) BC(ESO) BD(ESO) BE(ESO) BF(ESO) BG(ESO) BH(ESO) BI(ESO) BJ(ESO) BK(ESO) BL(ESO) BM(ESO) BN(Huygens Laboratory, University of Leiden, the Netherlands)
Abstract:
The Very Large Telescope (VLT) Adaptive Optics Facility is a project that will transform one of the VLT’s Unit Telescopes into an adaptive telescope that includes a deformable mirror in its optical train. For this purpose the secondary mirror is to be replaced by a thin shell deformable mirror; it will be possible to launch four laser guide stars from the centrepiece and two adaptive optics modules are being developed to feed the instruments HAWK-I and MUSE. These modules implement innovative correction modes for seeing improvement through ground layer adaptive optics and, for high Strehl ratio performance, laser tomography adaptive correction. The performance of these modes will be tested in Europe with a custom test bench called ASSIST. The project has completed its final design phase and concluded an intense phase of procurement; the year 2011 will see the beginning of assembly, integration and tests.
References:
Arsenault, R. et al. 2010, Proc. SPIE, 7736, 0L Baade, D. et al. 2009, The Messenger, 136, 20 Bonaccini Calia, D. et al. 2010, The Messenger, 139, 12 Feautrier, P. et al. 2010, Proc. SPIE, 7736, 0Z Paufique, J. et al. 2010, Proc. SPIE, 7736, 1P Stuik, R. et al. 2010, Proc. SPIE, 7736, 3M
17-19 (PDF)
L. Testi et al.
ALMA Status and Progress towards Early Science

ADS BibCode:
2010Msngr.142...17T
Section:
Telescopes and Instrumentation
Author(s)/Affiliation(s):
Testi, L.; Hills, R.; Laing, R.; Stanghellini, S.; Wild, W.
AA(ESO) AB(Joint ALMA Observatory) AC(ESO) AD(ESO) AE(ESO)
Abstract:
We report on the status and progress of the ALMA project and the expected timeline and capabilities for Early Science. Over the past year, the progress on ALMA construction and on the commissioning activities has been huge. At the time of writing the observatory is progressing on the initial phases of science verification and preparing to open to external users to begin Early Science observations.
References:
Nikolic, B. et al. 2009, The Messenger, 131, 14 Testi, L. 2010, The Messenger, 139, 52

Astronomical Science

21-24 (PDF)
A. Seifahrt et al.
Precise Modelling of Telluric Features in Astronomical Spectra

ADS BibCode:
2010Msngr.142...21S
Section:
Astronomical Science
Author(s)/Affiliation(s):
Seifahrt, A.; Käufl, H.U.; Zängl, G.; Bean, J.; Richter, M.; Siebenmorgen, R.
AA(University of California at Davis, USA; Institut für Astrophysik, Göttingen, Germany; ESO) AB(ESO) AC(Meteorologisches Institut der LMU, München, Germany; Deutscher Wetterdienst, Offenbach, Germany) AD(Institut für Astrophysik, Göttingen, Germany; Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, USA) AE(University of California at Davis, USA) AF(ESO)
Abstract:
Ground-based astronomical observations suffer from the disturbing effects of the Earth’s atmosphere. Oxygen, water vapour and a number of atmospheric trace gases absorb and emit light at discrete frequencies, shaping observing bands in the near- and mid-infrared and leaving their fingerprints — telluric absorption and emission lines — in astronomical spectra. The standard approach of removing the absorption lines is to observe a telluric standard star: a time-consuming and often imperfect solution. Alternatively, the spectral features of the Earth’s atmosphere can be modelled using a radiative transfer code, often delivering a satisfying solution that removes these features without additional observations. In addition the model also provides a precise wavelength solution and an instrumental profile.
References:
Aldenius, M. et al. 2008, The Messenger, 133, 14 Clough, S. A., Iacono, M. J. & Moncet, J.-L. 1992, J. Geophys. Res., 97, 15761 Rothman, L. S. et al. 2009, Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer, 110, 533 Seifahrt, A. et al. 2010, A&A, in press, arXiv:1008.3419 Bean, J. L. et al. 2010a, ApJ, 713, 410 Bean, J. L. et al. 2010b, The Messenger, 140, 41 Lebzelter, T. et al. 2010, The Messenger, 139, 33
25-27 (PDF)
M. Sterzik et al.
Astronomy Meets Biology: EFOSC2 and the Chirality of Life

