Science Newsletter March 2014
24 Mar 2014
MUSE reconstructed image of the Orion Nebula (M42) from the commissioning

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

Science Announcements

Integral Field Spectroscopy Developments

24 Mar 2014:

The latest integral field spectrograph (IFS) on the VLT, the Multi-Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE), has recently undergone its first commissioning period - see details in the Release. A second commissioning period will take place in April followed by Science Verification a few months later. MUSE is first offered to the community for observation in Period 94 (October 2014 – March 2015).

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Observing Time Calculation for APEX Instruments Artemis and Supercam

23 Mar 2014:

A new observing time calculator is now available for the Artemis 350µm camera offered on APEX in Period 94. This calculator assumes a field of view of 4.7×2.5 arcminutes, with fully sampled pixels in the 350µm focal plane. The 450µm and 200µm planes are not offered in Period 94. Note that this is only a preliminary version of the calculator, as the full commissioning of Artemis will be performed in June 2014.

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ESO Publication Statistics 2013

22 Mar 2014:

Statistics on refereed publications in 2013 that make use of data from ESO telescopes have been released by the ESO library. The statistics are calculated using the ESO Telescope Bibliography (telbib), a database of refereed publications that use ESO data. The annual summary of the publication statistics, with breakdown by telescopes and instruments and comparison with other observatories, is available as Basic ESO Publication Statistics.

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zCOSMOS Advanced Data Products Available via Phase 3

21 Mar 2014:

The zCOSMOS-bright advanced data products are now available via the Science Data Products query form of the ESO Archive. The zCOSMOS large programme on the VLT used VIMOS for a redshift survey in the 1.7 square degree COSMOS field. The zCOSMOS-bright Data Release 2 made available 10643 spectra to iAB < 22.5 mag.

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ALMA Cycle 1 Progress

20 Mar 2014:

The ALMA Observatory has issued a news update on the status of ALMA Cycle 1 observations. The planned configurations and the next steps for commissioning are also included. Read the report in PDF.

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Upcoming ESO or ESO-Related Workshops

  • Herbig Ae/Be Stars: The Missing Link in Star Formation
    ESO Offices, Santiago, Chile, 7 – 11 April 2014

    Herbig Ae/Be (HAeBe) stars are a class of early-type pre-main sequence objects whose stellar mass corresponds to the transition regime between Solar-type stars and high-mass stars. They are generally bright at most wavelengths allowing a detailed view of their evolving environment and are pivotal objects for the formation of both stars and planets. The high-resolution observational and theoretical advances of the past 10 to 15 years provide the primary motivation and the evolution of the circumstellar disk material constitutes the main, but not the exclusive topic, for the workshop. Areas to be addressed include circumstellar disk structure, transition and debris disks, disk dispersal, jets and outflows, young clusters and the impact of future instrumentation.

    This workshop will commemorate the life and work of George H. Herbig (2 January 1920 - 12 October 2013). Herbig pioneered the field of star formation, especially that of young stars and their nebulous surroundings. A brief appreciation of his life and work can be read here.

  • The Formation and Growth of Galaxies in the Young Universe
    Obergurgl, Austria, 26 – 30 April 2014

    It is now about 4 years since the last galaxy evolution ski conference at the University of Innsbruck Obergurgl Center. Since then several major surveys have been completed by Hubble and Herschel, wide-field near-infrared imaging has been delivered by VISTA, SCUBA2 has commenced sub-mm surveys on the JCMT, near-infrared multi-object spectrographs have commenced operation on 8-m class telescopes, and the first results have emerged from ALMA and Planck. The aim of this meeting will be to review and discuss these observational advances, alongside progress in theory/simulation, with a dual focus on galaxy/black-hole evolution at z > 2 and reionization/first-galaxies at z > 6.

    The meeting will consist of invited and contributed talks and there will space for posters. Each day will be split to allow ~4 hours for lunch/skiing/scientific discussion between 12pm and 4pm. More details here

  • European Week of Astronomy and Space Science 2014
    International Conference Center, Geneva, Switzerland, 30 June – 4 July 2014

    The European Week of Astronomy and Space Science (EWASS, formerly JENAM) is the annual meeting of the European Astronomical Society (EAS). In addition to plenary sessions and the award of prestigious prizes, the conference hosts many parallel symposia, special sessions and meetings.

    EWASS14 accommodates five lectures from EAS prize awardees, seven additional plenary talks on various topics and also the ESA and ESO reports, ten symposia and four special sessions. Among the symposia, one is dedicated to millimetre and submillimetre astronomy in the ALMA era. Registration for EWASS and the symposia is open until 15 April and the abstract deadline is 15 March 2014. Full details are available on the conference website.

  • Clustering Measurements of Active Galactic Nuclei
    ESO Headquarters, Garching, Germany, 14 – 18 July 2014

    Galaxies and active galactic nuclei (AGN) are not randomly distributed in the Universe. The distribution of AGN, measured by clustering, enables new insights into the physical conditions that govern the accretion onto supermassive black holes and AGN clustering can provide constraints on cosmological parameters. AGN clustering measurements have gained significant interest in the last decade and upcoming large surveys will generate samples with several million objects. These surveys offer the unique opportunity to study AGN and galaxy co-evolution, AGN physics, and cosmology with AGN clustering measurements.

    This ESO workshop, which will be the first ever dedicated workshop to AGN clustering, aims to summarize our current understanding of AGN clustering and how the community should prepare for upcoming datasets and challenges. More details are available on the workshop web page, or by email. Registration closes on 18 April 2014.

  • RASPUTIN: Resolved And unresolved Stellar PopUlaTIoNs
    ESO Headquarters, Garching, Germany, 13 – 17 October 2014

    The study of stellar populations is one of the most relevant diagnostics to constrain galaxy formation and evolution. Quantitative analyses of the stellar content of galaxies pave the way to 'convert' starlight into physical quantities like stellar masses, chemical abundances and star formation rates, and to trace the evolution and chemical enrichment history of galaxies.

    The main goal of this workshop is to share observations, models, techniques and recent results on galaxy evolution. Particular emphasis will be given to the current limitations affecting the intrinsic degeneracy of the multi-dimensional parameter space and to possible solutions to build a more unified and coherent picture of galaxy evolution.The impact of the E-ELT and its first generation of instruments on studues of resolved and unresolved stellar populations will also be discussed. More details are available here or by email. The registration and abstract deadline are 12 September 2014.

  • Revolution in Astronomy with ALMA – The 3rd Year –
    Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Japan, 8 – 11 December 2014

    The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has been producing a growing number of impressive and transformational science results as the most powerful mm/submm interferometer in the world. Held in central Tokyo, the aim of this workshop is to highlight the science results from ALMA obtained during the first three years of science operations. The science topics include all fields of astronomy: cosmology and galaxies in the distant Universe; nearby galaxies and the Galactic Centre; the interstellar medium and star formation in our own Galaxy; astrochemistry, circumstellar disks, exoplanets and the Solar System; stellar evolution and solar physics; and fundamental physics.

    This four day workshop will feature invited and contributed talks, poster sessions and an optional full day excursion. Young researchers and students are particularly encouraged to attend the meeting. Registration will open in early May and more details are available from the conference website.