ESO Science Newsletter April 2019
26 Apr 2019

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

Science announcements

Call for Proposals for an ESA-ESO Joint International Conference in 2020

25 Apr 2019:

As part of ESA and ESO's ongoing efforts to foster ideas and collaboration, they are releasing a new Call inviting astronomers to submit proposals for an ESA-ESO conference to be held in 2020 at the European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC) in Spain. The deadline for proposals is 5 June 2019. Detailed information, including instructions for preparing and submitting proposals, can be found on the webpage for the Call.


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2019 ESO Studentships

24 Apr 2019:

The ESO research studentship programme provides an outstanding opportunity for PhD students to experience the exciting scientific environment at one of the world's leading observatories. ESO's studentship positions are open to students enrolled in a university PhD programme in astronomy or related fields. Students accepted into the programme work on their doctoral project under the formal supervision of their home university, but they come to ESO to work and study under the co-supervision of an ESO staff astronomer for a period of between one and two years.

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Memorial Symposium to Honor Riccardo Giacconi: Registration Open

23 Apr 2019:

Washington D.C., USA 29–30 May 2019

The Space Telescope Science Institute, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Johns Hopkins University, ESO and Associated Universities, Inc. are organising a Memorial Symposium to celebrate the life and work of Riccardo Giacconi. The symposium will cover the various phases of Riccardo’s career and achievements. It will be held in Washington, D.C. at the National Academy of Sciences. The meeting website provides information on the programme, top-level schedule, Science Organising Committee members, lodging options, and other details. The website is now open for registration and provides instructions for submitting requests to give talks. The registration deadline is 29 April 2019.

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Workshop: High-Resolution Spectroscopy in the Era of ALMA, JWST and ELT

22 Apr 2019:

Sexten, Italy, 22–26 July 2019 

This workshop will bring together researchers working with one of the leading facilities available today (ALMA) in order to plan for the next generation (JWST, ELT). Key to the motivation for this workshop is that astronomers must harness the high spatial resolution spectroscopic capabilities of each of these facilities, in a multi-wavelength approach, in order to reach their scientific goals.  

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Workshop: The Very Large Telescope in 2030 - Second Announcement

21 Apr 2019:

ESO, Garching, Germany, 17–21 June 2019 

ESO is organising a special workshop to discuss the future science uses of the VLT when the ELT will be operational. The workshop will consist of invited reviews and contributed talks to discuss potential development paths for VLT and VLTI. Discussion topics will include new and improved VLT and VLTI instrumentation, potential modifications or upgrades to the facilities, changes in the operations model and synergies with other facilities. We encourage presentations of this nature and will schedule ample time for contributed talks.

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Conference: Extremely Big Eyes on the Early Universe

20 Apr 2019:

Rome, Italy, 9–13 September 2019 

Over the next decade, the commissioning of ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope (ELT), as well as of the GMT and TMT will allow us to see the high-redshift Universe using new "eyes" with unprecedented power. By themselves or in combination with other facilities, these new eyes will have the potential to transform our understanding of the formation and early evolution of galaxies and black holes, first light and cosmic reionisation, as well as the evolution of the intergalactic and circumgalactic media. This conference will bring together an international group of experts to review the current state of the art in the study of the high-redshift universe and discuss how best to use giant telescopes to learn about it.  

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Workshop: A Synoptic View of the Magellanic Clouds - VMC, Gaia and Beyond

19 Apr 2019:

ESO, Garching, Germany, 9–13 September 2019 

More than 60 years ago, the Magellanic Clouds provided crucial impetus for the construction of large telescopes in the Southern hemisphere and the foundation of ESO. This workshop will provide a fertile forum for shaping the future of research related to the Magellanic Clouds by showcasing state-of-the-art results based on advanced observational programmes as well as discussions of expectations and projections in anticipation of highly multiplexed wide-field spectroscopic surveys (e.g., 4MOST, MOONS) which will come online in the 2020s. This conference also marks the quincentenary of Ferdinand Magellan's arrival in the southern hemisphere during his circumnavigation of the Earth. Very recently, in 2018, there was also Henrietta Leavitt's 150th birthday and the 110th anniversary of her discovery of the period-luminosity relation among Magellanic Cloud Cepheids.

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School: 2019 European Radio Interferometry School

18 Apr 2019:

Gothenburg, Sweden, 7–11 October 2019 

The 8th European Radio Interferometry School (ERIS) at Gothenberg will provide a week of lectures and tutorials on how to achieve scientific results from radio interferometry. Please register via the school website by 3 May. The topics covered by the lectures/tutorials will include the following:


  • Calibration and imaging of continuum, spectral line, and polarisation data.
  • Observing techniques for low frequencies (e.g., LOFAR), intermediate frequencies (e.g., VLA and e-MERLIN), high frequencies (e.g., ALMA and NOEMA), and VLBI (e.g., EVN).
  • Extracting the information from astronomical data and interpreting the results.
  • Choosing the most suitable array and observing plan for your project.  

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Workshop: The Extragalactic Explosive Universe

18 Apr 2019:

ESO, Garching, Germany, 16–19 September 2019 

At the turn of this decade, a number of moderate-sized telescopes were equipped with digital cameras of around 10 square degrees. The relative cost of detectors and computing had reduced to a level where rapid, real-time processing of the imaging data provided monitoring of large sky areas every few days. This revolutionised the field of time domain astronomical surveys and we have witnessed a vast array of new discoveries.  The global community have mapped the solar system, star forming regions in our galaxy, local group galaxies, and the local and high-redshift Universe leading to the discovery of new types of transients. We have discovered low luminosity stellar explosions in nearby galaxies and the most luminous supernovae beyond a redshift of 3, exotic transients in the nuclei of galaxies including tidal disruption events, stellar mergers, unusual novae and previously unknown species of stellar outbursts. The diversity in the explosive Universe is remarkable.

