The 104th Observing Programmes Committee (OPC) met on 14-16 May 2019. Based on the committee's recommendations to the ESO Director General, a total of 1248 (8-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 Thursday 1 August, 2019; see the separate announcement for further details.
The latest edition of ESO's quarterly journal, The Messenger, is now available online. In issue 176 you will find out about Astronomy in Ireland, the work of the ESO Users Committee, Science Verification results using MUSE's Narrow Field Mode, and how KMOS is being used to study low-mass galaxies across several epochs of cosmic time. This issue also contains articles presenting science highlights from ALMA, an article from ESO fellows and students outlining their development of an outreach programme, reports from workshops, and a tribute to Gustav Tammann.
With this data release, the VISTA VVV survey (179.B-2002) publishes the VVV near-infrared Astrometric Catalogue (called VIRAC). This contains proper motions of stars measured during five years of observations (from 2010 to 2015). The catalogue contains ZYJHKs band-merged magnitudes (single epoch, wherein the Ks magnitude is a mean value) and proper motion measurements for 312 587 642 unique sources detected in the multi-epoch imaging campaign covering 560 deg2 of the Milky Way bulge and southern disc. VIRAC includes 119 million high quality proper motion measurements, out of which 47 million have statistical uncertainties below 1 milliarcsecond yr-1. The VIRAC photometric calibration and astrometric reference frame are both derived from the 2MASS Point Source Catalogue.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.