The 105th Observing Programmes Committee (OPC) met on 19-21 November 2019. Based on the committee's recommendations to the ESO Director General, a total of 972 (10-hour equivalent) nights of Visitor Mode and Service Mode observations were allocated on the VLT/VLTI, VISTA, VST, the 3.6-metre, and NTT, and APEX telescopes. The submission deadline for Phase 2 Service Mode observations is 6 February 2020; see the separate announcement for further details.
With the release of the telescope schedule, the preparation of Service Mode (SM) observations (Phase 2) starts. The deadline for the submission of the Phase 2 material for Period 105 observations is 6 February 2020.
The very successful ESO Summer Research Programme will continue in 2020. This fully-funded programme provides a unique opportunity to students who are not yet enrolled in PhD programmes to carry out a six-week long research project at the ESO Headquarters in Garching. The students will be able to choose between a wide range of research projects, covering many areas of astronomy from exo-planets to cosmology. The ESO Summer Research Programme will also provide opportunities beyond research, including lectures, a mini-workshop, and many social activities.
The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) will start the next cycle of observing (Cycle 8) in October 2020. A Call for Proposals with detailed information on Cycle 8 will be issued in March 2020, with a deadline for proposal submission mid-April 2019. This pre-announcement highlights aspects of the Cycle 8 proposal call that are needed to plan proposals. More information can be found via the ALMA Science Portal.
The latest edition of ESO's quarterly journal, The Messenger, is now available online. In issue 178, highlights include an article on M4 of ESO's Extremely Large Telescope, which will be the largest adaptive mirror ever built and the first results from the NEAR experiment, searching for low-mass planets in alpha Cen. The science section of this issue is exclusively dedicated to highlighting the range of spectacular results obtained with GRAVITY since first light in 2016.
The University of Exeter (UK) is hosting The Sharpest Eyes on the Sky: A 2020 vision for high-angular resolution astronomy, a conference focussing on the latest science results from optical interferometers and other very high angular resolution techniques. The meeting will be held in the tradition of the past CHARA meetings and VLTI community days, bringing both communities together for the first time. There will be time for discussions regarding the recent and future technological development of CHARA and VLTI, including how to best exploit these advancements in synergy with other facilities and instruments. Abstract submission will close on 6 March 2020.
Ground-based astronomical observations in the thermal infrared wavelength regime (3-30 microns) provide a powerful tool to discover and characterise the most obscured and cool sources in the Universe. This workshop aims to bring together the experts in the field to review the science highlights from various thermal infrared instruments, from protoplanetary discs to active galactic nuclei. We will review some future facilities, and we will compare techniques and approaches for observations and calibrations, with the aim to reach the theoretical limit, the background-limited performance.
ESO Headquarters, Garching, Germany, 14–18 September 2020
The detection in 2017 of electromagnetic light from a pair of merging neutron stars first identified in gravitational waves ushered in a new era for astronomy. This multi-messenger era is rapidly becoming established with the identification of gravitational wave sources and astrophysical neutrinos occurring at ever-increasing rates, although joint electromagnetic detection remains challenging. This meeting will seek to review the recent dramatic progress in this field, evaluating the science from the current LIGO/VIRGO O3 run that will complete before the workshop. It will also look to what future ESO (E-ELT, next-generation VLT instruments) and ESA (ATHENA, LISA, THESEUS) projects contribute to this nascent field.
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. This is the main purpose of the second Australia-ESO conference, enabling serious conversations about the future coordination of next-generation galaxy evolution surveys.
Mass loss is one of the most important factors in the post main sequence evolution, making low- and intermediate-mass stars crucial contributors to the chemical enrichment of the Universe. Although the mass-loss process on the AGB has been studied for over 40 years, many basic aspects are still not understood. The aim of this workshop is to bring together observers and theoreticians working on single and binary evolved stars, while the focus will be on the effects of binarity on AGB stellar evolution, related contributions on other evolved stars, such as red supergiants, will also be considered.
Our understanding of planet formation has been significantly challenged by observations during the last years. Recent high-resolution observations by ALMA and SPHERE/VLT have found compelling evidence of planet signatures much earlier than what has been typically assumed, questioning the time at which planet formation takes place. This ESO/NRAO workshop aims to discuss the emerging new paradigm of planet formation, from the early stages of embedded discs to the times when full planetary systems are formed. It will also explore the future of planet formation studies, as well as the impact and potential of upcoming instrumentation and telescopes (e.g. ELT, SKA, ngVLA, JWST).