The ALMA Cycle 7 Call for Proposals for scientific observations is open for submissions. ALMA Cycle 7 is currently scheduled from October 2019 to September 2020. Users of any nationality or affiliation are invited to to submit proposals before the deadline at 15:00 UT on 17 April 2019. It is anticipated that 4300 hours will be available on the 12-metre array time and 3750 hours on the Atacama Compact Array (ACA) (also known as the Morita Array), including a supplementary call. Proposals must be prepared and submitted using the ALMA Observing Tool (OT), which is available for download from the ALMA Science Portal. Proposals will be assessed by competitive peer review by a single international review committee.
A new position for a Data Scientist is open for applications until 31 March. The role of the Data Scientist will will be to develop and apply innovative deep learning techniques to object classification in the ESO and ALMA Science Archives. With a user base of thousands of scientists, the archives are a rich and powerful resource for the astronomical community worldwide. The Data Scientist will be responsible for designing, building and training a system based on deep learning object classification techniques with the goal to automatically classify astronomical images and spectra to open up innovative ways for scientists to use the data.
The Users Committee (UC) represents ESO's astronomical community at large and acts as an advisory body to the ESO Director General on matters related to the performance, scientific access, operation and user interfaces to the La Silla Paranal Observatory and ALMA. The annual meeting of the UC is scheduled at ESO Headquarters on 29-30 April 2019. During the UC meeting updates from ESO and feedback from the user community are exchanged and openly discussed. Each year, the UC meeting has one session dedicated to a special topic – in 2019 the special topic is on the community use of Public Surveys data. The meeting webpage includes a record of the last meeting with recommendations that will be discussed in April.
In 2018, for the second time in a row, the total number of data papers published by the ESO users community exceeded the 1000 mark, almost exactly matching the record high of the previous year (2017: 1090; 2018: 1093). In total, over 15 000 data papers have been published since 1996 (the year the ESO Telescope Bibliography started). In 2018, the number of papers using data from the VLT/VLTI, the ESO survey telescopes VISTA and VST, as well well as APEX were slightly below those of 2017, while data from the La Silla observing site led to even more data papers than in recent years*. The largest increase occurred for ALMA (taking into consideration only data obtained during European observing time), which generated 24% more papers than in 2017.
The latest edition of ESO's quarterly journal, The Messenger, is now available online. Issue 175 is dedicated to 4MOST. 4MOST is a wide-field spectroscopic survey facility that is under development for VISTA at Paranal and which will be able to simultaneously obtain spectra of ~2400 objects distributed over an hexagonal field-of-view of 4 square degrees. This issue of The Messenger contains important information about the facility itself, its scientific operations and survey strategy, which will be particularly useful to teams preparing to submit survey proposals for the facility. In addition, there are articles outlining the strategies and science goals for each of the ten 4MOST Consortium Surveys targeting both Galactic and extragalactic science.
4MOST is a state-of-the-art, high-multiplex, optical spectroscopic survey facility currently under construction for ESO’s 4-metre VISTA telescope. During the first five years of operations 4MOST will be used to execute a comprehensive programme of both Galactic and extragalactic Public Surveys, and 30% of the observing time during this period will be available to the community. The process of selecting Community Public Surveys will be initiated by a Call for Letters of Intent for Public Spectroscopic Surveys, to be issued by ESO in mid-2019. In preparation of this Call, ESO and the 4MOST Consortium are jointly organising a workshop to prepare the ESO community for this exciting scientific opportunity, to assist potential PIs in successfully responding to the Call, and to foster scientific collaborations between the community and the 4MOST Consortium.
It is certainly an understatement that Artificial Intelligence (AI) has taken the world by storm, with breakthroughs appearing almost daily in the news. The sheer volume of astronomical data (which increases exponentially) necessitates a new paradigmatic approach – AI – which must be, to a large extent, automated and made much more efficient. 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. Artificial intelligence covers a wide range of algorithms and the first thing is to provide a clear map to navigate in this jungle and show which techniques are used for which kind of science. Thus, we aim at having a few invited talks by prominent speakers to set the scene. This will be complemented by a series of contributed talks in order to provide a clear panorama of the current use of AI in astronomy. We also expect to have many posters showing various applications of AI in astronomy. In addition, we will offer several 3-hour tutorials and hands-on sessions to allow the participants to dig into the techniques.
The next MIAPP topical workshop "Nine Billion Years of Neutral Gas Evolution" will be hosted at ESO headquarters. It aims to forge connections across wavelengths, among different ISM and IGM phases, and between observation and theory. Only a limited number of invited speakers have been selected up-front – most of the programme will be filled with speakers who volunteer to give talks addressing topics that will be highlighted by a "wish list" for the oral programme, or who propose their own topics related to the workshop’s theme. The deadline for submitting an abstract for an oral contribution is 1 April. See the meeting webpage for further details.
VISIONS is a sub-arcsec near-infrared atlas of the nearby (d < 500 pc) star-forming complexes accessible from the southern hemisphere. The atlas will contain tens of thousands of young stars (0.1-10 Myr), sensitive to objects down to a few Jupiter masses, and reach spatial resolutions of 100-250 au. This first release includes excellent quality J, H and Ks band observations of the dense field of the Ophiuchus star-forming region. Images, confidence maps and source lists, together with band-merged catalogues associated to each individual tile, are accessible via the Science Portal or via the Programmatic Access Service. The sky area observed is 7.5 square degrees, for which 1134 datasets are provided. Including the associated products the total volume of the release is 350 Gb.
UltraVISTA is an ultra-deep near-infrared survey of the central region of the COSMOS field. The fourth UltraVISTA data release comprises stacked images in YJHKs and NB118 narrow-band filters, as well as single-band and dual-mode source lists. The data release also contains a five-band merged catalogue, created from the individual Ks-selected source lists. The release is based on the observations carried out from 4 December 2009 to 29 June 2016, corresponding to 58138 individual images.
The UVES SQUAD DR1 comprises fully reduced, continuum-fitted high-resolution spectra of quasars with redshifts z = 0–5, with the primary goal of enabling statistical studies of large quasar and absorber samples at high resolution. DR1 includes 467 quasar spectra from the Ultraviolet and Visual Echelle Spectrograph (UVES) on the ESO-VLT. These quasars have at least one exposure in the ESO UVES archive (longer than 100 sec) that was observed before 30th June 2008. All exposures longer than 100 sec observed before 17th November 2016 for these quasars were then included in the final, combined spectra in DR1. In total, 3088 exposures were selected and successfully processed, with a total exposure time of 10 million seconds (2803 hrs; an average of 5.9 hrs per quasar).
The La Silla Observatory was officially inaugurated on 25 March 1969. This conference celebrates the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of La Silla. Its historical significance will be reviewed and possible future scenarios discussed. In addition the research areas where La Silla telescopes have made important contributions will be reviewed.
The theme for the First CTA Symposium is “Science opportunities with CTA”. Through a combination of invited and contributed talks, as well as poster sessions, the meeting aims to gather the larger multi-wavelength and multi-messenger communities and set up new channels of communications and synergies among them and their results (see the programme). Registration is open until 19 April.