ADS BibCode:
2010Msngr.142...25S
Section:
Astronomical Science
Author(s)/Affiliation(s):
Sterzik, M.; Bagnulo, S.; Azua, A.; Salinas, F.; Alfaro, J.; Vicuna, R.
AA(ESO) AB(Armagh Observatory, United Kingdom) AC(Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile) AD(Faculty of Physics, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile) AE(Faculty of Physics, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile) AF(Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile)
Abstract:
Homochirality, i.e., the exclusive use of L-amino acids and D-sugar in biological material, induces circular polarisation in the diffuse reflectance spectra of biotic material. Polarimetry may therefore become an interesting remote sensing technique in the future search for extraterrestrial life. We have explored this technique and performed a laboratory experiment making an exotic use of an astronomical instrument. During a period when EFOSC2 was detached from the Nasmyth focus to host a visitor instrument at the NTT, we have observed various samples of biotic and abiotic material and measured their linear and circular polarisation spectra. Among the various targets, we have included samples of the hypolithic cyanobacteria species Chroococcidiopsis isolated from the Coastal Range of the Atacama Desert. To our knowledge, these are the first and highest precision measurements of circular polarisation using living material and obtained with an astronomical instrument.
References:
Bagnulo, S. et al. 2009, PASP, 121, 993 Bailey, J. et al. 1998, Science, 281, 5377, 672 Bailey, J., Lucas, P. W. & Hough, J. H. 2010, MNRAS, 405, 2570 Gregory, R. P. F. & Raps, S. 1974, Biochem. J., 142, 193 Friedmann, E. I. & Ocampo-Friedmann, R. 1995, Adv. Space Res., 15(3), 243 Patat, F. & Romaniello, M. 2006, PASP, 118, 146 Saviane, I. et al. 2007, The Messenger, 129, 14 Sparks, W. B. et al. 2009, PNAS, 106 (19), 7816 Wolstencroft, R. D., Tranter, G. E. & Le Peleven, D. D. 2004, Bioastronomy 2002, IAU Symp., 213, 149
28-30 (PDF)
R. Gratton et al.
Observations of Multiple Stellar Populations in Globular Clusters with FLAMES at the VLT

ADS BibCode:
2010Msngr.142...28G
Section:
Astronomical Science
Author(s)/Affiliation(s):
Gratton, R.; Carretta, E.; Bragaglia, A.; Lucatello, S.; D’Orazi, V.
AA(INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova, Italy) AB(INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di Bologna, Italy) AC(INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di Bologna, Italy) AD(INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova, Italy) AE(INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova, Italy)
Abstract:
In the last few years, it has become evident that globular clusters, previously accepted as prime examples of simple stellar populations, contain at least two, and in some cases more, stellar generations. Thanks to the superb spatial resolution of the Hubble Space Telescope on one side, and to the forefront spectroscopic and multiplexing capabilities of UVES and FLAMES at the VLT on the other, extensive, high precision datasets are shedding light on cluster formation and evolution. Here, we briefly describe the contribution by our team to these exciting discoveries.
References:
Bellazzini, A. et al. 2008, MSAIt, 79, 663 Bragaglia, A. et al. 2010a, A&A, 519, 60 Bragaglia, A. et al. 2010b, ApJL, 720, L41 Carretta, E. et al. 2009a, A&A, 505, 117 Carretta, E. et al. 2009b, A&A, 505, 139 Carretta, E. et al. 2009c, A&A, 508, 695 Carretta, E. et al. 2010a, A&A, 516, 55 Carretta, E. et al. 2010b, ApJL, 714, L7 Decressin, T. et al. 2007, A&A, 464, 1029 D’Orazi, V. & Marino, A. F. 2010, ApJL, 716, L166 D’Orazi, V. et al. 2010, ApJL, 719, L213 Gratton, R. et al. 2000, A&A, 354, 169 Gratton, R. et al. 2001, A&A, 369, 87 Gratton, R. et al. 2004, ARA&A, 42, 385 Gratton, R. et al. 2010, A&A, 517, 81 Lata, S. et al. 2002, A&A, 388, 158 Ventura, P. et al. 2001, ApJ, 550, L65
31-35 (PDF)
S. Clark et al.
Dissecting the Galactic Super Star Cluster Westerlund 1 — A Laboratory for Stellar Evolution

