ESO Science Newsletter October 2020
02 Oct 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

2021 ESO Studentships

02 Oct 2020:

The ESO research studentship programme provides an outstanding opportunity for PhD students to experience the exciting scientific environment at one of the world's leading observatories. ESO's studentship positions are open to students enrolled in a university PhD programme in astronomy or related fields. Students accepted into the programme work on their doctoral project under the formal supervision of their home university, but they come to ESO to work and study under the co-supervision of an ESO staff astronomer for a period of between one and two years.

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ALMA Starts the Process of Recovering the Telescope Array

01 Oct 2020:

For six months, almost the whole ALMA site has been shut down with no power, water treatment, or running water. Only a single piece of key equipment, the hydrogen maser, is still powered and checked daily as one of the tasks of the ALMA Caretaker Teams, the teams who have ensured the safety and security of the ALMA Observatory through the shutdown. With the improving pandemic situation in Chile, ALMA is now scheduled to begin the long process of recovering the telescope array in the Atacama on October 1st, 2020, starting with preparation of the ALMA Operations Support Facility (OSF) at 2900 metres for the return of staff and contractors.

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First Data Release of the SINFONI Survey for Unveiling the Physics and the Effect of Radiative feedback (SUPER)

30 Sep 2020:

The first data release of the SINFONI Survey for Unveiling the Physics and the Effect of Radiative feedback (SUPER, Circosta et al. 2018; ESO Large Programme 196.A-0377, PI: Mainieri) is now available to the community on ESO Archive via the Science Portal or programmatically.

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APEX Resumes Science Operations in Minimal Mode

25 Sep 2020:

Following the decision taken by ESO on Aug 28 of resuming minimal science operations, the APEX observatory staff has successfully executed the ramp-up plan that was conceived during the previous months. A small team of engineers and astronomers awakened the 12-m antenna and several of the scientific instruments that were unpowered or in stand by since the end of March, when operations had to be suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Minimal Science Operations at Paranal and reopening of the Director's Discretionary Time

18 Sep 2020:

The exceptional circumstances imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic led to the suspension of science operations at the La Silla and Paranal observatories, as well as at the APEX telescope, since the end of March. ESO has been closely monitoring the constraints imposed by the pandemic in Chile and has developed plans for a safe and progressive resumption of science operations at the observatories as soon as circumstances allow. Following a detailed assessment of the current situation and the logistic, technical, and safety constraints, as well as the capacity to guarantee the compliance with all measures needed to protect the health of its staff at all times, ESO is re-establishing a minimum level of science operations at the observatory sites. In addition, Director's Discretionary Time proposals can now be submitted again for the FORS2 and UVES instruments at the VLT.

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ALMA Redesigns its User Experience

09 Sep 2020:

While ALMA antennas are taking an unanticipated break - and while users are mining the ALMA archive, thinking of new projects and evaluating their past experiences with ALMA data and services offered since Cycle 0 - ALMA is launching a new global project to Redesign the User eXperience (RedUX). As part of RedUX, focus groups will be established to discuss specific aspects of the ALMA user experience. By volunteering to join a focus group, users can help shape the future of ALMA. Anyone interested in contributing to RedUX (and in receiving a small gift at the end of the exercise, as a token of appreciation for their contribution), can fill in this form.

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ESPRESSO Commissioning Data Release

07 Sep 2020:

The commissioning runs of ESPRESSO both in 1UT mode and in 4UT mode took place at the VLT between November 2017 and July 2019, addressing all the modes of the instrument and the outcome of the three scheduled technical interventions. The commissioning data have been released to illustrate the capabilities of the instrument. They include observations in the 4UT mode, exhibiting the power of the spectrograph with an equivalent collecting area of approximately 16m in diameter. The details of the observations are available at the ESPRESSO Commissioning webpage, which also provides access to the data.

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First Data Release of the Fornax Deep Survey (FDS)

27 Aug 2020:

The first data release of the Fornax Deep Survey with VST (FDS, Venhola et al., 2018, A&A, 620, 165) is now available on the ESO archive. The data release consists of 97 high quality images (and of the corresponding weight maps) obtained by stacking u’, g’, r’, and i’-bands data collected with OmegaCAM on the VST from February 2013 to November 2017.

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ESO Fellowship Programme

03 Aug 2020:

ESO’s prestigious postdoctoral fellowship programme in both Garching (Germany) and Santiago (Chile) offers outstanding early-career scientists the opportunity to further develop their independent research programmes. From exoplanets to cosmology, observational, theoretical and fundamental astrophysics, these are all areas where ESO Fellows can benefit from a highly dynamic scientific environment, at some of the most advanced ground-based telescopes in the world. Do watch ESOCast 165 to hear what current ESO fellows have to say about the fellowship programme.

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Upcoming ESO or ESO-Related Workshops

This workshop aims to bring together the experts in the field to review the science highlights from ESO's thermal IR instruments TIMMI, TIMMI2, VISIR, MIDI and MATISSE as well as those at other observatories, such as COMICS, Michelle and T-ReCS. Some future facilities will be reviewed, and techniques and approaches for observations and calibrations will be compared, with the aim to reach the theoretical limit, the background-limited performance.

This virtual workshop intends to celebrate 20 years of great UVES science and envision the future role of the instrument. Ten prominent scientists will resume the history of UVES, outline the scientific highlights of its long career and offer their insights on how to best equip it to help tackle the scientific questions of the next decade. A final discussion session will address the possible future instrumental upgrades, to balance technical constraints with scientific needs, and help to define a set of compelling science cases.

This ESO/NRAO workshop aims to discuss the emerging new paradigm of planet formation. The program will offer a broad view of the field, covering from the early stages of disks still embedded in their parental envelope to the times when full planetary systems are formed and only a few remnants of the progenitor disk are left. It will also explore the future of planet formation studies, as well as the impact and potential of upcoming instrumentation and telescopes (e.g. ngVLA. E-ELT, SKA, JWST). With this workshop, we aim at creating a more unified view of the exciting discoveries that have taken place in recent years.

The Network for Young Researchers in Instrumentation for Astrophysics (NYRIA) is organising its 4th annual workshop from 26th - 30th October 2020. The workshop is aimed for early career researchers, i.e. final year Bachelor students, Masters students, PhD students and post-doctoral researchers, working in ground based, visible and infrared instrumentation for astronomy.

The 2020 EIROforum Topical Workshop on Big data, organised by the EIROForum Instrumentation Working Group, will be held from 26th-29th October 2020. The workshop will be hosted by ESO, but due to the current situation, will be held as an online event.



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