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ALMA2019: Second Announcement

17 Apr 2019:

Cagliari, Italy 14–18 October 2019

Registration has now opened for the next ALMA-wide science conference and the list of invited speakers has been published at the meeting website.
ALMA is the world’s most sensitive facility for millimetre/submillimetre astronomical observations, and will soon be fully operational in all of the originally planned bands. Since its first observations, ALMA has routinely delivered groundbreaking scientific results that span nearly all areas of astrophysics. Science topics at this conference will include all fields of astronomy, from cosmology and galaxies in the distant Universe, nearby galaxies and the Galactic Center, interstellar medium and star formation in our Galaxy, astrochemistry, circumstellar disks, exoplanets, solar system, stellar evolution, and the Sun. As in previous editions of the conference series, we expect to discuss the scientific priorities for the implementation of the ALMA Development Roadmap.

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Workshop: ESA/ESO SCIOPS 2019 - Working Together in Support of Science

15 Apr 2019:

ESAC, Madrid, Spain, 19–22 November 2019 

ESA/ESO SCIOPS WORKSHOP 2019 – Working Together in Support of Science – Cross Facilities Collaboration in the Multi Messenger Era

The upcoming ESA/ESO SCIOPS 2019 Workshop will take place at ESAC and will address the following areas:

  • collaboration between large scientific teams in the multi-messenger era;
  • how space- and ground-based observatories communicate their transient and observational capabilities, and can prepare and adapt them to provide scientists with access to time and data for multi-messenger programmes;
  • cultural and policy changes needed to enable multi-facility time allocation, prioritisation of observations, publication of information on upcoming observations and data sharing;
  • tools, services and standards to support coordination between facilities for the selection and publication of targets by survey facilities, coordination and publication of follow-up observations among observatories, as well as for publishing, searching, analysing and visualising data;
  • tools and services to support collaboration between teams.

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New Feature for the ESO Archive Science Portal: Searching by Target Lists

14 Apr 2019:

The ESO Archive Science Portal (ASP) provides the primary entry point for interactive searching and browsing of the ESO Science Archive in terms of processed datasets. Until recently, the ASP supported searching for only one target at a time. Because many users have requested it, the possibility of searching by a user-provided list of targets has now been added. In the first implementation of this feature the list may contain up to 1000 target names or coordinates (J2000 or Galactic). The power of the existing graphical user interface remains fully available in the list search mode, including the option of adding and adjusting any of the seventeen non-positional search parameters. The new software release also features a refurbished download menu to accommodate downloading the results of the list search and it includes several bug fixes.

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2019 Release of VLT/VLTI Instrument Data Reduction Software Packages

13 Apr 2019:

The annual public release of ESO VLT/VLTI instruments data reduction software packages is scheduled for the end of May 2019. Please note that the new pipeline packages will be released for the following operating systems: Fedora 26–29CentOS 7Scientific Linux 7 and macOS 10.11–10.14. In addition to the release of data reduction pipelines in May, some instruments with pipelines under active development have intermediate releases throughout the year. To get announcements of new pipeline releases, please send an e-mail or visit the VLT Instrument Pipelines webpage.

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ESO Phase 2 Preparation Tools Update

12 Apr 2019:

The ESO Phase 2 Proposal Preparation version 3 (P2PP3) software used for the preparation of observations with the Paranal telescopes has now been officially decommissioned. Since Period 102, P2PP3 has been replaced by the p2 web application. Users can familiarise themselves with the application using the p2 demo site, and also test programmatic preparation of observations using the Phase 2 Application Programming Interface (API) (p2API). If you have developed a script or utility that makes use of the p2API, and you would like to share it please read the API contributed software webpage and e-mail the User Support Department.  

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Upcoming ESO or ESO-Related Workshops

  • Preparing for 4MOST
    ESO, Garching, Germany, 68 May 2019

    4MOST is a state-of-the-art, high-multiplex, optical spectroscopic survey facility currently under construction for ESO’s 4-metre VISTA telescope. During the first five years of operations 4MOST will be used to execute a comprehensive programme of both Galactic and extragalactic Public Surveys, and 30% of the observing time during this period will be available to the community. ESO and the 4MOST Consortium are jointly organising a workshop to prepare the ESO community for this exciting scientific opportunity, to assist potential PIs in successfully responding to the Call for Public Surveys, and to foster scientific collaborations between the community and the 4MOST Consortium.  

  • First CTA Science Symposium
    Bologna, Italy, 6–9 May 2019

    The theme for the First CTA Symposium is “Science opportunities with CTA”. Through a combination of invited and contributed talks, as well as poster sessions, the meeting aims to gather the larger multi-wavelength and multi-messenger communities and set up new channels of communications and synergies among them and their results (see the programme). Registration is open until 19 April.

  • Artificial Intelligence in Astronomy
    ESO, Garching, Germany, 22-26 July 2019

    Artificial Intelligence (AI) has taken the world by storm, with breakthroughs appearing almost daily in the news. This workshop has two aims: to present the current landscape of methods and applications in astronomy and to prepare the next generations of astronomers to embark on these fields. There will therefore be a few invited talks by prominent speakers to set the scene, which will be complemented by a series of contributed talks and several tutorial and hands-on sessions in order to provide an overview of the current use of AI in astronomy.