ADS BibCode:
2010Msngr.142...31C
Section:
Astronomical Science
Author(s)/Affiliation(s):
Clark, S.; Negueruela, I.; Ritchie, B.; Crowther, P.; Dougherty, S.
AA(Department of Physics and Astronomy, The Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom) AB(Departamento de Física & Ingeniería, Universidad de Alicante, Spain) AC(Department of Physics and Astronomy, The Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom) AD(Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom) AE(National Research Council, Herzberg Institute for Astrophysics, Penticton, Canada)
Abstract:
Westerlund 1 is the first example of a super star cluster identified within the Galaxy. As such, its proximity allows us to resolve directly and study individual stars down to sub-solar masses, as well as their complex interactions. This in turn permits advances in our understanding of the physics of these stellar powerhouses, which drive evolution in starburst galaxies near and far. Here we provide a brief overview of our current understanding of this cluster, both in terms of its stellar constituents — and the constraints they place on the evolution of massive stars from cradle to grave — and its global properties.
References:
Clark, J. et al. 1998, MNRAS, 299, L43 Clark, J. et al. 2005, A&A, 434, 949 Clark, J. et al. 2008, A&A, 477, 147 Clark, J. et al. 2010, A&A, 514, 87 Crowther, P. et al. 2006, MNRAS, 372, 1407 Dougherty, S. et al. 2010, A&A, 509, 79 Lobel, A. et al. 2003, ApJ, 583, 923 Meynet, G. & Maeder, M. 2005, A&A, 429, 581 Muno, M. et al. 2006, ApJ, 636, L41 Negueruela, I., Clark, J. & Ritchie, B. 2010, A&A, 516, A78 Ritchie, B. et al. 2009a, A&A, 507, 1585 Ritchie, B. et al. 2009b, A&A, 507, 1597 Ritchie, B. et al. 2010, A&A, 520, 48 Westerlund, B. 1987, A&AS, 70, 311
36-39 (PDF)
R. Maiolino et al.
AMAZE and LSD: Metallicity and Dynamical Evolution of Galaxies in the Early Universe

ADS BibCode:
2010Msngr.142...36M
Section:
Astronomical Science
Author(s)/Affiliation(s):
Maiolino, R.; Mannucci, F.; Cresci, G.; Gnerucci, A.; Troncoso, P.; Marconi, A.; Calura, F.; Cimatti, A.; Cocchia, F.; Fontana, A.; Granato, G.; Grazian, A.; Matteucci, F.; Nagao, T.; Pentericci, L.; Pipino, A.; Pozzetti, L.; Risaliti, G.; Silva, L.
AA(INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, Monte Porzio Catone, Italy) AB(INAF–Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Firenze, Italy) AC(INAF–Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Firenze, Italy) AD(Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia, Università degli Studi di Firenze, Italy) AE(INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, Monte Porzio Catone, Italy) AF(Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia, Università degli Studi di Firenze, Italy) AG(Jeremiah Horrocks Institute for Astrophysics and Supercomputing, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, United Kingdom) AH(Dipartimento di Astronomia, Università di Bologna, Italy) AI(INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, Monte Porzio Catone, Italy) AJ(INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, Monte Porzio Catone, Italy) AK(INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste, Italy) AL(INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, Monte Porzio Catone, Italy) AM(Dipartimento di Fisica, Università di Trieste, Italy) AN(Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Ehime University, Japan) AO(INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, Monte Porzio Catone, Italy) AP(Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of California Los Angeles, USA) AQ(INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di Bologna, Italy) AR(INAF–Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Firenze, Italy) AS(INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste, Italy)
Abstract:
The metal content in galaxies provides important information on the physical processes responsible for galaxy formation, but little was known for galaxies at z > 3, when the Universe was less than 15% of its current age. We report on our metallicity survey of galaxies at z > 3 using SINFONI at the VLT. We find that at z > 3, low-mass galaxies obey the same fundamental relation between metallicity, mass and star formation rate as at 0 < z < 2.5; however, at z > 3 massive galaxies deviate from this relation, being more metal-poor. In some of these massive galaxies we can even map the gas metallicity. We find that galaxies at z ~ 3.3 have regular rotation, though highly turbulent, and inverted abundance gradients relative to local galaxies, with lower abundances near the centre, close to the most active regions of star formation. Overall the results suggest that prominent inflow of pristine gas is responsible for the strong chemical evolution observed in galaxies at z > 3.
References:
Cresci, G. et al. 2010, Nature, 467, 811 Daddi, E. et al. 2010, ApJ, 713, 686 Dekel, A. et al. 2010, Nature, 457, 451 Förster Schreiber, N. M. et al. 2009, ApJ, 706, 1364 Gnerucci, A. et al. 2010, A&A, submitted, arXiv 1007.4180 Maiolino, R. et al. 2008, A&A, 488, 463 Mannucci, F. et al. 2010, MNRAS, 408, 2115 Mannucci, F. et al. 2009, MNRAS, 398, 1915 Tacconi, L. J. et al. 2010, Nature, 463, 781 Troncoso, P. et al. 2010, A&A, submitted

