ESO Science Newsletter February 2020
03 Feb 2020

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

Science announcements

Poll to Evaluate ESO's Scientific Priorities

03 Feb 2020:

ESO's Science Prioritisation Working Group is tasked with reviewing the ESO programme from a scientific perspective. This working group is composed of members of the Scientific Technical committee (STC), the Users Committee (UC) and ESO staff. The working group has devised a survey to better understand the priorities of the ESO community for the upcoming decade. Invitations to answer the survey have been emailed to astronomers registered on the ESO User Portal and/or on the ALMA Science Portal. If you have received a personal invitation, use the provided link with your unique token. In case you have not received an invitation, or you wish to share the poll with unregistered colleagues, please use this registration link.

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Update to ESO User Portal Profiles for All Science Users

31 Jan 2020:

Following the recommendation of the Time Allocation Working Group and to support the rehaul of the whole proposal handling system, ESO is now requesting all science users provide more detailed information in their User Portal profile.  This is to enable further and more accurate statistical studies on time allocation systematics, to improve the optimisation of proposal distribution in the current system (for example, to support Distributed Peer Review, and enable more complete bibliometric analyses).

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Call for Science Verification Proposals for GRAVITY for MATISSE (GRA4MAT)

30 Jan 2020:

MATISSE is the newly commissioned mid-infrared 4-telescope beam combiner for the Very Large Telescope Interferometer. ESO will offer MATISSE with fringe tracking for Science Verification (SV) on four AT nights. While MATISSE has already been offered since Period 103 (starting 1 April 2019), this SV call aims to demonstrate the new capabilities enabled by using GRAVITY as a fringe tracker for MATISSE: updated sensitivity limits and extend spectral coverage.

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Share Your Photos Of ESO Sites With The World

19 Jan 2020:

If you are visiting ESO sites and you like to capture your experience on camera, the Department of Communication invites you to share your photos with the world. There are a number of ways in which we can help you to do this, and if photography is your secret — or not so secret — superpower (after astronomy), we might invite you to join our network of Photo Ambassadors.

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Conference: Sharpest eyes on the sky

15 Jan 2020:

Exeter, UK, 20–24 April 2020 

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.

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Workshop: Ground-based Thermal Infrared Astronomy - Past, Present and Future

15 Jan 2020:

ESO Garching, Germany, 30 March – 03 April 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.

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Upcoming ESO or ESO-Related Workshops

  • 2nd ESO-Australia Conference: The Build-up of Galaxies through Multiple Tracers and Facilities
    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. This is the main purpose of the second Australia-ESO conference, enabling serious conversations about the future coordination of next-generation galaxy evolution surveys.

  • Binary Effect on Stellar Wind
    La Serena, Chile, 30 November-4 December 2020

    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.

  • Five Years After HL Tau: A New Era in Planet Formation
    Puerto Varas, Chile, 7-11 December 2020

    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).