ESO Science Newsletter August 2019
30 Aug 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 Period 105

30 Aug 2019:

The Call for Proposals for observations at ESO telescopes in Period 105 (1 April – 30 September 2020) has been released. Please consult the Period 105 document for the main news items and policies related to applying for time on ESO telescopes. All technical information about the offered instruments and facilities is contained on ESO webpages that are linked from the Call. The proposal submission deadline is 12:00 CEST 26 September 2019.

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Call for Proposals for Period 105: Joint VLT-XMM Proposals

26 Aug 2019:

By agreement with the ESA XMM-Newton Observatory, ESO may award up to 290 ksec (~ 80 hours) of XMM-Newton observing time. Similarly XMM-Newton may award up to 80 hours of ESO VLT observing time. Proposals that request different amounts of observing time on each facility should be submitted to the Observatory for which the greatest amount of time is required. This opportunity is offered yearly in odd periods, i.e., periods with a proposal submission deadline in September or October. Starting in Period 105, Target of Opportunity runs and "Triggered Observations" are possible via this cooperative programme, with some restrictions. Interested users should consult Section 4.9 of the Call for Proposals document.

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ESO Fellowship Programme

24 Aug 2019:

ESO’s prestigious postdoctoral fellowship programme in both Garching (Germany) and Santiago (Chile) offers outstanding early-career scientists the opportunity to further develop their independent research programmes. From exoplanets to cosmology, observational, theoretical and fundamental astrophysics, these are all areas where ESO Fellows can benefit from a highly dynamic scientific environment, at some of the most advanced ground-based telescopes in the world. Do watch ESOCast 165 to hear what current ESO fellows have to say about the fellowship programme.

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2nd ESO-Australia conference: The Build-up of Galaxies through Multiple Tracers and Facilities

22 Aug 2019:

Perth, Australia, 17–21 February 2020 

By 2020, the first major results will be obtained from a huge variety of “pathfinder” facilities that are operating with entirely new types of survey instruments. These pathfinders have the common aim of untangling galaxy evolution physics, and so it is important that first science results are communicated across various disciplines. This is the main purpose of the second Australia-ESO conference, allowing us to start serious conversations about the future coordination of next-generation galaxy evolution surveys. 

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Data Release: Mapping the Milky Way bulge with VVV

20 Aug 2019:

The Milky Way Bulge PSF Photometry project provides a comprehensive census of the stellar populations of the inner ~300 square degrees of the Galaxy, using J and Ks band observations obtained with VIRCAM on VISTA from the VVV ESO Public Survey. The main scientific product of this data release is a deep and accurate photometric catalogue of ~ 600 million sources that result from PSF-fitting on the J and Ks band images of the 196 survey tiles covering the Galactic bulge. The catalogue contains photometric completeness and reddening information. Imaging products and the respective single band source lists are also provided with the release. With a limiting magnitude of 21 in the J band and 20 in Ks, this new photometric catalogue allows studies of the stellar populations in the Milky Way bulge, as well as their stellar ages and star formation history. 

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Data Release: First Data Release from Public Survey VINROUGE

19 Aug 2019:

The primary goals of the Cycle 2 VISTA Public Survey "Vista Near infra-Red Observations Uncovering Gravitational wave Events" (VINROUGE) are to locate and characterise the electromagnetic counterparts of gravitational wave discovered events. This is achieved through wide field, multi-filter (Y, J, Ks) imaging of the error regions with VIRCAM on VISTA. This first data-release (DR1) contains imaging and catalogues obtained during the follow-up of three gravitational wave triggers from the second LIGO/Virgo science run (O2). The triggers were two black hole mergers GW 170809 and  GW 170814, and the kilonova transient GW 170817. For the latter, the gravitational wave counterpart was detected and identified as a binary neutron star merger. The observations of the three different fields cover 17, ~ 27 and 3.5 square degrees, respectively.

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Upcoming ESO or ESO-Related Workshops

  • A synoptic view of the Magellanic Clouds: VMC, Gaia and beyond
    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. The Magellanic Clouds are our nearest example of dwarf galaxies in an early stage of a minor merger event. The distribution of their stars and gas indicate an active history of formation and interaction.

  • Extremely Big Eyes on the Early Universe
    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 the high-redshift Universe to be seen using new "eyes" with unprecedented power. By themselves or in combination with other facilities, these new eyes will have the potential to transform the 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. 

  • The Extragalactic Explosive Universe
    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. These new data-driven initiatives are joined by the exciting prospect of routine detections of gravitational wave sources and electromagnetic follow-up.The conference will focus on the rich physics that has arisen from these discoveries and multi-wavelength follow-up programmes. Theory and modelling experts will also be a key part of the meeting, with a focus on how open data products can be provided to enhance model and data testing.

  • ALMA2019: Science Results and Cross-Facility Synergies
    Cagliari, 14-18 October 2019

    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 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. Scientific priorities for the implementation of the ALMA Development Roadmap will also be discussed.