Astronomical News

41-41 (PDF)
J. Walsh
Raymond Wilson Honoured with Two Prestigious Prizes

ADS BibCode:
2010Msngr.142...41W
Section:
Astronomical News
Author(s)/Affiliation(s):
Walsh, J.
AA(ESO)
42-42 (PDF)
G. Lo Curto et al.
Availability of Reduction Software for HARPS Data at ESO Headquarters in Garching

ADS BibCode:
2010Msngr.142...42C
Section:
Astronomical News
Author(s)/Affiliation(s):
Lo Curto, G.; Beniflah, T.; Burrows, A.; Emsellem, E.; Maguire, K.; Pasquini, L.; Pritchard, J.; Romaniello, M.
AA(ESO) AB(ESO) AC(ESO) AD(ESO) AE(ESO) AF(ESO) AG(ESO) AH(ESO)
42-43 (PDF)
O. Sandu, L.L. Christensen
ESO Participation at the Joint European and National Astronomy Meeting in Lisbon, Portugal

ADS BibCode:
2010Msngr.142...42S
Section:
Astronomical News
Author(s)/Affiliation(s):
Sandu, O.; Christensen, L.L.
AA(ESO) AB(ESO)
44-44 (PDF)
M. West
Visiting ESO’s Office in Santiago

ADS BibCode:
2010Msngr.142...44W
Section:
Astronomical News
Author(s)/Affiliation(s):
West, M.
AA(ESO)
44-45 (PDF)
H. Boffin et al.
Café & Kosmos Events in Munich

ADS BibCode:
2010Msngr.142...44B
Section:
Astronomical News
Author(s)/Affiliation(s):
Boffin, H.; Hämmerle, H.; Wankerl, B.; Zollinger, S.
AA(ESO) AB(Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik, Garching, Germany) AC(Excellence Cluster Origin and Structure of the Universe, Garching, Germany) AD(Max-Planck-Institut für Physik, Munich, Germany)
45-46 (PDF)
ESO
New Staff at ESO

ADS BibCode:
2010Msngr.142...45.
Section:
Astronomical News
Author(s)/Affiliation(s):
ESO
AA(ESO)
47-48 (PDF)
ESO
Fellows at ESO

ADS BibCode:
2010Msngr.142...47.
Section:
Astronomical News
Author(s)/Affiliation(s):
ESO
AA(ESO)
48-48 (PDF)
T. de Zeeuw
In Memoriam Christine Nieuwenkamp

ADS BibCode:
2010Msngr.142...48Z
Section:
Astronomical News
Author(s)/Affiliation(s):
de Zeeuw, T.
AA(ESO)
49-49 (PDF)
ESO
Announcement of the ''ALMA Community Days: Towards Early Science''

ADS BibCode:
2010Msngr.142Q..49.
Section:
Astronomical News
Author(s)/Affiliation(s):
ESO
AA(ESO)
49-49 (PDF)
ESO
Announcement of the ESO Workshop ''Fornax, Virgo, Coma et al.: Stellar Systems in Nearby High Density Environments''

ADS BibCode:
2010Msngr.142R..49.
Section:
Astronomical News
Author(s)/Affiliation(s):
ESO
AA(ESO)
50-50 (PDF)
ESO
Personnel Movements

ADS BibCode:
2010Msngr.142...50.
Section:
Astronomical News
Author(s)/Affiliation(s):
ESO
AA(ESO)
51-51 (PDF)
ESO
In Memoriam Adriaan Blaauw

ADS BibCode:
2010Msngr.142...51.
Section:
Astronomical News
Author(s)/Affiliation(s):
ESO
AA(ESO)